Agenda item


A period of 30 minutes has been set aside for members of the public to ask questions on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.


There was one member of the public in attendance at the meeting.


Ms Harrison presented the following question to the Committee regarding response times.


I am pleased that steps have taken place to make improvements, but I do have a concern. The improvements that have been communicated to me through parent engagement sessions seem to be gradual, long-term improvements. This is not helpful for families like mine who need better services now and I am sure it is not helpful for yourselves as the workload pressures you must have due to complaints because the services are lacking now. To put this into an example for you, I know there is a new team and new leadership but every reasonable request that has been asked over the past 10 weeks has ended with a complaint as the communication has remained poor. Even with the new team and leadership the support for my family and the out-of-borough school that my son attends has been poor. We have tried to arrange support for an urgent Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) review as there are concerns that my son’s needs are not being met and we have not been supported in progressing this. We have left emails and phone messages that have not been actioned over the past ten weeks.


The question is why, with a new team and new leadership in place, why are the services still poor and what should be put in place to support families and schools who are experiencing immediate improvement needs.


In response Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People firstly apologised for the distress caused on her family and thanked her for recognising long term plans are in place. Michael Kemp, Strategic Lead for Inclusion and SEND advised the current process is about trying to ensure our staff have the right empathy and attention to detail. He advised the service are currently offering monthly face to face drop-in sessions with Bury2gether that he attends, along with monthly webinars and surgeries. As the engagement is person centred there is a limited number of families who can be worked with in any day and therefore the speed is not as quick as the service would like.


The phone line the service has is covered and phone messages are attended to within the 24-hour deadline. The difficulty we have is sometimes families use workers direct lines and then this is where messages can get lost so we are trying to communicate a message to centralise contact made.


Councillor Boles, Chair asked if Ms Harrison has a supplementary question. In response Ms Harrison asked; I would remind you that I’ve not had a response within 10 weeks. Do you think it’s appropriate to revisit those time frames and make immediate improvement?


In response Michael Kemp, Strategic Lead for Inclusion and SEND advised he is conscious that this meeting is a public forum and offered to meet outside the meeting with Ms Harrison to discuss specific issues and concerns. In addition, Councillor Smith advised, no we don’t need to review the timescales, we need to meet them.


In conclusion Councillor Boles, Chair, thanked Ms Harrison for attending as whilst the Committee receive many reports it is also important to have the lived experience of parents and families too.