#SENDReview Answer Consultation Question 19

We're helping you answer the consultation questions for the SEND Review Green paper. You can use these prompts to answer them on the Government website, or use our question-by-question forms*. Number 19 is below, the rest are accessed from here.

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Questions 19, as stated on the Government website:

19: How can the National SEND Delivery Board work most effectively with local partnerships to ensure the proposals are implemented successfully?

Translation: The Department for Education has been told that the 2014 SEND reforms were not implemented well. This time around, they want to ensure that the changes that will flow from the 2022 SEND & Alternative Provision Green Paper will be implemented well.

Alongside some additional funding, the DfE is proposing to change how the SEND system works. One of these changes is a National SEND Delivery Board. This Board will “bring together relevant government departments with national delivery partners including parents, carers and representatives of local government, education, health and care, to hold partners to account for the timely implementation of proposals.” In other words, most likely the organisations it already works with such as the NNPCF, NHS and other bodies the government funds.

There is no further information on this Board, and no further information on how it will work with other SEND boards and accountability systems that already exist at national and local level. 

‘Local partnerships’ will be set up by law to “bring together representatives across early years, schools, further education, alternative and specialist provision, in addition to health and care partners.” Organised by the local authority, these ‘local partnerships’ are supposed to “coordinate the local [SEND] system to deliver statutory responsibilities including duties for vulnerable children.”

SEND Green Paper
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Ponder Points

  • Who should be on this National SEND Delivery Board, and why? Past precedent suggests that the Board will be mostly made up of the same people and professional cadres who have already comprehensively failed children and young people with SEND. To avoid this, who should be on the Board, and what level of failure would be sufficient to get someone booted off it?
  • How will this Board hold anyone or anything to account in practical terms? What will stop the Board from being a talking shop? What powers should it have to enforce better delivery?
  • What information should the Board put into the public domain on its work and the outcomes that flow from it? Most bodies like this in the SEND world are completely opaque. They don’t publish minutes, we don’t know how often they meet, we don’t know what they decide. What information do you want to see from them?
  • Who else should the Board inform at local level about the work it does? The Board will be working with ‘local partnerships’ – these won’t include everyone affected at local level. To avoid an external accountability vacuum, who else locally should know what they’re doing? For example, councillors, parent groups outside the PCF network, or others?
  • How should the National SEND Delivery Board manage their personal and institutional conflicts of interest? For example, what happens when the Board tries to hold an underperforming local partnership to account, and that local partnership is run by one of the Board members? What happens when the Board reviews the implementation of the ‘safety valve’ funding programme, and one of the Board members is contracted to negotiate between the DfE and local authorities?
  • Who should the National SEND Delivery Board itself answer to? If the Board isn’t working well, if it ends up working in the best interests of the SEND system, rather than the best interests of the children and young people that it is supposed to serve, then who stops that happening?

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