POET - Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool

With funding from the Department for Education, In Control has developed the Personal Outcomes and Evaluation Tool (POET) for use in children's services (0-25 years). It has been designed to assess the process of obtaining an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and in some cases a personal budget, on children and young people, families and practitioners, and the outcomes of having a plan.

This builds on the work we have already done with the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University focused on adult services as well as work with the Department of Health on personal health budgets.

Developed with children and young people, parents/carers and practitioners from across the country, the tool has already been tested by over 20 local authorities and their partners and two national reports have been produced. The reports can be downloaded using the links below.

In Children's services our commitment is to provide:

  • One authoritative, nationally recognised method to understand the experiences of families and children and young people of the process and impact on day-to-day life of having an Education Health and Care Plan.
  • An outcome-focused approach where performance is measured by reported experience of young people who have personal budgets and anEducation Health and Care Plan and their families.
  • An easy to use tool that encourages local authorities to report and share feedback and to benchmark themselves against national evidence.
  • A tool that encourages young people to be involved and, as they grow older, to increasingly take responsibility for reporting on their own experiences.
  • Low transaction costs - data capture will be embedded  into local authority processes and open to local community organisations.

DfE's SEN and disability: supporting local and national accountability, March 2015 outlines the Department's intent that there should be a combination of local accountability measures; data analysis and independent inspection to show how the SEND system is performing, which parts are working well and less well and whether outcomes are improving for children and young people. POET is suggested as one of the ways in which such data and intelligence might be collected.

DfE has awarded In Control further grant funding to: develop and improve the children and young people's element of POET and to support at least 50 local authorities and their partners to test POET further in 2015. In Control are again collaborating with the University of Lancaster on this project.

We delighted to announce that over 70 sites have volunteered to participate in this further round of testing between September and the end of December 2015. All have confirmed strategic commitment to testing POET and a commitment to endeavour to achieve returns from 25 children and young people, 50 parents/carers and 50 practitioners. The result should mean that over 9000 people give their views on Education Health and Care Plans, and in some cases personal budgets, one year after the Children and Families Act was enacted. This will provide an incredibly valuable benchmark for us locally, regionally and nationally moving forward.

The volunteer local authorities:

  • London: Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith, Havering, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Redbridge, Southwark, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster.
  • East: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Central Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Peterborough and Suffolk.
  • South East: East Sussex, Hampshire, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.
  • South West: Bournemouth, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon and Torbay.
  • Yorkshire & Humber: Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, East Riding, North Yorkshire, Rotherham, Sheffield, City of York and Wakefield.
  • North East: Durham and Gateshead.
  • East Midlands: Derby, Derbyshire, Leicester City, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire.
  • West Midlands: Birmingham, Coventry, Herefordshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent, Telford & Wrekin, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire.
  • North West: Blackpool, Bury, Cheshire West & Chester, Halton, Liverpool, Salford and Wigan.

These sites will also have the opportunity to comment on the questionnaires themselves and to work with us to further refine them.

In Control will publish the national results early in 2016. In addition, subject to achieving sufficient returns, participating sites will be provided with benchmarking data to support them to review and action plan.

If you are interested in finding out more about the tool and its use in children's services, or would like to see an example of the surveys, then please get in touch with us at

A small national steering group is overseeing the development of the tool - further information about its terms of reference and membership can be found here.

Using POET in adult services and health, In Control has gathered the views and experiences of more than 5000 personal budget recipients and carers, the largest national survey yet.

You can find out more about the use of POET in adult social services and in health by using the links below.


A different set of questionnaires has been devised for families and practitioners in the non-Pathfinder areas who may have experience of personal budgets but as yet not education, health and care plans.The information provided by participating sites will be used in a national report to benchmark experiences.  The six pilot sites will also receive an individual report providing local data.Currently we are encouraging practitioners and parents/carers in a number of areas to test out the questionnaires.  Following this testing, further revisions to the tool will be made as appropriate over the coming months.If you are interested in finding out more about the tool and its use in children's services, or would like to see an example of the surveys then please get in touch with us at addition, we are working with young people from the Mayday Trust as well as EPIC, the group of young people supported by the Council for Disabled Children, to be consulted and to advise on the SEND reforms, to develop a parallel tool able to capture their experience of obtaining an education, health and care plan as well as their experience of personal budgets.  We hope that a first iteration of this tool will be available for testing early in 2014.A small national steering group is overseeing the development of the tool - further information about its terms of reference and membership can be found here.To make sure you keep up-to-date with developments on POET, sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletter.

Last Updated : 17 May 2016. Page Author: philippa.barker.