Response to independent commissioner’s second report into SEND services in Birmingham

Published: Thursday, 18th May 2023

We would like to thank the commissioner for his continued work to support the council to improve the city’s SEND offer to residents and we accept the recommendations in the report.

The report acknowledges the ‘significant and welcome’ improvements in certain areas, which reflects the hard work put in by officers, members and partners.

  • There has been really good progress on the number of ECHPs completed in 20 weeks, which is now 66% compared to 53% two years ago, and higher than the national average (59.9%). The percentage of annual reviews actioned within four weeks of the meeting is now 55% compared to 3.8% in April 2021, which is incredible progress.
  • The Local Offer website is proving successful with the number of single views doubling over the last couple of years.
  • The percentage of children and young people with EHCPs that are not in employment, education or training (NEET) dropped from 7% in April 2021 to 2% in January 2023.
  • Transfers from primary to secondary school were completed 95%+ in time in 2022 and 99.3% in 2023, compared to 0% in 2021.
  • The report also recognises the ‘substantial’ corporate improvement with stable and experienced leadership at the top of the council and children’s services.

In the report’s recommendations the Commissioner sets out his ambition for Birmingham to be a child friendly city. The council shares this ambition and Birmingham was recently accepted onto UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities programme. This will build on the successes over 200 Birmingham schools have achieved in UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools programme in recent years to really embed children’s rights in the city.

The council will also be launching its SEND strategy with schools in July, another one of the recommendations made by the Commissioner in his report.

Cllr Karen McCarthy, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “I’m really pleased to see the progress being made as we continue to drive forward improvements so families get the service they need and deserve. Of course, we know there is much more progress to be made and we are not complacent; we have said all along that we are on an improvement journey that will take a number of years.

“It is fair to say the early signs of improvement we have talked about previously are now becoming more substantial and sustainable, providing a strong platform for continued improvement. We have stable leadership in place, as acknowledged in the report, and we will continue to work closely with the Parent Carer Forum and our partners, ensuring the voices of children and young people are central to everything we do.”

A link to the second report can be found here.

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