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(UK) Nottinghamshire: 'Widespread failings'; 37 wks to assess "complex needs"

May 22, 2023, Nottinghamshire: Action plan after 'widespread failings' found in Nottinghamshire's special needs services

E. Midlands

An action plan is in development after “widespread failings” within Nottinghamshire’s special needs services were revealed. An inspection of services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) found some children with complex needs are waiting as long as 37 weeks for vital assessments.

Nottinghamshire County Council and NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) are responsible for the service. The failings were uncovered in an unannounced visit by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over three days from the end of January to the start of February this year.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet will discuss the report at its meeting on May 25. The County Council and the ICB are now required to develop a “priority action plan” outlining how it will achieve the improvements.

The plan must be submitted to Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission within 35 working days of receiving the inspection report. The plan must also be published within 70 working days….

He said: “It speaks to both a number of national challenges in terms of waiting lists [for EHCPs] and a lack of staffing. But also there are a number of things in that report that we need to do better and we need to hold our hands up to that.

“We can’t just fob it off on national problems and we’ve apologised to those people who have had a bad experience. We’re going to improve and we’ve started with that already, we’ve hired Dame Christine Lenehan who is massively well-respected nationally in the SEND space to help us with this journey.

“The good thing, I think, that comes out of this is we could have scraped a better grading from Ofsted, moved on and not looked at this again. What this means is there’ll be a real focus on improvement in this space, which will hopefully be good news for the outcomes of those children.”

The inspection found children and young people are waiting too long to receive specialist educational health care assessments (EHCs) and specialist help such as speech and language therapy.

Documents published ahead of the Cabinet meeting stated: “In Nottinghamshire, the inspection concluded that there are two priority areas for action, meaning a judgement of widespread and/or systemic failings leading to significant concerns about the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND, which the local area partnership must address urgently….


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