Delivering the SEND reforms

In September 2014, the Children and Families Act became law. The Act introduces the most wide-ranging policy and practice reforms for children with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) for more than 30 years.

The reforms are intended to address a number of limitations in the current system, which is perceived by many a failing to address the needs and wishes of children and young people with SEND and their families.

The existing system has been criticised for being too segmented, with education, health and social care practitioners sometimes struggling to work together to form positive working relationships with each other and with children and young people with SEND and their families. Critics also argue that reform is necessary as current approaches can be confrontational and lack ambition, particularly as young people move into adulthood. There is also widespread concern that the life outcomes for children and young people with SEND are consitently worse than for their peers.

In response to these criticisms, the reforms introduce a more joined-up statutory assessment and planning process and a single Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan. This integrated assessment process and single plan replaces the statutory assessment and statement process. For the first time, children and young people up to the age of 25 will be able to request a statutory assessment and EHC plan whilst they are in further education and training. In addition, young people and families with an EHC plan will have the right to ask for a personal budget, allowing them to direct the support detailed in their plan.

The introduction of EHC plans and personal budgets represents a significant shift in the way services available to children and young people with SEND and their families are organised.

The policy intention is to ensure a more personalised experience, to better coordinate responses across service areas and to create the conditions where all those involved can collaborate as active partners in the design and delivery of the support provided. It is hoped that the introduction of EHC plans and personal budgets will lead to better outcomes.

By actively involving children, young people and their families in the design of their support arrangements, it is hoped that the support detailed in the EHC plans will be more in tune with the needs and wishes of each person, improving both quality and efficiency.

Together, In Control, Office for Public Management (OPM) and SQW are pefectly placed to support organisations in meeting these challenges due to our national roles in leading the introduction of new and personalised approaches to supporting children with SEN and disabilities and their families, we can offer:

  • tailored support from highly experienced consultants who are working with the SEND Green Paper pathfinders and others at the cutting edge of developments in this area
  • support from leaders in the field of personal budgets, commissioning and the whole system changes required to make personalisation a reality
  • experts in working with the sector to support the sector

Our support builds directly on SQW's role in leading the evaluations of the DfE's individual budget pilots for disabled children and the SEND Green Paper pathfinder programme, OPM's leadership in pushing forward commissioning and personalisation as part of the Commissioning Support Programme and In Control's work over the past seven years in supporting children's services to introduce personal budgets. As such, we are all well placed to support organisations in thinking about the Green Paper, its impact and to start thinking about some of the challenges it poses.

For more information, please contact Claire Lazarus at or on 07880 787 190

Last Updated : 16 May 2016. Page Author: philippa.barker.