Frequently Asked Questions

If I live in a pathfinder Local Authority, is it true that they will not issue statements during the pathfinder?

NO, this is not true.  The law will not be changed during the Pathfinder and therefore, statements will still be available in pathfinder authorities.  Should you be told differently by any service provider or parent, this is purely due to miscommunication.  Statements will continue during the Pathfinder.  Should you require any further clarification on this, please contact your Local Authority Parent Carer Forum or Parent Partnership Services.

 

If I live in a pathfinder Local authority, do I have to participate or can I choose to go down the statement route?

Each Local Authority will be asking families what they wish to do.  The choice to participate in the pathfinder is entirely down to you if you are asked.  There will be no consequences for you or your family should you decline to participate.  If you do decide to join the pathfinder you will be able to change your mind at any point.

 

In 2014, will it be compulsory to have a Personal Budget or can I still choose to continue with current statement.

As this is just a Green Paper pathfinder, no one knows yet what the White Paper will finally say.  But the Green Paper proposed that by 2014 parents would have the choice whether or not to have a personal budget.

 

The document I was shown at a coffee morning was extremely confusing - have things been simplified with less jargon?

This is something being addressed by the SE7 Regional Steering Group with the Parent Carer Forums. 

Brighton & Hove are leading the SE7 group on this and have initially asked parents what the jargon in the Green Paper means to them. 

http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=OLMDNJ_34d1c3ab gives you a list of terms and asks you to let your Parent Carer forum know what you understand by each term.

 

I like the idea of parent lead pathfinders, but will their ideas, experience be heard amongst the professionals or will they just be there to “tick a box?

Each Local Authority has a Parent Carer Forum.  The seven PCFs have two representatives on the Regional Steering Group.  In addition, the co-chair of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums is on the Regional Steering Group as an independent adviser.  In 2 of the SE7 areas a parent has been asked to Chair their Local Authority Change Board (each Local Authority has a Change Board to co-ordinate the Pathfinder which then feeds into the Regional Steering Group). 

 

The SE7 Parent Carer Forums also have representatives on their local Change Boards and they meet regularly as a group.  The Parent Carer forum meetings are attended by the SE7 Regional Co-ordinator so that parents are kept up to date and also have the opportunity to feedback comments and concerns.

 

Parents are well represented during the Pathfinder, if you would like to learn more about your Local Authority Pathfinder, please contact your local Parent Carer Forum.

  

I’ve been told that the SEN & Disability Green Paper will be parent-led.  What training will parents be given and who will advise them with regards to personal budgets.

The Pathfinder is testing out new ways of working.  Parent carers will be central to each stage of the process.  Training and support will be provided in the local area according to the needs of each family.  Each family involved in the Pathfinder will have access to a key worker who will help them to understand and navigate the process.  The Pathfinder will be evaluating this support to find out which models are most effective and supportive to families.

 

I struggle with money/accounts due to being dyslexic, what help would be available for me & would I have to spend hours on a phone accessing this help?

Support will be tailored to each family’s needs.  There is no requirement in the Pathfinder for any family to take on any responsibility for which they do not feel ready or happy to accept.

 

Will the family and carer’s needs be taken into consideration or will carers still have to apply for a separate carer’s assessment?

The single assessment and planning process in the SE7 Pathfinder will look at the needs of the child and the needs of the family so there should not be any requirement to be involved in a separate carer’s assessment.

 

How will budgets be managed to ensure any money spent is in the Child’s best interest and not simply to benefit a parent’s needs.  Will the Single Plan still be approved by a panel.

 

The personal budget will be provided to meet the outcomes in the agreed support plan and the funds should only be spent on this purpose.  The single plan will be developed by the family and the key worker with the involvement of relevant practitioners who know the child.  The Pathfinder will test out a variety of ways in which this plan can be finally agreed.  Therefore some local areas may require the plan to be approved by a panel, whilst others may not. 

 

How will feedback reach parents along the process?

Communication with the parent carers involved directly in the Pathfinder will be managed by the local areas and these individual parent carers will be aware of how this is happening. 

Communication with the wider group of parent carers will happen in a variety of way including the SE7 website www.SE7pathfinder.co.uk, through the Parent Carer Forums, on the council website and through the Parent Partnership Services amongst others.  If you have good ideas about how we can communicate with a wide range of parent carers your local Pathfinder Lead and Parent Carer Forum will be pleased to hear from you.

 

Some of us will need a lot of assistance to master the proposed changes and although the statement process is awful at the end of it, if successful our children get the education they need and flourish.  If this is removed what/how/who will enforce schools to give children the right type of education to allow our children to flourish as individuals.

This is a central point which the Pathfinder will look at.  The Green Paper proposed that the single plan would include clear accountabilities for all and it should be clear what schools are expected to provide.  Also each area will be developing what is known as the ‘Local Offer’ which will set out the services which are available in that area and who is accountable for what.  This will include what schools are required to do.

 

Will the Single Plan be re-assessed annually (like statements) to address any changes in your child’s needs?  What if there are changes within the time span of the Single Plan, who do I contact?

The current thinking in the SE7 Pathfinder is when each single plan is agreed the timescale for review will also be agreed.  This will be at least very year but may be more often.  Plans will also be reviewed when the child’s or family’s circumstances change.

 

I love the idea of being responsible for my child’s transport as this appears to be a very poorly run system at present which certainly does not have the child’s best interest at mind! But how would this work – do I pay for one taxi every day or do I have to find parents in my area with children at the same school, not easy when your child is on transport.

If your personal budget includes an element for transport this will be based on your support plan and how the transport will be provided will be agreed in the plan.  It would depend on the individual circumstances how it would be best to organise the transport.

 

I really like what I’ve heard said about all agencies involved in a child working together, but my main issue with this is surely it would mean more in-depth “team around the child” or “child in need” meetings, which in my experience and that of my friends, are lengthy, at inconvenient times and places and are professional lead, with a parent being dictated to.  More of these type meetings are not supportive for parents. I would be interested to see this in action, with a more supportive ethos and possibly key worker (or parent representative) lead.

The key feature of the SE7 Pathfinder is that parent carers are central to the process.  The assessment and plan will be family led and the plan will be a joint one between the family and the appropriate agencies.  There should be no meetings where the family feels they have been dictated to by practitioners.  There may be times when there has to be negotiation and ways forward agreed but there will be a real demonstration of parent carers and agencies working together as partners to identify and provide the support required.