Feedback on the Local Offer 2022
Herefordshire’s Local Offer survey was active from 20th April to 22nd May 2022. The survey was circulated to members of the Herefordshire SEND Strategy group, approximately 100 school SENCOs in Herefordshire, Parent Carer Voice (PCV) Herefordshire and SENDIASS. PCV Herefordshire emailed the link to all parents and carers on its mailing list. A link to the survey was also included on PCV’s Facebook page and SENDIASS’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Respondents were asked to suggest what additional information they would like to see on the Local Offer and what improvements they would like to see.
A number of respondents commented on the difficulty in navigating the Local Offer site and that it was too complicated and often impossible to locate information without using the search function. This presents challenges for those users who do not know what search term to enter in order to locate the information they need. One respondent highlighted that it was particularly confusing that some of the Local Offer is on the Herefordshire Council website, with other aspects located on the Talk Community Directory and that it was difficult to retrace your steps to find the same information twice. One respondent commented that options on the site ‘send you round in circles’. Respondents commented on the general need for better signposting and subcategories along with the number of key strokes needed to reach key information reduced.
Accessibility of the Local Offer was raised by a number of respondents, who commented on the consideration needed for users who may have lower than average literacy levels and the use of user-friendly descriptions to explain some of the terms and acronyms used. Accessibility for users with a visual impairment was also commented on, with the suggestion that background colours and fonts should be editable to enable improved access.
Respondents to the survey would like the Local Offer to be more interesting and interactive with wider use of images and multimedia content including videos. Suggestions also included the use of tabs, menus, visual icons and other devices to help break up the information into more manageable sections.
Out of date / broken links
Some respondents reported broken links or links that went to the wrong location. It was noted that some of the information was out of date including some of the forms that are available for download. When respondents have reported broken links in the past, they have not received a response and the links have not been fixed.
Professionals and parents highlighted the need for information that outlines what support should be and is available for children with SEND in school. Professionals would like to see more information about how to support children and young people with SEND with particular difficulties prior to making a referral for assessment. A new SENCO who is currently completing their NASENCo Award cited issues with finding out how the SEN Team is structured in Herefordshire and who to contact for information and relies instead on the local SENCO Network for advice particular to the county. Respondents would also like greater support for accessing high needs funding including advice for how to make successful applications and the opportunity to be involved in the panel that agrees funding applications.
Groups and Leisure Activities
A number of respondents initially visited the Local Offer site to find information about local groups and activities that are available for children and young people with SEND. Respondents were unable to find appropriate links to activities and relied on other sources of information, such as the listings document that is sent out to families. When searching the Talk Community Directory, one respondent found there were only 2 pages of Services and Groups for children and young people with SEND whereas the listings document holds much more information which could be hosted on the Talk Community Directory in a searchable format.
- A Local Offer subgroup which includes membership from Herefordshire Council, PCV Herefordshire, Hoople IT, Talk Community, SENCOs working in Herefordshire schools, SENDIASS and NHS. The first meeting of the group will take place in July 2022 to coincide with Co-production Week.
- Hoople IT and Talk Community website professionals to support the development of mapping the Local Offer to make it easier to navigate and more accessible, with fewer keystrokes required to access key information
- Children and young people will be involved separately from the subgroup and will co-produce some of the content, including artwork
- Focus group of SENCOs to coproduce an area within the Local Offer that brings together all of the information a SENCO / school staff might need
- Focus group of Parent / Carers to test developments and give feedback on the user-experience as the site is developed
- Marketing strategies to publicise the new Local Offer to ensure all families know what it is, how to access it and what information they can find there
- Marketing to include raising awareness among health and social care professionals to enable them to signpost families to the Local Offer
- Local Offer email address monitored and responded to appropriately and in a timely manner
- Campaign to promote the use of the Talk Community Directory for all providers to list their organisation and its activities / events for children and young people with SEND on a regular basis
To find out more about how you can be involved in helping to shape Herefordshire's Local Offer, please email email@example.com