Many children and young people who have additional needs require support from a range of services, including health.
Under the Children and Families Act 2014, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice sets out the statutory duties for health, education and social care to listen to families and provide the right range of services so that children, young people and young adults up to the age of 25yrs can achieve their potential.
Our Integrated Care System (ICS) enables greater integration across agencies and improved sharing of good practice and common solutions across Birmingham and Solihull by having more joined up work and shared responsibility for outcomes for children, young people and families.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is a priority within NHS Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board (ICB), known publically as NHS Birmingham and Solihull, as recognised in the following ways:
• ICBs must consider how they will meet the needs of children and young people aged 0-25 and set this out in their Forward Plans.
• ICBs must consider how to ensure a diverse skill mix of leadership, which should include a consideration of whether there is knowledge and expertise related to children and to SEND.
• Each ICB must have an Executive Lead responsible for SEND and accountable for how well SEND support by partners is delivered.
• ICBs have to work with children’s system leaders, children and young people and families when forming their strategies and have to show how they have met their statutory responsibilities relating to SEND in their annual report.
A detailed summary of what the ICS means for children and families with SEND is available to read here.
NHS Birmingham and Solihull works in close partnership with the local authorities in Birmingham and Solihull to ensure that health commissioning is effective in meeting the health needs of children and young people with SEND. This involves many aspects of cross-agency and cross-system working with partners and families, including support for medical needs in schools, access to therapies and transition to adulthood pathways.
Commissioning leads and clinicians from across NHS Birmingham and Solihull are involved in many programmes of work that impact on the experiences of children and young people with SEND. NHS Birmingham and Solihull is a core member in SEND improvement workstreams and programmes in both areas.
Examples of the ongoing work to improve local SEND provision and processes across Birmingham and Solihull, include:
- Improved multi-agency working across the SEND system at locality to support better and faster access to services for families
- Acting on parent / carer feedback and embedding co-production with parents, carers and young people as part of all service improvements
- Establishing systems so that health providers can submit essential health advice to the LA for statutory assessments for Education, Health and Care plans (EHCPs)
- Ensuring that the health support commissioned by NHS Birmingham and Solihull is delivered in a co-ordinated way with other services to improve life outcomes for children and young people with additional needs
- Establishing joint commissioning across the area where appropriate with a focus on developing integrated approaches to service delivery, greater efficiency and improved person-centred care for children and young people and their families
- Supporting awareness of statutory SEND responsibilities across the health system
A team of Designated Clinical Officers (DCOs) and Designated Medical Officers (DMOs) are part of NHS Birmingham and Solihull, bringing clinical leadership to support NHS Birmingham and Solihull to meet its statutory responsibilities under the SEND Code of Practice. These responsibilities involve maintaining oversight the health contributions to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), working across different parts of the health system to ensure that health assessments, planning and support is delivered in accordance with SEND code of practice and in a family-centred way. The DMO/DCO team quality assure the health inputs in relation to SEND into both the graduated approach as well as within new EHCPs as part of Local Authority Quality Assurance systems.
The DMO/DCO team also play a crucial role as point of contact for schools, partners and LA colleagues both into and between different parts of the health system, with a focus on improving the quality of experience of health support for children, young people who have SEND support needs. This involves links across the health system including GPs (Primary care), health visiting and school nursing services, mental health services and community services as well as the more specialist health services delivered from the range of hospitals in the area.
Under the local area special educational needs and disabilities inspection framework, inspectors from Ofsted and CQC review how local areas meet their responsibilities to children and young people (from birth to age 25) who have special educational needs or disabilities (or both). The aim is to hold local areas to account and champion the rights of children and young people.
Birmingham SEND inspections
The joint inspection of SEND provision in Birmingham took place in July 2018 and identified 13 areas of significant weakness in provision for children and young people with SEND. Following this, strategic leads across Education, Health and Social Care produced an action plan known as the Written Statement of Action (WSOA) which was published January 2019.
At the end of May 2021, the progress made against the WSOA was reviewed in a Local Area OfSTED and CQC inspection revisit. The Birmingham area was found to have made sufficient progress in addressing one of the 13 areas of weakness but that there had been insufficient progress in addressing the 12 other significant weaknesses.
Following this, Department for Education, in conjunction with NHS England, requested that the Local Area, in conjunction with parents and carers, prepare an Accelerated Progress Plan (APP) to urgently address the 12 outstanding areas of significant weakness where insufficient progress had been made.
- Birmingham Local Area Revisit Inspection Report 2021
- The Accelerated Progress Plan | Local Offer Birmingham
Solihull SEND inspection
Solihull SEND services were inspected in a joint CQC/Ofsted visit in October 2017. Although the inspection was positive and no written statement of action was required, the main findings and areas for development from the inspection report were used to develop a SEND action plan for Solihull. More information about recent strategic developments within Solihull to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND can be found here.
The local area of Birmingham is going through a significant transformation programme at large scale to improve all areas of support to children, young people and families with SEND.
The health system is a key partner in the current work under the Accelerated Progress Plan (APP), which is now known as The SEND Improvement Plan. You can learn about the plan here.
Significant outputs currently in progress include a new SEND and Inclusion Strategy, improvements in Special Educational Needs Assessment and Review Service (SENAR) and access to therapies and assessments for autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as improved transitions and greater personalised care, with families and young people at the centre known as Working Together Well. You can learn about the Working Together Well in Birmingham Project here.
What progress has happened and what does this mean for children, young people and families?
Follow this link to the most updated newsletters on progress.
Who is making sure this work happens?
The progress and impact of the APP and the other activity aligned to this is overseen directly by John Coughlan (DfE Commissioner) through the SEND Management Board and with Sue Harrison (Birmingham City Council Director of Children’s Services). You can learn about John Coughlan's work here. The Birmingham Parent Carer Forum (PCF) works closely with all partners, together with the RISE Youth Forum who provide a voice and platform for young people. You can learn about RISE Youth Forum here.
Birmingham SEND Local Offer website
The support available from education, health and social care within a Local Authority is known as the Local Offer. Each Local Authority is required to publish what is available on the Local Offer website.
A newsletter, from the teams working together to deliver SEND services in Birmingham, such as Birmigham City Council, the NHS and Birmingham Children’s Trust, is available to read below.
The Solihull Joint Additional Strategy was launched in January 2022. The strategy, created with children and young people with special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND) or additional needs and their parent carers can be found here. An Easy Read version is also available here.
What does this mean for children, young people and families?
To see what activity is taking place in the first year (during 2022) across Solihull please read the area action plan.
Who is making sure this work happens?
The progress and impact of the Additional Needs Strategy, and the other activity aligned to this will be overseen by two multi-agency Boards with representation from the Integrated Care Board:
1. The Joint Additional Needs & Disability Management Board - a strategic level group responsible for overseeing strategic direction and overall impact on children and young people. Co-chaired by the Council’s Director of Children’s Service and the ICB’s Director of Joint Commissioning with senior level representation from:
- the Council’s Education, Children’s Social Care, Adults Social Care, Commissioning and Public Health teams
- the ICB’s Senior Responsible Officer for SEND and Children & Maternity representative
- the school system through Solihull School Strategic Accountability Board (SSSAB), Schools Forum, Solihull Governor’s Association and Special School sector
- Solihull’s Voluntary and Community Sector representative
- Solihull Parent Carer Voice
2. The Joint Additional Needs Delivery Board - an operational subgroup responsible for ensuring the delivery of activity associated with the strategic commitments and operational plans. Co-chaired by the Council’s Head of SEND and the ICB’s Head of Children & Maternity Commissioning with senior management level representation from:
- the Council’s Education, Children’s Social Care, Adults Social Care, Commissioning, Stronger Communities, Public Health and Employment & Skills teams
- the ICB’s Designated Clinical Officer
- the school system through Ed SEND
- Solihull Parent Carer Voice and Our Voices Heard
Solihull Local Offer website
The support available from education, health and social care within a Local Authority is known as the Local Offer. Each Local Authority is required to publish what is available on the Local Offer website. The Solihull local offer can be accessed here.
In Birmingham, the two Designated Medical Officers (DMOs) are Dr Orlaith Byrne and Dr Manjeet Raina, who share the DMO role alongside their work as Consultant Community Paediatricians in Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust. Ali Beard brings her clinical background in speech and language therapy and works full time in the role of Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) within the ICB.
The Birmingham DMO/DCO team act as a link into the range of health providers in the city: Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Forward Thinking Birmingham, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital as well as local GPs and the acute hospitals.
In Solihull, Clara McDonald works as Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for SEND. Clara’s clinical background is Speech and Language Therapy working alongside and within Mental Health services and diagnostic pathways for autism. There are three part-time Designated Medical Officers (DMOs) for Solihull: Dr Renu Jainer, Consultant Community Paediatrician for University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Dr. Amit Banerjee and Dr. Younis Ahmed, GPs with interest in SEND.
The Solihull DCO/DMO team act as a link into the range of health providers in the area: UHB Community and Acute services, Solar as well as local GPs.
Birmingham and Solihull
In Birmingham and Solihull Clara McDonald works as Designated Clinical Officer for SEND with a specific focus on Social, Emotional and Mental Health Services. Clara’s clinical background is Speech and Language Therapy working alongside and within Mental Health Services.
|Dr. Orlaith Byrne (DMO Birmingham)
|Dr. Manjeet Raina (DMO Birmingham)
|Ali Beard (DCO Birmingham)
|Clara McDonald (DCO Birmingham and Solihull)
GPs are often the main source of support for parents and carers when their child or young person is struggling at school. They are commonly sought for support when the relationship between family and school has broken down.
GPs have a key role in providing this support and signposting families, children and young people to trusted sources of advice and guidance to help manage their SEND needs. This handbook aims to offer helpful advice on how you can help children, young people and young adults with SEND and their families with their concerns and to access support.