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Response to the Feedback Regarding Perceived Gaps in the Local Offer 2015-16.

Date: 8th November 2016

Subject: Cheshire West and Chester Council Response to the Feedback Regarding Perceived Gaps in the Local Offer 2015-16.


Cheshire West and Chester Council are committed to working in partnership with families and other partners in reviewing and developing the Local Offer.  We want to know what our stakeholders think about the quality of existing provision and any perceived gaps there may be in delivery. The feedback will be used by commissioners to review existing services and future delivery. The feedback is collected in various ways e.g. Parent Carer Forum, focus groups and via the Local Offer website. You can give your feedback by clicking here

We have produced a Local Offer report for 2015-16 which contains the feedback we have received about the website and Rate and Review of services and what we intend to do about the feedback. it can be accessed here.

This report has the feedback received about perceived gaps and contains a response to that feedback. Since receiving the feedback we have recognised that to address some of the concerns raised we actually need more information so we have made changes to the Local Offer feedback form which will enable us to action the feedback more appropriately. We now ask for more detail e.g. where geographically the gap is, what age group is the gap relating to, is it being delivered but there is a waiting list, who should deliver the actions, what difference would filling the gap make. To access the form click here.

We have grouped the feedback and responses into sections and the feedback received is in blue:

  • Commissioned Services
  • Education
  • Social Care Services
  • Commissioned Short Breaks
  • Health
  • Independent Services
  • Ofsted Registered Childcare
  • Voluntary Services

 Commissioned Services 

“Independent living skills”

“Steps to Independent Living in Chester - Service needed now!  No provision for steps to independent living.  One/two night breaks/stays for our young people needed now with other of a similar age and ability.  Independent living skills and socialisation are key!! Our young adults deserve it.  they want to lead independent lives and be a valued and respected members of society”

 “Social communication skills groups for children under the age of 16 in the Chester (or any) area locally”

The re-commissioning for Short Breaks will have a focus on young people being supported to be as independent as possible as well as safe , enjoyable opportunities.   The Shorts Breaks will be re-commissioned in line with the outcomes of the current Disability review taking place and will be in place by April 2017.

Occupational Therapists (OT) can provide strategies for young people / carers/ parents / schools to use to promote the learning and embedding of functional activities of daily living and so help with independent living skills. These strategies are around activities such as dressing and toileting.  These activities need to be built into the daily routines of the young person to aid acquisition of the skills.

The Speech and Language Therapy Service (SALT) is a needs led service and any child young person requiring input for language will be seen as clinically indicated. Social communication groups do take place in many special and mainstream schools as the need arises.  A SALT may share strategies to be used in these groups.  Groups in schools are formed by need and outcomes and may range from 2 to 6 pupils in a group. Strategies and activities around social communication should be embedded throughout the day.

 “Please provide an on "call" service for urgent care needs.  Parents/carers who have a crisis, who need instant help.  Often people are told they need to book or give notice .  This service would be self limiting as people using it would only use it only special occasions.  Carers who keep using it would otherwise be referred by the nature of their problem to other services.”

Currently this type of support would be accessed via a referral to Integrated Access to Resources Team (I-ART). For families that have ongoing support delivered this is able to be taken account within the current support package and on occasion this can include on call type services depending on the needs. The difficulty with broadening this offer to families who are not currently receiving support is

Young people being supported by:

1)  Staff they know

2) Appropriate risk assessing of the current situation

3) Availability of appropriately training staff given the diverse needs of the young people 

4) Registration with the appropriate bodies OFSTED / CQC

5)  The adhoc nature of this type of service would mean that retention of staffing would be difficult . This type of support will however be taken into account within the re-commissioning of short breaks to see if the services awarded contract could offer some flexibility to offer support when required .

“There are many gaps in terms of Parents/Pupil rights and how to appeal decisions. The appeal itself is a crazy process that needs to be simplified. Right now the whole Local Offer process is far beyond difficult and needs to be drastically simplified.”

The Local Authority has to follow the legal process which the government put into place to support families.   There are currently services that can help, the Information Advice and Support Service can offer to support with Special Educational needs and Disability processes. The service can help parents resolve disputes.  The service supports parents, carers and young people to appeal decisions in matters relating to Special Educational Needs and Disability this includes admissions, exclusions, transport and Special Educational Needs tribunal appeals.  For more information and contact details click here.

Edge Independent Consultants provide Independent Support – Independent Support (IS) is a Government funded programme until March 2018 to provide additional support to young people and parents during the implementation of SEND reforms.   The Council for Disabled children (CDC) have commissioned a range of organisations to provide Independent Support locally across England.  Independent Support will be used specifically to support young people and parents through the introduction of new assessment process and the development of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.  Support will be provided to: New entrants to the system and children with a statement transferring to an Education Health and Care Plan. For more information and contact details click here.

Cheshire West and Chester have commissioned a SEND Mediation And Disagreement Resolution service.  They are able to offer advice in terms of the process as well as holding formal mediation sessions with all parties involved

Commissioned Short Breaks

 “Independent living skills and “buddy” system.”

We currently commissioning CCIL (Cheshire Centre for Independent Living) to deliver volunteer buddies - please see local offer

Cheshire West and Chester have been chosen to share good practice of the Local Offer for the Preparing for Adulthood demonstration site – the work will involve development of information and services within the following categories:  - Employment, Good Health, Independence and Independent Living, Friends, Relationships and the Community, Personalisation , co-production and participation.  The work will start with employment pathway and will be followed by independent living. 


 “Not enough capacity for speech and language”

The SALT service is a needs led service and any child / young person requiring input for language will be seen as clinically indicated. Social communication groups do take place in many Special and mainstream schools as the need arises.  A SALT may share strategies to be used in these groups.  Groups in schools are formed by need and outcomes and may range from 2 to 6 pupils in a group. Strategies and activities around social communication should be embedded throughout the day.

Commissioners are currently developing a refreshed service specification. This will include a review of pathways to assess and prioritise individual needs. This work will be completed by May 2017 at the latest.

“More information on the healthcare aspects”

There is a children and young people transformation plan which the update for 2016/17 is currently being finalised. NHS Vale Royal CCG has made additional investment for 2016/17 to support the implementation of the plan which is in addition to existing investment.

All health providers have been asked to review their statement on the local offer to ensure it is informative and provides contact details

“More options would be good especially for people with profound needs.”

We have included all opportunities that we are aware of on Local Offer we add new opportunities as soon as we made aware of them.  It is important for families and professionals to inform us of any opportunities that they are aware of so these can be included.  We are working with Health colleague’s to provide information activities and accessing within the community please contact us if you become aware of new activities and we do our best to include on the offer.  To obtain a clearer understanding of gaps in services we have added new questions to our feedback form click here.

If we receive this information, we will feed this into commissioners who consider opportunities for funding.

“Private support services would be useful - eg psychiatrists, counsellors, diagnostic services for ASD, therapists, etc.”

Anyone can independently advertise on the Local Offer by completing  a service entry form a new portal for registering and updating own information will be available in December 2016.  To see the benefits for providers advertising on the Local Offer click here.  To view our disclaimer click here.  

“School holiday provision for daytime activities for complex needs/behavioural needs children  more music therapy please!  Social communication skills groups for children under the age of 16 in the Chester (or any) area locally.”

Private providers may offer holiday activity / sport groups during the summer holidays at some locations. These may not currently cater for all needs and disabilities.

Music therapy is provided by some of the special schools throughout the local authority. Sessions maybe on a 1:1 basis or as a group.  Please contact see individual special school  for more information.


 “Early Years consultants being able to spend more time in settings to help with practice.”

The early years team wanted to utilise the local offer to create a ‘one stop shop for providers and enable PVIs and childminders to become more  pro-active about keeping up to date with key documents in early years.  So rather than enabling us to spend more time in settings it will ensure that our visits are more focused on outcomes for children rather than constantly repeating messages about developments in early years.

“I believe there's not enough training for managers and staff to feed the right amount of information to parents”

Cheshire West and Chester Council and partners recognise there is need to share information appropriately with families .  The recent Disabled Service Children’s Review recognised the need for a change in culture.  To view the underpinning changes click here

Going forward we are committed to staff receiving Disability Awareness training and this will mandatory for new Cheshire West and Chester Staff.  We include information about  National Organisations to raise Disability Awareness on the Local Offer eg. National Children’s Bureau.

“Testimonials from young people, links to other services.”

We are running a mystery shopping pilot on the Local Offer for Young People for further information about the pilot click here.   We are developing a “Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know” section which will link to testimonials for service users and we attend to add more film from service users – if you have something to share contact: Information Advice and Support Service - Emma Walker – e-mail: or telephone: 0300 123 7001

“Transition Planning Work Experience for disabled adults Social activities for disabled young people”

This is a gap being picked up currently within the work of the Preparing for Adulthood demonstration site.  We will be working on improving the pathways to employment this year.

“Parenting Groups”

Cheshire West and Chester recognise that parents value support from other parents we currently advertise all the support groups we know about on the Local Offer to view click here.

Parents who want to set up their own group can get advice from:

Contact a Family link click here. 

If you would like to set up a local support group and like some help with signposting and how you would get started contact:

Emma Walker – e-mail: or telephone: 0300 123 7001



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