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December 2015
We'd like to wish everyone a calm and trouble-free Christmas and reassure our parent carer members that we will continue to work hard to help improve SEND services across Surrey in 2016. Our 'satisfaction survey' which ran from July-October asked you how the local authority measures up to its claims, and how easy/difficult it has been for you to get the support you need for your child/young person with SEND. This survey (and our previous survey in March) has been instrumental in evidencing the current situation and the need for radical change. Please read on to see we have been up to....   
By October we had received 283 responses to our Satisfaction Survey. This chart has been instrumental in initiating a review across the whole of SEND, in order to improve services and address the local authority's relationship with families. There was ample opportunity to share your views within the survey and these comments (anonymised) will form the basis of an analysis, alongside family feedback from various sources across Education, Health and Social Care.  
The second key chart in the Satisfaction Survey shows which services/support are the easiest/most difficult to access. We also have more information around accessing these services from our March survey. All of this feedback will inform the programme to improve SEND services.
We've seen quite a few changes this year! Our Steering Committee now comprises: Fran Morgan and Andrea Collings as Co-Chairs, with Helen Plank, Sally Madagan and Nicky Goode (missing from our pic) remaining as members and welcoming Rhona Donaghue as a new member. Nicky Bassett (also missing) joined the committee but has had to take time out for a few months to concentrate on caring commitments at home. We are delighted to welcome several new parent reps, taking our total rep network up to 10. There's always room for more (!) so please get in touch if you'd like to find out what this involves.
The Local Offer describes SEND provision in your county, supported by a 'local offer' website which should be a one-stop shop for SEND services and a vehicle to invite feedback from parent carers, children and young people to inform future commissioning. Surrey's (like many others) falls well short of this goal. We are now working on a new 'portal' concept which we hope to launch early in 2016. One idea being considered is to brand it 'Gloo' (just one option) – this would represent its main purpose in holding SEND services in one accessible place and acting as a core tool in reshaping services to better meet the needs of families, children and young people with SEND. Any brand would clearly need to be supported and promoted but tell us what you think!
Family Voice Surrey is part of the national network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF). We are in regular contact with our neighbours in the south east and also take time to share best practice with other Parent Carer Forums around the country. We'd like to wish all of them and the thousands of parent carers they represent a calm and uneventful Christmas! 
If you're not a regular visitor to our Facebook page, please do like us and explore our closed Facebook page too. We are keen to encourage parents to use this closed group as a place to share advice and support for the benefit of others. 
The new Ofsted local area framework comes into force on 1 May 2016. Inspectors will be measuring two main goals: how effectively the needs of children & young people with SEND are identified, and whether outcomes are being achieved. There is an opportunity to feed back on the proposed framework until 4 January 2016.   
We need other parent carers to understand the importance of joining Family Voice Surrey and adding their voice to others. The larger our parent carer membership, the more influence we can have in discussions with the decision-makers in Education, Health and Social Care. This DRAFT animation is intended to communicate to other parent carers that there is power in numbers and to explain what we mean by 'coproduction': working in partnership with the LA and Health to deliver better SEND services. Please tell us whether the animation works for you so we can produce a final version.  
The contract for delivering CAMHS services in Surrey is currently with SaBP and ends on 31 March 2016. We have been heavily involved in this re-procurement process which includes additional funding and some new services. The contract has been awarded again to Surrey and Borders Partnership following a rigorous evaluation process (there were 5 bidders), the service spec has been tightened up and the contract will be closely monitored. Much of the historic problems with services like CAMHS are in part due to underinvestment in mental health services. We are confident that families will see a significant change when the new contract comes into play from April next year. 
We are hosting our first 'roadshow' event at The Playhouse in Walton-on-Thames on 20th January. Please spread the word as we would like all parents of a child or young person with additional needs to join us. We will be running a 1.5hr event twice, once from 10-11.30am and again from 7.00-8.30pm on the same day to try and allow as many parents as possible to attend. Please download the flyer for more details. We will hold a similar event in Guildford in June, plus our annual event in Leatherhead on 1st March (details to follow). 
We are proud of our achievements this year. They include:
  • securing additional funding from Surrey to be able to pay expenses to parent carer reps who attend meetings and input to discussions across SEND services
  • receiving a donation from Surrey's Clinical Commissioning Groups in recognition of the time spent by parent reps helping with the recent CAMHS procurement process
  • evidencing the experience of SEND services from over 500 families across Surrey and using this to help drive forward a 'change' programme
  • working with families to secure a new 'interim' contract for Beeches respite centre while a full needs analysis and a Surrey-wide review of short breaks are completed
  • securing a place on the CAMHS Strategy Board, the Health Transformation Board, the Equipment & Telecare Board, the Community & Equipment Service User & Carer Reference Group, Schools Forum, SEND Programme Board and the SEND Partnership Board
  • co-leading on two of the four SEND Change Programme workstreams: the family journey (the process of accessing SEND services) and the family experience (the impact of these services – good and bad). Feedback from both our recent surveys form a core part of this work.
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