Changes to short breaks services for children with a learning disability

Clare Lucas made this Freedom of Information request to London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council

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The request was partially successful.

Dear Barking and Dagenham Borough Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I kindly request the following information in relation to short breaks services for children with a learning disability in your local authority:

1) How many children aged 0-18 with a learning disability were known to social services in a) 2009/10, b) 2010/11 and c) 2011/12?

2) How many children aged 0-18 with a learning disability attended short breaks services, as set out in paragraph 4 (‘Types of services which must be provided’) of the ‘Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011’, in:

i. 2009/10
ii. 2010/11
iii. 2011/12;

and what is your projection for short breaks service use in 2012/13?

3) Do you have a short breaks services statement in accordance with paragraph 5 (‘Short breaks services statement’) of the ‘Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011’?

4) If you have published a short breaks services statement in accordance with paragraph 5 (‘Short breaks services statement’) of the ‘Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011’:

i. when was it published?
ii. please provide details of your latest statement

5) How many short breaks services, as set out in paragraph 4 (‘Types of services which must be provided’) of the ‘Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011’, closed in:

i. 2009/10
ii. 2010/11
iii. 2011/12;

and are you planning to close any short breaks services in 2012/13?

6) If there have been short breaks service closures within the local authority, have any alternative services been put in place for those who attended the short breaks service?

Yours faithfully,

Clare Lucas

Corporate Complaints Team, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council

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Finn Veronica, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council

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Dear Clare

Your request for information about changes to short breaks services for
children with a learning disability has now been considered and the
information is set out below:

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I kindly request the following
information in relation to short breaks services for children with a
learning disability in your local authority:

1) How many children aged 0-18 with a learning disability were known to
social services in

a) 2009/10 - 66

b) 2010/11 - 77

c) 2011/12 - 71

    

2) How many children aged 0-18 with a learning disability attended short
breaks services, as set out in paragraph 4 ('Types of services which must
be provided') of the 'Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations
2011', in:

    

a)      2009/10 - LD = 34; ASN = 39

b)      2010/11 - LD = 15; ASN = 54

c)      2011/12 - LD = 12; ASN = 48

Please note that Autism has been included as this can incorporate learning
disability.

and what is your projection for short breaks service use in 2012/13?

We are not able to answer this question at this time as the eligibility
criteria is not yet established. This is currently being looked at and an
eligibility criteria is expected to be published within the next 3 – 6
months.

3) Do you have a short breaks services statement in accordance with
paragraph 5 ('Short breaks services statement') of the 'Breaks for Carers
of Disabled Children Regulations 2011'?

Yes

4) If you have published a short breaks services statement in accordance
with paragraph 5 ('Short breaks services statement') of the 'Breaks for
Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011':

    

a)      when was it published? - October 2011

b)      please provide details of your latest statement

Short Breaks Services Statement – London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
Children’s Services

1.      The purpose of this document

This document describes the range of Short Break services available for
disabled children, young people and their families, as well as the
eligibility criteria for access to them.

The contents have been consulted on with parents and carers and this
statement will be updated regularly and reviewed by the Children’s
Services Learning Difficulties & Disabilities Partnership Board. This
group comprises of parents, voluntary sector groups, and representatives
of schools, Children’s Services and Health agencies in Barking & Dagenham.

2.      What is a Short Break?

Short Breaks provide opportunities for children and young people with
disabilities to spend time away from their parents or primary carers, as
well as provide opportunities for their parents and carers to have a break
from caring responsibilities. Short Breaks can include day, evening,
overnight, weekend and holiday activities. They can take place in the
child or young person’s home, the home of an approved carer, a residential
or community setting.

Short Breaks can range from supporting children and young people with
disabilities to access “universal services” (that is places that anyone
can go to) to providing specialist services at a local and regional level.

3.      The vision for Short Breaks in Barking & Dagenham

We want children & young people as well as their parents and carers to
have Short Break services that are:

·       Advertised, with clear information about what is available

·       Positive, enjoyable and appropriate

·       Readily accessible, that is that we provide universal services
that meet the needs of all children

·       Easy to access, that they are in locations that are not hard to
get to and have eligibility criteria that are easily understood

·       Person-centred, that is aimed at meeting the needs of the
individual

·       Regular and reliable, that is that they happen at the times that
people want them to

We want to provide services that support disabled children and their
families, so that they have the Short Breaks that they need, have places
to meet and support each other and can ask for additional support if they
are experiencing times when they need more help. In order to do this we
will be opening Family Resource Centre at 512A Heathway by January 2012 as
a dedicated service for all families of disabled children. The vision for
Heathway is described more below.

4.      Who is eligible for Short Break Services?

Firstly, you must be a resident of Barking & Dagenham.

We want to make sure that resources go to the children, young people and
families that would benefit from them most and so we use Eligibility
Criteria to determine what the right services for a child and their family
are.

The Eligibility Criteria are listed here (LINK).

 

In order to decide where a person sits on our Eligibility Criteria we
always use an assessment. This could be a Common Assessment Framework or
Initial Assessment, or alternatively a child may already have a Statement
of Special Educational Needs. We do not want to unnecessarily undertake
new assessments or put barriers in the way of support.

5.      Heathway Family Resource Centre

From January 2012 our new Family Resource Centre for disabled children and
their families will be open. The building is fully accessible with tracks
and hoists throughout the ground floor for those children and young people
who will need them.

The vision for Heathway is that it offers a range of services and
programmes, some universal and some targeted at the interests and needs of
particular groups. It will be a base to meet for groups of parents, the
local voluntary sector and others and be open seven days a week.

We want to be sure that Heathway is meeting the needs of as wide a range
of families as possible and so parental involvement in designing
Heathway’s programmes is of great importance. Opportunities to become
involved will be advertised widely later in 2011.

Full details of Heathway’s services will be posted in a range of locations
and its offer will be developed in partnership with parents and those who
will be using and providing activities.

6.      The Range of Short Break Services available in Barking & Dagenham

Within Barking & Dagenham we commission and provide a range of services to
meet the varying needs of children with disabilities and their families.

Fuller details about what services are available and how to find them can
be found on the Family Information Service website (LINK).

[1]http://www.lbbd.gov.uk/ChildrenAndYoungP...

Universal Services

Barking & Dagenham local authority has taken the view that it is very
important  that disabled children and their families have access to
high-quality universal services and has invested in developing resources
where disabled children and their families are welcome.  For Children’s
Services this means schools, Children’s Centres and other family supports.
However it also means facilities such as the new Leaning Centres in
Barking and in Dagenham, and the new state of the art Leisure Centre in
Becontree Heath, as well as equipment and activities in our parks.

All families are entitled to services from our Core Offer. That is
services that any person may have access to. The Core Offer is detailed
here (LINK).

7.      Becoming Involved

Children’s Services encourages and supports parents to become involved in
working with us to develop services as well as to offer support to each
other. Our Children’s Centres have active parents’ forums, as does Trinity
Special School.

We also have a Borough-wide Parents Forum for all parents, and a Learning
Difficulties and Disabilities sub-group, especially for parents of
children with disabilities. For more information please contact Marina
Shaftoe the Parent Engagement Officer on 020 8227 5523.

We want to be sure that the new Family Resource Centre at 512a Heathway is
meeting the needs of as wide a range of families as possible and so
parental involvement in designing Heathway’s programmes is of great
importance. Opportunities to become involved will be advertised widely
later in 2011, including via the LDD Parents Forum.

There are also a variety of ways for disabled children to become involved
in developing services. Details can be found on the “Core Offer”.

5) How many short breaks services, as set out in paragraph 4 ('Types of
services which must be provided') of the 'Breaks for Carers of Disabled
Children Regulations 2011', closed in:

    

a)      2009/10

b)      2010/11

c)      2011/12

Only one service during this time period closed. This was the Shining
Stars programme and the reason for closure was due to the lead not wishing
to put in a tender application for Short Breaks funding. This service was
a free club offering fun, inclusion and support for disabled children aged
0 - 8 years old in Barking and Dagenham and their families.

and are you planning to close any short breaks services in 2012/13?

Barking and Dagenham has just completed a competitive tender exercise for
the appointment of a number of provider’s within a multi-supplier
framework agreement in accordance with the Council’s Contract Rules. This
tender was facilitated by East London Solutions and in collaboration with
the London Boroughs of Waltham Forest (the lead borough), Havering,
Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.

The supplier’s offer to provide services will be held open for the
duration of the framework agreement, ready for acceptance by the ELS
boroughs for what could be a single contract or a series of
mini-contracts, each ‘calling off’ under the terms and conditions
established.

The Framework agreement consists of 5 lots:

Lot A – School Holiday Play Scheme, After School Provision and Saturday
Provision

Lot B - Buddying/befriending and enabling young people to access universal
services

Lot C – Weekend/Overnight Breaks

Lot D – Transitions Support /Independence Skills

Lot E – Family based respite from registered foster carers

Lot F – Training programme for parents of children with Autistic Spectrum
Disorder

All providers will be chosen via the Framework either by direct call off
or by taking part in a mini completion where they will be evaluated on
suitability, quality, experience and price.

6) If there have been short breaks service closures within the local
authority, have any alternative services been put in place for those who
attended the short breaks service?

The shining stars service is now delivered in house from our Barking and
Dagenham’s Disabled Children’s Resource Centre based at 512a The Heathway,
Dagenham, RM10 7SJ. We will also be purchasing similar services through
the Framework agreement.

If you need any more information, or if I can be of any further help,
please contact me.

If you are not satisfied with the way that I have dealt with your request
you can make a complaint by writing to the Corporate Complaints & FOI
Team, Room 104, Town Hall, 1 Town Square, Barking IG11 7LU.  Alternatively
you can make your complaint on-line at [2]www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk or
you can e-mail your complaint to [3][Barking and Dagenham Borough Council request email].

If you are still not satisfied, after following our Corporate Complaints
procedure, you can take your complaint to the Information Commissioner. 
Full details of how to do this will be made available on request.

Kind Regards

Veronica Finn Complaints and Information Officer, Children, Adults and
Community Services

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham | Room 218 | Barking Town Hall |
Barking | Essex | IG11 7LU

Phone: 020 8227 2405 | Fax: 020 8227 2156

Email: [email address] | Web: www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/barkinganddagenham | Twitter:
[4]http://twitter.com/lbbdcouncil

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E-mail confidentiality notice. This message is intended for the addressees
only. It may be private, confidential and may be covered by legal
professional privilege or other confidentiality requirements. If you are
not one of the intended recipients, please notify the sender immediately
on +44 0 20-8215-3000 and delete the message from all locations in your
computer network. Do not copy this email or use it for any purpose or
disclose its contents to any person:to do so maybe unlawful.

References

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1. http://www.lbbd.gov.uk/ChildrenAndYoungP...
2. http://www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/
3. mailto:[Barking and Dagenham Borough Council request email]
4. http://twitter.com/lbbdcouncil