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(UK) Suffolk County to spend $11.4M on "much-needed specialist places"

Nov 8, 2022, East Anglian Daily Times: Suffolk County Council pay over £23,000 [$26K] to SEND families

SE England

Suffolk County Council has paid out more than £23,000 this year in compensation to families with special educational need (SEND) pupils, new data has revealed.

The payout was ordered by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and follows the £32,000 remedy payments given to SEND families last year.

The data, which was obtained by a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Suffolk Liberal Democrats, also revealed the Council have paid over £14,000 in legal counsel fees in 2022 so far and have received 51 complaints regarding placement issues.

Suffolk Lib Dem spokesman, Adam Robertson, said: "I am concerned that Suffolk County Council are not fulfilling the recommendations made by the Lincolnshire Review into SEND services.

"Especially on ensuring that a robust means of tracking and reporting on annual reviews, and also learning from the decisions made by the Local Government and Social Care

Ombudsman (LGCSO) to critically analyse processes and decision-making into the SEND processes across Suffolk.

“I am also concerned that 51 complaints have been received by Suffolk County Council regarding placement issues.

"Suffolk County Council needs to state how they will resolve complaints around the provision of placements….

“Significant SEND reform, including complaints, continues to be monitored by Scrutiny and Audit committees, upon which opposition councillors sit. Our progress is also reviewed by officers from the Department for Education who report effective and timely improvements.

“We have made considerable and rapid progress within our SEND reform and I would welcome the opportunity to meet with Mr Robertson if he would like to contact me.”

Last month, the Council agreed a £10million [$11.4M] support package last month to provide much-needed specialist places for children and young people with special needs.

The package comes as Suffolk faces insufficient places to meet growing demand, with the need significantly outweighing capacity.

£3million [$3.4M] will be spent on three additional specialist units that will provide 42 additional places, while a further £7 million [$8M] will be spent on the development of units attached to mainstream schools to support students with social, emotional and mental health problems and speech, language and communication needs.


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