When I was at school, a score of 59% definitely meant 'could do better', if not 'should do better'. But that's the score received by 10 local authorities in England for their disability services.
The survey, completed by the British Market Research Bureau on behalf of the government was intended to measure parental experience of services for disabled children. The survey and indicator have been developed as part of the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme.
It is the first ever national survey of parents’ views of services for disabled children. Parents completed a questionnaire asking for their views of health, social care and education services for their disabled child as experienced in the past year.
Srabani Sen, Chief Executive of Contact a Family said, “The views of parents should drive local authorities and primary care trusts to ensure that the right services are available to meet the needs of disabled children and their families. This new data is vital in emphasising the key part that parents and families have to play in improving services for disabled children. We know that these services work best when parents are involved in their design and delivery, and I hope that local areas will be able to use the results to continue the good work that many of them are already doing to engage with parents and develop services together.”
The fact that they are measuring this to determine a baseline for future improvements is great, but 59%? Just over half? That's a lot of people who are dissatisfied with the care and education their disabled children are receiving. It is clear that this kind of rating of services is long overdue and that many local authorities need to try harder to provide a satisfactory service to vulnerable children who need the greatest help.