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Committee Update: EA and HCAN December 2018

The Educational Achievement and the Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committees met jointly in Manchester on 3 October to discuss shared areas of interest. The group was joined by the National Children and Young Person’s Lead for Transforming Care at NHS England to provide an update on Transforming Care and development of the NHS long term plan.

Transforming care aims to improve health and care services so people with learning disabilities, autism and complex behaviour challenges can live, with support, in the community. A number of accelerator sites are trialling new or different ways of working with this cohort of children and young people and an overview of their work was provided – some are developing intensive, therapeutic services, some are working more closely with schools to prevent exclusions and others are building a ‘Tier 3 ½’ service. In terms of the long-term plan for the NHS, three work streams relate directly to children and young people – healthy childhoods; learning disabilities and autism; and, mental health.

A representative from the Department of Health and Social Care also joined the group to discuss the continuing care fund in light of the Department’s review of the national framework. The group suggested greater emphasis on joint commissioning was required, greater flexibility about where continuing care can add value and enablement of growth and participation going forward. There is concern that success in keeping children out of Tier 4 placements and Assessment and Treatment Units is leading to some young people going to residential school placements as an alternative which puts the pressure on both the high needs budget and the dedicated school grant. It was agreed that we need a joint policy agenda in this area given the implications for adult health and care budgets for the long term.

The group was then joined by the co-chairs of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums who offered an overview of their work, some commonly encountered issues and some of the successes local fora have had in recent months. The chairs reported quite significant variances in support for, and work with, fora across the country. The co-chairs noted the challenges and frustrations in the system and offered to work collaboratively with ADCS as we move towards the spending review to put forward the case for additional investment in children and young people with the most complex and challenging needs. Their priorities are to promote co-production, joint working and getting a higher profile in the discussions about managing austerity, all of which could assist us around our SEND budget pressures.

Discussions also touched on the government’s consultation on its draft relationships and sex education and health education guidance, changes to GCSE grades over the summer and exclusions.

Get involved! If you would like get involved in the work of the ADCS Policy Committees contact us at info@adcs.org.uk and one of our policy officers will get in touch with more information.

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