Lancashire County Councils Conservative leadership are being accused of trying to’ bury bad news’ after OFSTED published their damning verdict on the Counties Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) service.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors from OFSTED and children services inspectors from the CQC led an inspection in November 2017.
Inspectors spoke with children and young people who have special educational needs and or disabilities, parents and carers as well as other professionals about how SEND reforms were being implemented.
Shadow Cabinet member for Children Services on Lancashire County Council – County Councillor Nikki Hennessey said,” I am outraged at the way since the verbal findings of the inspection were made in December the administration has tried to bury the news and tried to spin the findings.”
“The report is a damning report which highlights unacceptable weaknesses which have and continue to let down 16,500 children with SEN support and 6,500 with an Education Health and Care Plan.
The inspectors have highlighted a number of weaknesses including:
- That children, young people and their families are not at the heart of the delivery of the SEND.
- Leaders have an inaccurate view of their strengths and weaknesses
- The autism spectrum disorder (ASD) pathways where they exist do not comply with the guidelines of the NICE guidelines.
- Parents report bewilderment and confusion about how decisions are made by services about their children. Parents have lost trust.
Labour Leader County Councillor Azhar Ali said” This a very damning report on the SEND service. This Conservative administration cannot hide behind any lame excuses after 7 years of Conservative government cuts. In addition we have seen more funding cuts to key services in 2017 including cuts to short-breaks just before Christmas and this week we are facing even more heartless Tory cuts including:
- Cuts to Youth Offending Teams
- Cuts to the care packages of people with learning disabilities and autism
- Cuts to the support of carers of looked after children
- Community Transport and the Dial a ride service.”
Cllr Ali went onto say “This administration needs to stop the cuts to these vital services and invest in our 16,500 children with SEN needs and the 6,500 people with an Education Health Plan and their families who have lost all trust in the current services rather than making further cuts which will result in more pain and chaos.”