Involving families and young people

Mapping families' satisfaction

Issue: Getting detailed and honest feedback on every part of the EHCP journey from families and young people

What are LAs doing?

York are using user journey mapping to gather feedback from families on their local EHC process and how it is working.

“It gives us more of a steer on what to do, what went well and what to change.”

The user journey mapping process involves gathering qualitative feedback from parents/carers on each stage of the EHCP process as well as “RAG-rating” their satisfaction with each stage of the process (red, amber, green).

How are they doing it?

Two members of the Parent Carer forum collect feed back from parents through telephone interviews. This provides a more independent assessment than if the service staff carried out the data collection themselves. The Parent Carer forum staff record responses on a locally developed proforma and send the completed forms back to the LA.

Initially, it was intended that the responding parents would be randomly selected to be interviewed by the Parent Carer Forum. In practice, only parents who were keen to speak to the Parent Carer forum staff were included. Also, in the first year, the user journey mapping process was restricted to parents transferring from statements to EHCPs.

What is the impact?

The SEND Team received independently collected feedback on the process, which is more honest, insightful and detailed. This enables appropriate action to be taken to address problems, because the issues underlying a positive or negative experience through the process are better understood.

The feedback has provided the LA with valuable information on what elements of the EHC process were more positively or negatively viewed by parents.The findings have been used to reflect on, refine and improve the process for getting an EHCP. The feedback gathered is discussed at SEN Co-ordination and EHCP panel meetings.

Get advice on user journey mapping and how to use it to develop services. See Salford’s questions to ask parents about their experience of the EHC process.

Feedback from young people

Issue: Services need to know what the young people think of their services and how to develop them

What are LAs doing?

Richmond uses a range of strategies to gather feedback from young people, with support from the Participation Team.

How are they doing it?


Richmond have developed surveys for collecting satisfaction data from children and young people

Involvement in meetings

The Local Offer Content Manager chairs regular meetings of the Local Offer Development Group, which includes young people representatives. The group discusses and makes decisions about the management and development of the Local Offer website. The young people represent a wider group of young people with SEND, and feed back to them. Parents are also represented at the meetings.

Young people consulting others

Young people with SEND carry out consultations with their peers. For example, those with EHC plans discuss the process and the Local Offer website in schools.

Online feedback

They encourage feedback through the Contact Us form on the local offer website and by emailing the SEND team

What is the impact?

Young people’s views are taken into account when designing processes, information and support. This is felt to make the information more appropriate and accessible, and it helps to inform more young people of the Local Offer and how to get the most out of the site.

Using feedback surveys

Issue: Services want to collate feedback from families in a routine and simple way

What are LAs doing?

Many SEND Teams have designed and distributed short surveys to capture feedback from families on their views of the EHC process.

“Feedback highlights where we are making moves in the right direction in terms of the SEN reforms and where we are less effective”

How are they doing it?

See examples from Wiltshire; Richmond; and Wirral

In Wirral a paper-based survey is given to all families once the EHCP has been finalised. The survey includes five statements on aspects of the new EHC process which families are asked to rate their agreement with. The survey asks the extent to which families: feel involved in the process: feel their views were considered; understood the process; felt EHCPs compared to the previous statementing system; and whether or not they felt the plan would result in their child achieving the stated outcomes.There is also space for families to provide additional comments and to provide their contact details if they wish.

In Gloucester, the SEND Team have modified LA satisfaction forms to gather focused feedback on the services they provide. This feedback is collated and sent to the SEND Team. Non-respondents are contacted directly in order to collect their feedback; every term a selection of parents who have been in contact with the service, but have not completed a satisfaction form, are called by a member of the team. These parents tend to be the ‘hardest to reach’.

What is the impact?

In Wirral, feedback surveys are now a core part of local delivery, embedded into the approach for delivering EHC plans. In the future, the local authority intend to analyse the captured data at an aggregate level on a six monthly basis.

The feedback gathered from the survey is used in a variety of ways:

  • Publication of the findings in a “You said, We did’ document that provides examples of changes introduced following family feedback. This is made available to families through the Local Offer website.
  • In staff performance reviews, the feedback provided includes comments about named members of staff which has been used to identify positive practice and areas for development which are discussed during staff appraisal
  • To explore and address issues raised by individual families, where responses raise issues the team will re-contact the family to address their concerns.
  • To drive improvement across the multiagency team: for example, where negative comments have related to health involvement, members of the SEND team will approach colleagues to consider and refine their role in the process.

“Ultimately it is about improving practice and that’s what we want to do. That is why we will continue to reanalyse the feedback that we get.”

In Gloucester, harder to reach families have been contacted through the proactive efforts of the SEND Team, which improves the representativeness of the feedback they receive. These families have spoken positively about talking to service providers, which provides an opportunity to explain the areas they are having difficulties with and how the services could better help them.


Parent events

The issue: Services need families to be informed about local processes and provide feedback

What have LAs done?

Following a parental feedback gathering exercise the Salford multiagency SEND Team decided to start running regular parent events to keep them informed.

The service heard about parent events being run in another area, and how much parents appreciated them. The case was made for Salford to start running them too.

How are they doing it?

Salford now run regular sessions for parents at which they explain the EHC process, including the paperwork that is needed and the parents’ role in the process.

The local staff were unsure which venues and times would work best for parents, so they have organised the events in different locations, such as in schools and health centres, and at different times in the day (including morning, afternoon and early evening).

The sessions run for one hour and involve introducing members of the SEND Team and explaining their role in the EHC process, with time for parents and practitioners to talk together.

Salford advertise these sessions through caseworkers and schools to all parents who are about to begin the EHC process as well as those already involved in it. They have developed invitation leaflets to hand out to parents, and staff are encouraged to discuss the potential benefits of attendance with families they work with.

What is the impact?

The events have proved very useful in terms of building up relationships with families and gathering valuable feedback, which has been used to inform local service development.


Involving and empowering young people

The issue: Services want to work in partnership with young people with SEND, to ensure that they are part of the EHC process.

What did LAs do?

Richmond set up a ‘SEND Champions’ project to enable young people with SEND to help support the implementation of the reforms. Young people with SEND were initially canvassed from a local Special School, but there are now representatives from a variety of different schools.

How did they do it?

The Champions meet once a month with local authority staff and a Participation officer. The Champions’ role is to make young people’s views and opinions heard in order to improve services for current and future service users. SEND Champions offer ideas, give feedback and consult with parent groups and other children and young people with SEND.

Each Champion engages in work that focuses on one of the four key areas of the SEND reforms: the Local Offer; Personal Budgets; Post-16; and EHCP development.

Young people are thanked for their input by being awarded points. These can be saved up to ‘spend’ on a range of activities such as going to the cinema, go-karting or skydiving.

What is the impact?

The SEND Champions have played a key role in creating the Local Offer website and the development of the EHC Planning process. SEND Champions also produce or contribute to videos and a young people’s blog that contains news and information chosen or written ‘by young people for young people’.

The SEND Champions meet with other children and young people with SEND to capture their views of the EHCP process and annual reviews, which provides additional opportunities for children and young people to contribute.