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Direct payments and personal budgets

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Dear Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council,

1. Please provide a copy of your policy regarding the trialling of SEN Direct Payments and personal budgets.

2. Please confirm whether all parents/carers issued with a new or amended statement since January 2012 have been informed about their right to apply for a Direct Payment for SEN provision under the Special Educational Needs (Direct Payments) (Pilot Scheme) Order 2012. How has this information been provided? Please provide a copy of any standard leaflet or letter issued together with confirmation of date of issue.

3. Please confirm the number of parents/carers who are receiving SEN Direct Payments and what those Direct Payments relate to.

4. Please confirm whether any of these SEN Direct Payments could be provided outside the Pathfinder project, e.g. payments under Part 6 of a statement for transport.

5. Please provide a copy of your policy for considering requests for direct payments for SEN provision. If you do not have a policy, please confirm whether there are any limits placed on direct payments applications, e.g. they will not be provided if the LA has a block contract or there is a financial limit. Please confirm whether these criteria are communicated to parents and provide a copy of that document .

6. Please confirm your arrangements for reviewing appeals against a refusal of a request for SEN Direct Payments. Please provide a copy of any policy and any leaflet/letter issued to parents explaining this.

7. Please confirm what information is provided to parents/carers about the trialling of personal budgets. Please provide a copy of any leaflet or letter issued.

8. Please confirm how many parents/carers are receiving a personal budget within the auspices of the Pathfinder project?

9. Please confirm how parents/carers in receipt of SEN Direct Payments/ personal budgets obtained the information to make an application. For example, were they:

(a) sent the information with a new or amended statement
(b) recruited as part of a specific pilot
(c) neither (a )or (b), the family approached the LA having heard about SEN Direct Payments/personal budgets from other sources

10. Please provide a copy of your local offer.
Yours faithfully,

Measure Up!

Information Governance (Social Care & Performance), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Sir/Madam
 
Freedom of Information request – Ref 4515
 
Thank you for your enclosed request for information which we received on 6
July 2013.  Your request is being considered under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and we will aim to provide you
with a response by 5 August 2013.
 
For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. If this is the case
you will be advised of any considerations, subsequent decisions and your
rights of appeal. There may also be a fee payable for this information,
this will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable.
 
You will be free to copy, distribute, transmit, adapt or otherwise exploit
any information disclosed to you providing to you that you do so in
accordance with the conditions which can be found on the council’s website
[1]http://www.solihull.gov.uk/about/copyrig....
 
Advice on the Freedom of Information Act is available from the Information
Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website: [2]http://www.ico.gov.uk.
 
Yours faithfully
 
Beverley Haywood
Management Assistant (PA to Ian Ash)
Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division
Business Transformation Directorate
Solihull MBC
 
Tel: 0121 704 6666
Email: [3][email address]
[4]www.solihull.gov.uk
 
 
 

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Information Governance (Social Care & Performance), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re: FOI Request – Reference Number 4515

 

Further to your request for information, detailed below.  Our response is
given in blue.

 

1.       Please provide a copy of your policy regarding the trialling of
SEN Direct Payments and personal budgets.

 

Solihull MBC does not have a policy on SEN Direct Payments and personal
budgets

 

2.       Please confirm whether all parents/carers issued with a new or
amended statement since January 2012 have been informed about their right
to apply for a Direct Payment for SEN provision under the Special
Educational Needs (Direct Payments) (Pilot Scheme) Order 2012. How has
this information been provided? Please provide a copy of any standard
leaflet or letter issued together with confirmation of date of issue.

 

Solihull MBC has not informed all parents with a new or amended statement
of SEN about the order.  Solihull as a Pathfinder has, through key worker
discussions, ensured that all pathfinder families who are taking part in
the pilot are fully involved in the construction of their personal budget

 

3.       Please confirm the number of parents/carers who are receiving SEN
Direct Payments and what those Direct Payments relate to.

 

Two families are receiving direct SEN payments by choice

 

4.       Please confirm whether any of these SEN Direct Payments could be
provided outside the Pathfinder project, e.g. payments under Part 6 of a
statement for transport.

 

Both of these families receive direct SEN payments through their child’s
Statement of SEN.  The LA does not regard travel assistance as a SEN
payment and has a policy of direct payment for all families eligible for
travel assistance, irrespective of whether they do or do not have a SEN to
receive a direct payment if they so wish.

 

5.       Please provide a copy of your policy for considering requests for
direct payments for SEN provision. If you do not have a policy, please
confirm whether there are any limits placed on direct payments
applications, e.g. they will not be provided if the LA has a block
contract or there is a financial limit. Please confirm whether these
criteria are communicated to parents and provide a copy of that document.

 

SEN provision is needs led as specified under the current 1996 Education
Act.  The local authority does not operate any educational block
contracts.  For other provisions such as short breaks and health care
block contracts are being reviewed to enable personalisation, choice and
control.

 

6.       Please confirm your arrangements for reviewing appeals against a
refusal of a request for SEN Direct Payments. Please provide a copy of any
policy and any leaflet/letter issued to parents explaining this.

 

The local authority does not have a process for reviewing appeals and has
not found itself in dispute with any family.  The local authority is
actively promoting direct payments, the only caveats are that the
provisions must meet the child’s needs and represent value for money.

 

7.       Please confirm what information is provided to parents/carers
about the trialling of personal budgets. Please provide a copy of any
leaflet or letter issued.

 

Each case is agreed according to individual circumstance and age. 
Personal budgets are more progressed in children and adult social care. 
The latter has a Resource Allocation System (RAS) in place, although this
is under review.  The former is developing a RAS.

 

8.       Please confirm how many parents/carers are receiving a personal
budget within the auspices of the Pathfinder project?

 

A personal budget in the context of the Education, Health Care Plan is a
breakdown of all of the costs of all of the provisions provided by all of
the agencies supporting the child in the context of their family.  The
personal budget incorporates provisions that the local authority must
provide e.g. a school placement; provisions that the family have asked us
to buy on their behalf (third party payments) and direct payments, which
are most commonly travel, care and short breaks.

 

9.       Please confirm how parents/carers in receipt of SEN Direct
Payments/ personal budgets obtained the information to make an
application. For example, were they:

 

(a)    sent the information with a new or amended statement
No, but historically Solihull has always been supportive of partnership
provision e.g. home based programmes, so have been using personal budgets
for over a decade

 

(b)   recruited as part of a specific pilot
All families in the Pathfinder Programme receive a personal budget and are
asked if they would like to test direct payments

 

(c)    neither (a )or (b), the family approached the LA having heard about
SEN Direct Payments/personal budgets from other sources
Not applicable

 

10.   Please provide a copy of your local offer.

 

Solihull’s Local Offer is published on Solihull’s Council Website at
[1]www.solihull.gov.uk/health/29898.htm and can be easily accessed via an
engine search such as Google – type Solihull SEN Local Offer

You may copy, distribute, transmit, adapt or otherwise exploit any
information disclosed to you providing to you that you do so in accordance
with the conditions which can be found on the council’s website
[2]http://www.solihull.gov.uk/about/copyrig....

I hope this information is of interest and assistance.  If however you are
dissatisfied with the response you have received and wish to request a
review of our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been
handled you should write to the Corporate Information Governance Manager,
Corporate Performance, Policy and Information, Business Transformation
Directorate, Council House, Manor Walk, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QB or
email [3][Solihull Borough Council request email].

Your request for an internal review should be submitted to us within 40
days of receipt by you of this response. Any requests received after this
time will be considered at the discretion of the Corporate Information
Governance Manager.

If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a decision. 
Generally, the ICO will not make a decision until you have exhausted the
complaints procedure provided by the council.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website:
[4]http://www.ico.gov.uk.

 

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact
me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Beverley Haywood

Management Assistant (PA to Ian Ash)

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Business Transformation Directorate

Solihull MBC

 

Tel: 0121 704 6666

Email: [5][email address]

[6]www.solihull.gov.uk

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/health/29898....
2. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/about/copyrig...
3. mailto:[Solihull Borough Council request email]
4. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
5. mailto:[email address]
6. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/

Dear Information Governance (Social Care & Performance),

Many thanks for your response.

In relation to your response to Qu.3, it is not clear if the direct payments are for social care or specifically for the educational provision. Please confirm what type of SEN provision is provided with the Direct Payment.

In relation to your response to Qu.5, please confirm there is no policy.

In relation to your response to Qu.8, you have referred to direct payments as being part of a Statement (in Qu 4) but here you mention EHCPs. Can you clarify if the Statement is in effect a new Plan including health, education and social care or whether it is an old style Statement and whether the direct payments are made under such statements rather than EHCPs? If you are issuing EHCPs, please confirm how many have been granted?

Yours sincerely,

Measure Up!

Information Governance (Social Care & Performance), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re: FOI Request - Reference Number 4515 - Response to Queries

 

Further to your queries detailed below, our responses are given in blue.

 

Question 1: In relation to your response to Qu.3, it is not clear if the
direct payments are for social care or specifically for the educational
provision. Please confirm what type of SEN provision is provided with the
Direct Payment.

 

Response:  We can confirm that the LA has interpreted this question as
relating to special educational needs, not social care provision.  The
families that have requested and received direct payments for educational
provision are using the money to purchase direct educational programmes
for their children.

 

Question 2: in relation to your response to Qu.5, please confirm there is
no policy.

 

Response: The LA does not yet have a formal written policy for the
provision of direct payments to deliver special educational provision, but
it does of course have one for social care provisions.  This is because
Pathfinders are developing direct payments for education and are not at
the point that a policy could be finalised as we do not yet know what the
Children and Families Bill and supporting regulations will require. As a
Champion pathfinder LA we offer the choice of a direct payment for those
elements of educational permission that are permissible in law, this is a
condition of the grant Pathfinders have received.  In agreeing a direct
payment, this LA ensures that all of its safeguarding responsibilities are
met; that children's educational needs are met and that the alternative to
direct delivery represents an efficient and effective use of public
expenditure, in effect we have a policy for implementation but an open
consideration for requests for a direct payment for educational provision
to ensure equality of entitlement.  Each direct payment is negotiated
individually and the terms are included in the child's Statement of SEN or
Education, Health and Care Plan.

 

Question 3: In relation to your response to Qu.8, you have referred to
direct payments as being part of a Statement (in Question 4) but here you
mention EHCPs. Can you clarify if the Statement is in effect a new Plan
including health, education and social care or whether it is an old style
Statement and whether the direct payments are made under such statements
rather than EHCPs? If you are issuing EHCPs, please confirm how many have
been granted?

 

Response:  In your Question 4 you specifically ask the LA to "confirm
whether any of these SEN Direct Payments could be provided outside the
Pathfinder project, e.g. payments under Part 6 of a statement for
transport", which we have answered as yes.  Our response therefore relates
to Statements of SEN.  The 1996 Education Act is still in force.  Legally,
Education, Health and Care Plans to not supersede Statements of SEN until
circa 1st September 2014.

 

In your question 8, you have asked the LA to "confirm how many
parents/carers are receiving a personal budget within the auspices of the
Pathfinder project".  We have explained how we define a personal budget
and confirmed that we include a personal budget in all Education, Health
and Care Plans - so yes, this relates to the new plans that Solihull is
testing as part of the pathfinder.  As at today, we have issued 41 plans
with personal budgets and have 61 plans in total in process

 

I hope this information is of interest and assistance.  If however you are
dissatisfied with the response you have received and wish to request a
review of our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been
handled you should write to the Corporate Information Governance Manager,
Corporate Performance, Policy and Information, Business Transformation
Directorate, Council House, Manor Walk, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QB or
email [1][Solihull Borough Council request email].

Your request for an internal review should be submitted to us within 40
days of receipt by you of this response. Any requests received after this
time will be considered at the discretion of the Corporate Information
Governance Manager.

If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a decision. 
Generally, the ICO will not make a decision until you have exhausted the
complaints procedure provided by the council.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website:
[2]http://www.ico.gov.uk.

 

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact
me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Beverley Haywood

Management Assistant (PA to Ian Ash)

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Business Transformation Directorate

Solihull MBC

 

Tel: 0121 704 6666

Email: [3][email address]

[4]www.solihull.gov.uk

 

show quoted sections

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