AUTHORITIES PLEDGE TO DO BETTER AFTER PROBE
“In some areas, we’ve made great strides over the last 12 to 18 months. The report acknowledges new leadership structures which are now in place, and commends the action plans that have been developed.
“These combined provide a secure platform to tackle issues and improvements required head-on. We know we need to make more progress in implementing the recent reforms.
“Across the whole UK though, demand for services is increasing and Northumberland faces similar challenges to many other local-authority areas.
“We’re determined to address these, and have firm plans in place across all service areas to expedite improvements as quickly as possible.
“Additional support where it is needed has been put in place, and we’ve already invested in developments such as the extension at the Priory School in Hexham to provide additional school places, which have been welcomed.
“We’ll continue to work at pace to ensure improvements are made where they are needed, and have drawn up an action plan to ensure that we address the findings of this report in a timely manner.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care to develop our SEND provision in the county. County Hall, Morpeth
“We would also like to thank all parents, carers, children and young people who took part in the inspection and we look forward to working collaboratively with them in the future.”
The report said there is “growing confidence, which is exemplified by the strengthening partnership between leaders and the local parent and carer forum, In It Together”.
Elizabeth Johnston, chairman of In It Together, said: “In It Together was very pleased that so many parents and carers took part in the inspection and shared their personal stories, ensuring that the inspectors got to hear from families about their experiences and challenges. The inspection has identified a number of key issues on which we will focus in partnership with officers from the local authority, health services, voluntary organisations and local groups.
“We aim, as always, to ensure that a wide range of families are able to input into plans going forward. We will be holding events and meetings around the county at our locality meeting ven- ues so that parents views are incorporated into future plans.
“We want to support Northumberland to improve services, so that the impact is felt on the ground by everyone. We hope that the culture of parents and professionals working together as equal partners leads to better outcomes for children and young people with additional or SEND. Our aim is to represent the views of as many families as possible; and continuing to develop recent good co-production with the local authority.”