We are committed to providing further evidence of the impact
that greater choice and control can have. With funding from the
Department for Education (DfE), we have developed a new tool for
use in children's services. This tool - the Personal Outcomes
Evaluation Tool (POET) - provides us with a much needed national
benchmark of the impact the new Education Health and Care Plans and
personal budgets have on the lives of children, young people and
This builds upon 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
Asking meaningful questions about what is and isn't working, the
POET is unique in capturing the views of practitioners,
parents/carers and young people on the process of getting an
Education Health and Care Plan (and using a personal budget) and
the impact it has had on their lives. Developed with children and
young people, parents/carers and practitioners from across the
country, it has now been tested by over 70 local authorities and
Three national reports have been produced, the most recent - and
the biggest to date - published in spring 2016. The reports can be
downloaded using the links at the bottom of this page.
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 children and young people who have personal
budgets and an Education Health and Care Plan and their
- An easy to use tool that encourages local authorities to report
and share feedback and to benchmark themselves against national
- 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
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.
2015/2016 POET: Biggest survey of views on new Education
Health and Care Plans published
In 2015, the DfE 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. We again collaborated with the University of
Lancaster on this project.
70 sites volunteered to participate in the round of testing
between September and the end of December 2015. The volunteer local
- 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
- Yorkshire & Humber: Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, East
Riding, North Yorkshire, Rotherham, Sheffield, City of York and
- North East: Durham and Gateshead.
- East Midlands: Derby, Derbyshire, Leicester City,
Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham City and
- 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 also had the opportunity to comment on the
questionnaires themselves and to work with us to further refine
Overall, we received 2,989 responses from practitioners
working to implement EHCPs, 1,879 responses from parents/carers and
906 from children and young people who have experience of EHCPs.
Sharing their views on EHCPs, and in some cases personal budgets,
one year after the Children and Families Act was enacted, this has
provided us with an incredibly valuable benchmark locally,
regionally and nationally moving forward.
- Respondents to the survey report positive experiences of the
process with practitioners, parents and children/young people
citing improved partnership working and that both parents and
children's/young people's voices were being heard. This is good
news and is a key aim of the SEND reforms.
- Parents are also generally positive about the quality of
support provided but the report does flag concerns. Parents are
less happy about the amount of support they received and less than
half the respondents were happy with the choice they have - another
key aim of the SEND reforms.
- Parental response on outcomes also flags concern - with limited
impact beyond educational outcomes and both outcomes for the future
and engaging in the community highlighted as weaknesses. Whilst it
is too early to draw firm conclusions, this does suggest the
education focus of the EHC process is dominant and possibly
limiting the ambitions for truly holistic plans that prepare young
people for adulthood, as envisaged in the Code of Practice.
The tool also provides unique local data that can be used to
further improve services for children and young people and help
local areas respond to the requirements in the SEN and Disability
Code of Practice, the DfE Accountability Framework and Ofsted/CQC's
inspection framework for SEN and Disability.
The 3rd national POET report for children and young people
with Education Health and Care Plans can be downloaded
here or by using the link at the bottom of this page.
Subject to achieving sufficient returns, participating sites have
also been provided with benchmarking data to support them to review
and action plan.
Next Steps: 2016/17 POET
In Control is also pleased to announce the launch of the POET
for 2016/17, including the publication of the survey tools and
guidance for the forthcoming year. In 2017 the POET will:
- Be aligned with the academic year - with the survey period
running from September 2016 to July 2017. (Local areas can access
their data at any point during this period to support
self-improvement and In Control will provide termly summaries and a
full annual report next summer.)
- Include a pilot tool to capture views on support and outcomes
for children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities that do
not have an EHC plan (i.e. those on school support).
- Work with a small number of local areas to establish ways of
embedding the POET in local authority systems.
- Be available to all local areas.*
* The POET will be included within the package of bespoke
support provided to local areas who participate in In Control's
Community of Change
membership programme. Please contact email@example.com
for further information.
We are also seeking expressions of interest from community of
change members who wish to embed the POET into their everyday
systems, you can find our more about embedding POET
Why use the POET…
- Tested over a period of three years - over 70+ local
authorities in the last year.
- Providing national and regional data.
- Supporting local areas to respond to the requirements in the
SEND COP; OFSTED framework, DfE Accountability Framework.
- Owned by local areas.
- Supported and challenged by SQW.
- It is low cost.
- Quick and easy to complete online or on paper.
- Able to be repeated.
- Asks meaningful questions about what's working (and what isn't
- Gets views of children & young people, families and carers
- Provides feedback.
- Supports action planning.
Find out more
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This short animation explains the POET and the process for
giving feedback about Education Health and Care Plans:
Introduction to the POET for Education, Health and Care
A small national steering group oversaw the development of POET.
Further information about its terms of reference and membership can
be found here.