Part 1: background information

  • this Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) is about changing, updating or a revision of a service
  • this EqIA is both internal and external

The name of the policy, strategy, project or service being assessed

Dorset SENDIASS – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service

What the policy, strategy, project or service is designed to do 

Aims:

  • get an organisation in place to provide Dorset SENDIASS service - information, advice and support to parent carers of children and young people with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities), and the children/young people themselves
  • develop SENDIASS service towards the operational plan, meeting the requirements of Dorset Council and the National Children’s Bureau

Purpose:

  • ensure compliance with a statutory duty to provide information, advice and support to children and young people with SEND (0-25 years) and their parents/carers,
  • to minimise number of education tribunals
  • impartial service arms-length from Dorset Council 

Intended outcomes:

  • increased access to and take up of SENDIASS offer across Dorset
  • increase in mediation supported by SENDIASS
  • decrease in tribunals

Background or context to the proposal

Access to Information, Advice and Support services is a statutory requirement and should be available and accessible for Dorset children, young people and young adults (0 to 25 years) with Special Educational Needs, their parents and carers.

As a result of the changes in the law - Children and Families Act 2014 - the requirements on the Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide information, advice and support in relation to SEND have increased.

A National Information, Advice and Support Programme (IASP) has been put in place to support SENDIASS services to meet the statutory requirements and the new Minimum Standards.  The IASP is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and administered by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB).

Dorset SENDIASS completed a comprehensive self-review in September 2018, from this a two-year SENDIASS Operational Plan was agreed and forms part of the IASP contract between Dorset Council and the NCB.

The operational plan addresses 3 strategic objectives:

  • objective 1 developing a children and young people’s service
  • objective 2 establishing joint commissioning by Health, Education and Social Care based on service users’ needs and priorities
  • objective 3 developing a service model that is fully arms-length and managed by a SENDIASS Line Manager that has no other local authority role 

A business case was developed October 2019 which was shared with Children’s Senior Leadership Team (CSLT) who directed for the Dorset SENDIASS to be externally commissioned to ensure that Dorset Council is fully meeting its statutory duties of the minimum standards. An updated version of the Business Case was considered by CSLT in July 2020 and the scope of the new service has been widened to include a service for children and young people. 

This will affect both current employees and residents, communities and partners because the service is for external residents and will be an externally commissioned provider.

There was a market engagement event which took place on 11th February 2020 and there are a number of interested and suitable potential service providers for this tender. 

There is a SENDIASS steering group which is part of the management structure that oversees the development and performance of the service. This includes representatives from service user groups and key stakeholders from education, social care and health.  They have been consulted and updated regularly about this work and will continue to be.

Part 2: gathering information

Sources of data, information, evidence and research used to inform about the people the proposal will have an impact on

We have used multiple sources of data, information and evidence including:

  • compliance with quality standards  - IASS Network Minimum Standards
  • service delivery statistics
  • service user feedback
  • SENDIASS Steering Group
  • reviewing past independent support provided by Rose Road
  • review of other Local Authority external commissioning
  • comparison with statistical neighbours
  • census data
  • internal SEND data
  • email discussion with Practice & Policy manager at National Children’s Bureau (NCB) recommending a long contract (5 years)
  • market engagement with prospective providers undertaken in February 2020

What did this data, information, evidence and research tell you?

  • there is a statutory obligation to deliver information, advice and support to children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers.
  • there must be an equivalent service for children and young people.
  • there is a case for change due to changes in law (2014) and new minimum standards (2018).
  • there needs to be more availability of SENDIASS officer time and consistently accessible from all parts of Dorset Council area.
  • SENDIASS needs to be more clearly advertised and signposted with capacity to meet the needs of more people eligible to use the service.
  • since the 2014 SEND reforms there have been less early help input available to service users as focus has moved to the EHCP process, complaints and Tribunals.
  • availability of high quality SENDIASS has a positive impact on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of parents and carers; where the service has a low profile with limited advertising and word-of-mouth. recommendation the negative impact on unsupported parents and carers is marked.
  • availability of SENDIASS reduces the progress of appeal cases to tribunal hearing due to resolution.
  • we need a better understanding of the needs and preferences of children and young people regarding how their service should be delivered and gather evidence of the positive outcomes for CYP accessing the service.
  • there is increased demand for this service and huge potential demand for the future with an increase in numbers with an EHCP and SEN support.
  • a longer contract between Dorset Council and any external provider is recommended to maximise the achievement of desired outcomes, this will also help achieve service continuity and service development.
  • service users don’t have a preference of service provider delivering SENDIASS just wanting a good service to be provided.

No further information is needed to help inform this proposal.

Part 3: engagement and consultation

Engagement or consultation that has taken place as part of this proposal

Co-production events with service users and stakeholders:

  • “Open-space” events 2019; 76 participants which included representatives from service user groups and key stakeholders from education, social care and health
  • deep dive case studies - in depth interviews with 6 families detailing their experiences in navigating the SEND processes and systems and identifying points where information, advice and support made a difference or should have made a difference if it had been available
  • young people focus groups
  • market engagement meeting on 11 February 2020

How the outcome of consultation be will be fed back to those who you consulted with

  • co-production information fed back from events through a report sent directly to the participants by email
  • case studies key themes shared with participating families
  • information will be provided to the market when approval to tender has been confirmed. We will inform the interested service providers of the outcome of feedback from market engagement prior to the tender invitation once we have approval and have an idea of timescales

Part 4: analysing the impact

Impact analysis descriptions 

impact analysis description table
Impact type Description of impact
Positive impact 

the proposal eliminates discrimination, advances equality of opportunity and/or fosters good relations with protected groups

Negative impact 

Protected characteristic group(s) could be disadvantaged or discriminated against

Neutral impact 

No change/ no assessed significant impact of protected characteristic groups

Unclear 

Not enough data/evidence has been collected to make an informed decision

Impacts 

Age 

age impacts table
Age:

Positive impact

What age bracket does this affect?

0 to 25 years old

Please provide details:

Advances equality of opportunity for children and young people to access the same level of service.
The service has been mainly focussed on parent carers, however there is now a focus on developing the children and young person’s part of the service which may be able to be developed further by an external provider organisation.

Disability

disabilities impacts table
Disability:(including physical, mental, sensory and progressive conditions)

Positive impact

Does this affect a specific disability group?

No

Please provide details?:

The service is targeted to offer information, advice and support to children and young people (0 to 25 years) with Special Educational Needs and/ or Disability (SEND) and their parents and carers

Improved capacity of the service increases the number of children and young people able to access the service.

Gender reassignment and gender identity 

Gender Reassignment & Gender Identity table
Gender reassignment and gender identity:

Positive impact

 

Please provide details:

The gender of the child, young person or parent carer has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.  Improved capacity of the service increases the number of children and young people able to access the service and the likelihood of addressing the needs of this group.

By raising the profile of the service is likely to engage people from a broader range of communities.

Pregnancy and maternity 

Pregnancy and maternity table
Pregnancy and maternity:

Neutral impact

Please provide details:

Whether the child, young person or parent carer is pregnant, a new parent or on maternity leave has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.

Potentially there could be more service users who are pregnant or on maternity, however this is unlikely because the child would usually be older before identifying needs.

Race and ethnicity 

Race and Ethnicity table
Race and Ethnicity:

Positive impact

Please provide details:

The race or ethnicity of the child, young person or parent carer should have no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.

 The expectation on the external provider is that they understand the demographics of Dorset and are able to make the service fully accessible and welcoming to those from different cultural groups and who use languages other than English using translation services if appropriate.

The service will engage in coproduction with minority ethnic groups.

By raising the profile of the service it is likely to engage people from a broader range of communities.

Religion or belief

Religion or belief: table
Religion or belief:

Positive impact

Please provide details:

The religion or belief of the child, young person or parent carer has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.

The expectation of the external providing is that there will be training in place in order that staff respond in a sensitive and appropriate way to service users of different religions and beliefs.

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation table
Sexual orientation:

Positive impact

Please provide details:
  • the sexual orientation of the child, young person or parent carer has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.
  • improved capacity of the service increases the number of children and young people able to access the service and the likelihood of addressing the needs of this group.
  • by raising the profile of the service is likely to engage people from a broader range of communities.
  • the expectation of the external providing is that there will be training in place in order that staff respond in a sensitive and appropriate way to service users of different sexual orientations

Sex

Sex table
Sex (consider both men and women):

Positive impact

Please provide details:

The sex of the child, young person or parent carer has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.
Co-production with stakeholders will explore the impact on service accessibility and effectiveness for men and women.

Marriage or civil partnership 

Marriage or civil partnership: table
Marriage or civil partnership:

Neutral impact

Please provide details:

Whether the young person or parent carer is married or in a civil partnership has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.

Carers 

Carers:table
Carers:

Positive impact

Please provide details:

There may be more accessibility to young carers as a result of the increased capacity in the children and young person’s service, and co-production with this group.

Rural isolation 

Rural isolation table
Rural isolation:

Positive impact

Please provide details:

We are going to be seeking a more consistent service offer for service users in every part of the Dorset Council area with the revised service specification. The Digital Offer will be improved including enhancing the website.
SENDIASS services will continue to be available in a variety of methods and formats:

  • a telephone helpline with 24-hour voicemail
  • an email advice line
  • face-to-face support via drop ins and some meetings
  • help to prepare for meetings
  • written information
  • signposting to other services and people who can help
  • support through the education, health and care (EHC) plan process

Single parent families 

Single parent families:table
Single parent families:

Neutral impact

Please provide details:

Whether the child, young person or parent carer is part of a single parent family has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.

Increased capacity may allow for an increase in the group accessing the service.

Social and economic deprivation

Social & economic deprivation: table
Social and economic deprivation:

Positive impact

Please provide details:

Whether the child, young person or parent carer are socially or economically deprived has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.
Increased capacity would allow for more face to face support around Dorset Council which may be of benefit to this group.

SENDIASS services will continue to be available in a variety of methods and formats:

  • a telephone helpline with 24-hour voicemail
  • an email advice line
  • face-to-face support via drop ins and some meetings
  • help to prepare for meetings
  • written information
  • signposting to other services and people who can help
  • support through the education, health and care (EHC) plan process

Armed Forces communities 

Armed forces communities
Armed Forces communities: Positive impact
Please provide details: Whether the child, young person and/or parent carer is part of a military family has no effect on whether they receive SENDIASS services.

The capacity to focus specific staff in locality areas is more likely to pick up the armed forces communities in that area.

Part 5: action plan

action plan table
Issue Action to be taken Person(s) responsible Date to be completed by
Age

Add to tender documents and service specification about the development of the children's and young people element of the service.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Disability

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Gender reassignment and gender Identity

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Race and ethnicity

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Religion or belief

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Sexual orientation

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Sex

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Carers

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Rural isolation 

Add to tender documents and service specification about providing a consistent service offer for service users in every part of the Dorset Council area.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Social & economic deprivation

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Armed Forces communities

Ensuring the tender questionnaire and evaluation criteria specifically cover all of the points identified in the EqIA. Subsequent contract monitoring will hold providers to account on these issues.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

All the above ‘Issues’

The tender document will include a link to information about the Dorset Population to allow the providers to understand the diverse make-up of the Dorset Council area in order to allow them to take account of this in their service delivery proposals.

Commissioning & Transformation Lead

By 19 October 2020

Who has signed this EqIA off?

Role Name Date
Officer completing this EqIA Tom Smith   17 September 2020 
Equality Lead Susan Ward-Rice 17 September 2020
Equality & Diversity Action Group Chair Rick Perry 17 September 2020

 

Diversity and Inclusion Officer - Dorset Council

Name: Susan Ward-Rice
Email: susan.ward-rice@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01305 224368
Full contact details

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