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Decision Making

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Decision Making

Peterborough City Council convenes a number of panels for making decisions relating to the allocation of local authority resources and support for children and young people.

These are:

  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) Panel

  • Children and Young People’s Quality and Expenditure Panel

  • Peterborough Access to Support Panel

  • Early Support Process

  • SEN Inclusion Fund
  • Transport Panel

  • Primary Behaviour Panel

  • Adults Quality and Expenditure Panel

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Panel

The SEN Panel makes decisions related to the SEN statutory process.  This includes decisions relating to requests for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Needs Assessment and placement decisions.  

Organisations involved

The organisations involved in the SEN Panel are :

  • A senior member of the SEN and Inclusion Service at Peterborough City Council
  • Schools, colleges and Early Years settings will be invited to attend the panel on a rota basis
  • Named staff from Health and Social Care
  • Senior Educational Psychologist from Peterborough City Council
  • Other staff from the SEN and Inclusion Service and Early Years Service

How decisions are made

The SEN Panel will use the following questions to aid decision making:

  • Does the evidence indicate that the child/young person’s needs are known and understood?
  • If not, does the setting have the capacity to gather this evidence?
  • Does the evidence indicate that the setting has provided sufficient intervention through a cycle of action - ASSESS - PLAN - DO - REVIEW?
  • Does the evidence indicate that the child/young person has complex/severe needs in line with Peterborough’s guidance?
  • Where the answer to the above question is no, are there other compelling reasons for agreeing an EHC assessment?

How decisions are communicated to families

Within 48 hours of the SEN Panel meeting the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Team will contact the family to inform them of the decision of the panel giving them details of their right to appeal, should they need to do so.

Appeals Process

There is the opportunity for parents or the young person, prior to submitting an appeal, to take part in mediation. The aim of the mediation meeting is to resolve disagreements in an informal way using a neutral third party. Parents or young people must contact the  mediation provider within 2 months of the date of the decision letter. 

More information can be found on the Appeals, Mediation and Complaints page.

Children and Young People’s Quality and Expenditure Panel

The Peterborough City Council Children and Young People’s Quality and Expenditure Panel is a multi-agency panel that oversees, challenges, endorses and reviews resource allocation requests arising from assessments completed within social care, and additionally if applicable from the education and and health.  

Organisations involved

The organisations involved in the Children and Young People’s Quality and Expenditure Panel are:

  • Peterborough City Council Adult Social Care
  • Peterborough City Council Children’s Social Care
  • Peterborough City Council commissioning
  • Peterborough City Council finance
  • Peterborough City Council Head of SEN and Inclusion (or delegated representative)
  • TACT representative (Adoption and Fostering)
  • Clinical Commissioning Group Commissioning Manager or representative

How decisions are made

In reaching its decision, the Panel will:

  • Ensure consistent application of eligibility criteria and that the requests for care provision funding meet with the council’s statutory obligations in this regard.
  • Ensure there is a multi-agency assessment of need to inform short and long term care needs to enable creative and flexible solutions, to jointly meet the individual child/young person’s needs taking into account the views of the child and/or family.
  • Consider the range of available options put forward, and will have due regard to the preferred option and the required timescales.
  • Ensure that personalised care solutions personal budgets are identified
  • Ensure that decisions are based on the best and most up to date available evidence, and that decision making is consistent and fair
  • Consider how best to nurture and enhance the child or young person’s existing good relationships
  • Promote joint-working with the NHS CCG, Education and other key partners and agencies
  • Promote the duty of confidentiality in regard to matters heard at Panel, and ensure that data protection principles are applied.

How decisions are communicated to families

Decisions will be made on the day in most cases and will be stated verbally at the panel by the panel chair. Where this is not possible, clear timescales for decision making will be agreed.

A written decision will be circulated to all panel members, the person making the referral and to any relevant others. For children and young people with social care records the decision will also be uploaded to their electronic case record by panel administration.

It is the responsibility of the allocated social worker/case worker or lead professional within the school to inform the parents or carers and child or young person of the decision.

Appeals Process

Once an appeal or review request is received, the outcome of panel and the rationale for a decision not to authorise an application will be communicated in writing by the Chair of Panel within five working days.

Peterborough Access to Support Panel

The Peterborough Access to Support Panel allocates and helps to co-ordinate resources that are put in place for children, young people and their families where there is a risk or likelihood of children coming into the care system.  The panel also reviews the effectiveness of resources that are allocated to meet assessed need.

Organisations involved

The organisations involved in the PASP Panel are :

  • Peterborough City Council Head of Service from First Response, Family Support or Looked After Children Services on a rota basis
  • TACT (Adoption and Fostering)
  • Peterborough City Council Head of SEN and Inclusion
  • Peterborough City Council Head of Access to Resources and Specialist Commissioning;
  • Peterborough City Council Team Manager, Direct Intervention Services;
  • Peterborough City Council Manager, Adolescent Intervention Service;
  • Peterborough City Council Finance Manager;

How decisions are made

The best decisions are based on the best quality information. The PASP application form does not need to duplicate information available in assessments of needs that are also supplied to the panel, but it should offer a good summary of this information, and practitioners are asked to ensure that particular attention is given to informing panel of:

  • The views of the child, young person and their family and/or carers;
  • Any relevant features of the child or young person’s background including ethnicity, religion, language, gender, disability and/or sexuality;
  • Any risks and protective factors present;
  • What interventions have been put in place already and their impact;
  • Progress being made in school/education and details about school attendance;
  • Any relevant information about physical and/or emotional or mental health, with supporting assessments where available;
  • Any other relevant details about the child’s broader community including extended family, school or education setting and peer or friendship groups.

How decisions are communicated to families

Decisions will be made on the day in most cases and will be stated verbally by the panel chair. Where this is not possible, clear timescales for decision making will be agreed.

A written decision will be circulated to all panel members, the person making the referral and to any relevant others. For children and young people with social care records the decision will also be uploaded to their electronic case record by panel administration.

It is the responsibility of the allocated social worker/case worker or lead professional within the school to inform the parents or carers and child or young person of the PASP decision.

Appeals Process

Any child, young person, parent or carer who is unhappy with a decision made by PASP is able to ask for the decision to be reviewed before seeking resolution through relevant complaints procedures.

They should ask their social worker or lead practitioner to ask to request a review of the decision. The chair will convene an appeals meeting with a relevant head of service and one other panel member. The child or young person, or parent or carer, is welcome to submit a brief statement outlining why they think the decision is wrong. The social worker or lead professional can assist in this process if necessary.

If following the appeals meeting the child or young person, or parent or carer remains dissatisfied, they are able to use the councils’ formal complaints procedures. More information can be found on the Appeals, Mediation and Complaints page.

Early Support Process

Early Support in Peterborough is based on a national programme following the SEN reforms.  It looks at supporting pre-school children and families in a more holistic approach.  You can find more information in the Early Support Pathway Guide for Parents and Carers.

Referral Process

A referral can only be made by a professional, for example:

  • Health visitor
  • Nursery setting
  • Community nursery nurse

What happens when the referral has been made?

The referral goes to the Early Help Team in Peterborough City Council where it will be looked at and checked.  It then goes to the Early Support Co-ordinator.  The Early Support Co-ordinator will allocate the referral to an Early Support multi-agency meeting.

What happens at the meeting and who will be there?

The information that has been provided will be discussed by a group of professionals from across Health and Education.  The referrer will also attend the meeting.  The meeting is chaired by the Early Help Support Co-ordinator.

The group will decide whether the Early Support Pathway is suitable for your child.  If the decision is that it is the most appropriate pathway for your child, a plan will be put in place based on their individual needs.

Appeals process

If you are are not happy with the result you can get in touch with the Early Support Co-ordinator on 01733 317411.  

More information can be found on the Appeals, Mediation and Complaints page.

SEN Inclusion Fund

All local authorities are required to have an SEN Inclusion Fund in their local funding systems for 3- and 4-year olds with SEND accessing the free entitlement. The purpose of the fund is to support local authorities to work with providers to address the needs of individual children with SEND

The funding is in addition to the early years funded entitlement and is paid to the setting to support them to effectively meet the needs of children with SEND in their pre-school, ensuring they are able to access their 15 or 30 hours funded early education entitlement.

Organisations involved

  • The Local Authority
  • The Early Years and Childcare provider

How to apply

All requests for funding are made by the setting via THE EARLY SUPPORT PATHWAY PROCESS. Funding is applied for directly by the setting.

Settings are encouraged to be clear, transparent and consistent about the SEND support available at their setting and make information available about this support, to enable parents to choose the right setting for their child.

Settings are written to confirming the amount of hours agreed, funding is claimed termly and paid directly to the setting.

How decisions are made

Funding requests will be considered where:

  • A child requires support to access a setting physically
  • A child cannot benefit fully because they have an identified learning, communication, attention, sight or hearing difficulty

If a setting wishes to increase their funding, they can re-apply.

Transport Panel

The Transport Panel considers applications for home to school transport for children with special educational needs or disabilities including daily transport, weekly boarding placements. termly residential placements and permanent residential placements.

Organisations involved

  • Team Manager - Passenger Tranport Operations (Peterborough City Council)
  • Specialist Transport Officer (Peterborough City Council)
  • Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (Peterborough City Council)
  • Children's Services Finance (Peterborough City Council)

How decisions are made

The panel considers the following in making their decisions:

  • Distance from home to school
  • Age of the student
  • School attended – Nearest suitable school / catchment school - taken to mean the nearest qualifying school with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child, and any SEN that the child may have
  • Length of journey
  • Ability to travel to school alone or accompanied either by walking, cycling or using public transport
  • Whether the student has a disability or learning difficulty which makes it unreasonable to walk, cycle or travel to school by bus
  • Whether the parent/carer has a disability which makes it unreasonable for them to accompany their child to school
  • Any other exceptional circumstances applicable to each case

How decisions are communicated to families

Parents are sent a letter confirming the outcome of their transport application.

Appeals process

Any parent who has been refused assisted school/college transport may appeal to the Appeals Committee (Service Issues) if they wish to challenge:

(1) the refusal is not in line with this policy
(2) the transport arrangements offered
(3) that there are exceptional reasons to depart from this policy

Details of the Appeals process can be found in the School Transport Policy, which can be found on the School Transport page.

Primary Behaviour Panel

Primary schools can refer for support any child who does not have an Education Health and Care Plan whose behaviour is starting to put their school placement at risk.

Organisations involved

The Pupil Referral Service (Peterborough City Council) delivers the behaviour support.  Panels also involve Project for Schools and Peterborough City Council's Educational Psychology Service.

How decisions are made

The school presents the case to the Panel and actions are agreed between the parties. Parents have consented to the referral being made and there is a section on the referral form to record parental and pupil views. All referrals have a home visit and most will also have a school observation. This information adds to the panel actions and develops a integrated intervention plan.

How decisions are communicated to families

By a home visit.  The school or Pupil Referral Service Early Intervention Manager will share follow up actions.

Appeals process

None at present as all referals from schools are accepted and all get a tailored support offer, but with a common core of a home visit and school observation.

Adults Quality and Expenditure Panel

Peterborough has established a Quality Assurance and Expenditure Panel to consider funding allocation requests for people over 18 years at or above a weekly value of £250. 

Organisations involved

  • Heads of Service from Peterborough City Council Commissioning
  • Head of Service Adult Social Care Operations Peterborough City Council
  • Continuing Health Care lead Peterborough City Council
  • Contracts and Procurement Peterborough City Council
  • Peterborough City Council Corporate Finance lead
  • Social Workers making the referral or Social Work Team Manager
  • NHS Clinical Commissioning Group Continuing Health Care representative
  • Occupational Therapy / Reablement lead Peterborough City Council

How decisions are made

The Panel will receive the following information on which to base their decision:

  • A fully completed Panel application form
  • Completed Assessment and Care Plan documents including confirmation of eligibility
  • Indicative personal budget allocation amount
  • An accurate and relevant summary of the required service and needs with other options if applicable
  • Any other relevant supporting professional information must be added to the Panel application form, or noted for reference (e.g. mental capacity assessment, CHC or Joint Funding Tool checklist/decision)

How decisions are communicated to families

Service users/families should be advised of funding decisions made by Panel in the same, standard way that decisions about care and support are communicated. 

Appeals process

If new information comes to light following a Panel decision then the case may be re-submitted for re-consideration. The assessor should attend to discuss the case.

An internal appeal against a Panel decision may be made in writing within 10 working days to the Chair of the Panel where the application was originally discussed.

The Chair of the Panel will make arrangements for the application to be heard by two members of the People and Communities Senior Management Team to review the case within five working days. The social care assessor may provide comments in support of their case. Details of the outcome will be put in writing within five working days of the review.

Key Principles

Key principles for all panels are as follows:

  • The child’s/young person’s safety is of paramount importance, and there must be a clear emphasis on maintaining their learning
  • Wherever possible, children and young people’s care needs will be met by their family and within their local community 
  • Wishes expressed by the child/young person and their family should be ascertained and will inform the decision making
  • Services commissioned will be of high quality, and will meet all minimum standards for regulated services
  • Assessment and planning will be robust, timely, child centred and take a holistic, multi-agency approach
  • The Panel will be a forum for multi agency information sharing, action planning and review
  • The child will be at the centre of the planning process, and planning will be realistic with clear timescales and will be discussed and shared with children (age appropriately) and family, including birth family where the child is Looked After by the Local Authority.
  • Where a child is placed in specialist provision outside of the authority contact arrangements with family/extended family and siblings will be arranged in a timely manner and in the best interests of the children
  • Owning and managing quality and risk requires all the multi-agency partners to take a corporate approach and each agency should be clear of its own lines of accountability
  • Staffing and financial resources will be used effectively, efficiently and equitably
  • Wherever possible, reviews will be carried out in a coordinated way

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