Nine of the UK's leading disability charities, including KIDS, have worked together to launch the new SENDirect website.
SENDirect has been developed to revolutionise the way families with disabled children access health, education and social care services in their local authorities. An easier way for families to find vital support for their child is more important than ever. The Children and Families Act changed the way services for children with SEND are commissioned and sold and introduced personal budgets – money allocated by local authorities to carers so they can arrange and pay for essential support services.
What is SENDirect for?
Families have told us that lots of support, activities and services don't suit their children, or exclude them because of their needs, and that it is difficult and time consuming finding those that can help them. They tell us that this really stessful and affects the whole family.
Legislative changes in 2014 gave families the option of arranging their own support using personal budgets rather than having to accept what their Local Authority offers.
SENDirect's service has been created to support families to:
- be able to choose wisely by providing information that helps them make strong decisions about different types of support or activities
- have a voice in creating new and better services that actually suit them.
- share their experiences with other families through reviews and recommendations
How does the online service work for families?
SENDirect will allow families to:
- search for and compare support, activities and services
- filter their results by what is important to them
- talk to providers and negotiate adapted activities for their child online
- buy support and equipment online, or authorise others to do so on their behalf
- share information about their child and send ‘wish lists’ of different services they like to people they trust
- 'pin' information they will want to see again to their dashboard (account page)
- review services and share recommendations with other families
What information will be available on the site?
As well as information about services that are available on the site SENDirect will also have information on:
- what personalisation is and how it is supposed to work
- legislation around assessment of need and meeting needs of children & young people
- guidance about how to make sure services and activities are high quality and what questions to ask before you make a purchase
How will this help create different and better services?
We know that families get 'stuck' with what is available even if it doesn't suit them or their child. We will look at what families are searching for and how they are reviewing things. If you aren't finding the right support or are unhappy with what is available in your area we will:
- tell your local commissioners what support or activities families need that aren't available
- tell people who provide support what families say would make them better and what else families need from them
- help businesses understand what they need to do to make better services for more families and exactly how much this could be worth to them so they can make changes
- support providers to change the way they work so it is easier to adjust services to suit every family's needs