Since September 2014 every Local Authority has been required to publish information about services they expect to be available in their area for children and young people from birth to 25 who have SEND and also services outside of the area which they expect children and young people from their area will use. This is known as the ‘Local Offer.’
The Local Offer puts all the information about education, health and care services, leisure activities and support groups in one place. It has two main purposes:
- To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available; and
- To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations.
The Government says the Local Offer must be developed and reviewed in partnership with children and young people, parents, and local services, including schools, colleges, health and social care agencies.
In Islington, we have worked with parent representatives from local parent forums, the SENCo Network, other service providers and children and young people to plan exactly what should be included in our Local Offer and the best way to present information.
- The Local Offer is primarily designed for use by parents and children and young people with SEND. However, it will also enable practitioners and professionals to see clearly what services are available in their local area and how and when they can be accessed.
- All the services involved with the Local Offer have been asked to provide and maintain up-to-date information that can be easily accessed by the user. For instance, information might include who the service will suit, opening hours, accessibility, or costs.
- The Local Offer can also help parents find the services that are nearest to them and most suitable for their child’s needs.
- There is guidance to help parents find out what they need to ask practitioners and professionals and how they can be helped, with similar guidance that children and young people can access directly.
- The Local Offer also includes information on giving feedback and raising issues and concerns and making a complaint.
- The Local Offer is therefore not simply a directory of information or a list of services available.