Decision Making Panels (Local Offer)

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Decision Making Panels

Peterborough City Council has panels for making decisions. The panels decide how best to use the resources of the council to support children and young people.

The panels are:

  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) Panel
  • Early Support Pathway
  • Joint Agency Support Panel
  • Short Breaks Panel
  • High Cost Placement and Resource Panel
  • Multi Agency Support Group
  • Transitions Panel
  • Transport Panel

You can find a simple Parents Guide to Panels on this page.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Panel

The SEN Panel 

The SEN Panel makes decisions related to the SEN statutory process.  This includes decisions relating to requests for an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and placement decisions.  This panel meets once a fortnight

Who attends?

The organisations involved in the SEN Panel are:

  • A senior member of the SEN & Inclusion Service at Peterborough City Council (PCC)
  • Senior Educational Psychologist Representative from Parent/Carer forum.
  • Schools, colleges and Early Years settings will be invited to attend the panel on a rota basis
  • Social worker from the Disability Social Care 0-25 Service
  • SEND Health Co-ordinator
  • Specialist Teacher representative
  • Early Years Representative

SEN Panel - what is considered?

The SEN Panel will review evidence collected from education, health and social care in decision making. The panel makes decisions on the following requests:

  • Requests for EHC needs assessment
  • Requests for specialist placement

SEN Panel - how decisions are communicated to families

The Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (SAMS) will contact the family to inform them of the decision of the panel (we aim to do this within 48 hours of the SEN Panel meeting, where possible). If the decision is not what the parent/carers are hoping for, the officer can talk through next steps and advise of their right to appeal.  

The decisions are communicated by telephone first, followed up with a letter.

SEN Panel Terms of Reference

View the SEN Panel terms of reference. (these Terms of Reference will be reviewed/updated in Autumn 2021)

Early Support Pathway

What is the Early Support Pathway?

The Early Support Pathway is a process designed to support families who have children 0-5 who have complex needs. This is done by providing a co-ordinated approach to services, bringing together a range of professionals to identify the most appropriate package of support to offer.

Early Support Pathway - who attends?

The multi-agency meeting is held fortnightly and is chaired by the Early Support Co-ordinator.  Representatives attend from:

  • Children Centres
  • Portage
  • Health Visiting
  • Early Help
  • Early Years
  • Child Development Centre
  • The Early Help Initiator is also invited to attend to present their information

Early Support Pathway – what is considered?

The needs of the child and the family are discussed an the most appropriate support to meet the individual needs is identified and offered. This could be a paediatric referral, Children Centre support, health visiting input, early years services or a combination of all of them, depending on the needs.

Early Support Pathway – how decisions are communicated to families

Parents are notified prior to the meeting that their child will be discussed and are written to after the meeting to convey the decisions, or contacted by the Early Support Co-ordinator.  If the initiator is present they are requested to also feedback to the parent. 

Joint Agency Support Panel (JASP)

About JASP

JASP is responsible for approving packages/requests for children and young people who require a multi-agency response across Social Care, Health and Education for their needs to be met. Decisions regarding requests for packages of support where a joint funding arrangement is in place, as well as Continuing Care cases, will be made at this Panel. 

This Panel meets on the last Tuesday of every month.

JASP - who attends?

Chair:  Assistant Director - Adults and Safeguarding

  • Head of Children's Commissioning
  • Head of Disability Social Care 0-25 Service
  • Head of Corporate Parenting
  • Head of SEN and Inclusion Services
  • NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Other Panel members include:

  • Commissioner for Children with Disabilities/SEND
  • Social Worker/Team Support Worker
  • Head of Finance
  • Adults Learning Disability/Supported Living Commissioning
  • Access to Resources Representative

JASP Panel - what is considered?

JASP will review evidence collected from Social Care, Health (in relation to Continuing Care need) and Education. This evidence is then presented to Panel to support decisions on:

  • High cost, joint funded placements
  • Continuing Care assessments
  • Transitions to adulthood

JASP Panel - how decisions are communicated to families

Once a decision has been made at JASP, the Panel Decision Notice, written by the Panel Administrator, will be approved by the Panel Chair within 6 working days. This will then be circulated by email within 10 working days and Social Workers will communicate the decision to families. 

High Cost Placement and Resource Request Panel

What does the Panel do?

The 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, or for children who are already in care.  The panel also reviews the effectiveness of resources that are allocated to meet assessed need.  The panel meets monthly

High Cost Placement and Resource Panel - who attends?

The organisations involved in the Panel are :

  • Head of Corporate Parenting (chair)
  • Independent Reviewing Officer
  • Head of Virtual Schools
  • Head of Finance
  • Children's Commissioning representative
  • Access to Resources representative

What is considered?

  • Discussions on children who are in residential or high costing IFA placements
  • This includes care planning, plans for moving on (if applicable) and support levels, education etc
  • The resource requests tend to be either for independent assessments, contribution towards family members applying for a legal order, additional funding for childcare etc

How decisions are communicated to families

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

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

Short Breaks Panel

Approving and reviewing requests for short breaks packages

The Short Breaks Panel will be responsible for approving and reviewing requests for Short Breaks packages for children and young people with complex needs and/or disabilities. 

This Panel meets on a fortnightly basis. 

Short Breaks Panel - who attends?

The organisations involved in the panel are:

  • Commissioner for Children with Disabilities/SEND (Chair)
  • Head of Disability Social Care 0-25 Service
  • Senior Accountant
  • Strategic Manager for In House Short Breaks
  • Head of Statutory Assessment & Monitoring
  • Children and Young People's Continuing Care Commissioning Specialist Nurse
  • Social Worker/Team Support Worker
  • Access to Resources Representative
  • Corporate Parenting

Short Breaks Panel - what is considered?

The decisions made at this Panel are based on evidence collated by the Social Worker, the child/young person's EHCP and other assessments (e.g. Children and Families Assessment). This is presented to Panel to determine if:

  • The child/young person requires a Short Break
  • The request made by the Social Worker is suitable for the child/young person

Short Breaks panel – how decisions are communicated to families

Once a decision has been made at Short Breaks Panel, the Panel Decision Notice, written by the Panel Administrator, will be approved by the Panel Chair within 6 working days. This will then be circulated by email within 10 working days and Social Workers will communicate the decision to families. 

Multi Agency Support Group

Early Help

In Peterborough we believe that Early Help is about ensuring that children and families receive the support they need at the right time. We aim to provide help for children and families when problems start to emerge or when there is a strong likelihood that problems will emerge in the future. 

Some families may need greater support than that available from within the community and require access to targeted as well as universal services. Additional resources can be accessed via an Early Help Panel called the Multi-agency Support Group (MASG) panels. 

Who can ask for help from MASG?

Professionals working with families can make a referral for a case to be heard at MASG by completing the referral form on the Early Help Module case management system.

Families should speak to the professionals working with them to find out what MASG can offer. In order to access support from MASG, there needs to be an open and up to date Early Help Assessment

There are three MASG panels – one in each of three localities covering the city. Each panel meets for half a day every two weeks.

The professional supporting the family attends to present the case.

MASG - who sits on the panel?

  • PCC Chair
  • PCC MASG co-ordinator
  • PCC Early Help Support Officer
  • Targeted Youth Support Service
  • Police
  • Early Years
  • Children’s Social Care
  • Health visitor / school nurse
  • Substance Misuse Services
  • Locality based Children’s Centre
  • Department of Work and Pensions
  • CAMHS / emotional health and well being service

Multi Agency Support Group (MASG)  – what is available from the panel?

  • Access to family support in the home
  • Access to a place on an Evidenced Based Parenting Programme
  • Access to Sleep Right (specialist service to assist families where children are struggling with positive sleep routines)
  • Information and advice from panel members

MASG Panel - Questions?

How long is a case open to MASG? A case stays open whilst the commissioned service completes their intervention.

How is progress measured? Cases are regularly reviewed whilst they remain open to MASG.  At the end of each intervention, the provider is asked to complete an end of intervention impact report.

Transitions Panel

Transitioning into adulthood

The success of a young person’s experience of transition into adulthood largely depends on the planning of the young person’s transition, understanding of the young person’s individual needs and how these needs are met during the transition period.

It is important that all services supporting young people within this process work together to ensure that plans are robust and needs led, to ensure our young people make successful transitions into adulthood. When this goes well children, young people and their parents/carers can look to the future with confidence.

The purpose of the Transitions Panel is to bring together all professionals who are supporting young people from 14 upwards who are known to the 0-25 Disability Service and formally recognised as having Special Educational Needs, whether or not they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Who attends the panel?

Panel members reflect a multi-agency approach to consider the specific needs of young people being presented, making sure that a robust discussion takes place around the plans and resources that have been identified as part of the transitions plan.

Panel membership includes:

  • Disability Social Care 0-25 Service
  • Adult Social Care
  • Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Transforming Care
  • Continuing Health Care
  • Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Team
  • Department of Work and Pensions
  • PCC Childrens and adults commissioners
  • Social Care Finance
  • Occupational Therapy
  • PCC Residential Short Breaks
  • City College Day Opportunities
  • SEN and inclusion services
  • Housing
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

What is considered at the panel?

  • Further embed a multi-agency, coordinated and collaborative approach to shared planning and to consider future plans around preparation for adulthood and transition.
  • Proactively identify any possible funding requirements that need to be considered at Short Breaks panel or JASP (for children under 18) or by the Transitions Team manager or JASP (for young adults over 18 - dependent on total proposed financial commitment).
  • To ensure partner agencies and service providers are clear around their support to the young person as part of the transition process.
  • Jointly explore care, support and accommodation options with partners.
  • To review plans that have been put in place as innovative ways (alternative support for children and young people).
  • To deliver an efficient, effective and evidence-based use of resources which support the specific needs of the young person but also ensures good value for money.
  • Share information and resources to identify trends to continuously feed into service improvements, resource sufficiency planning and commissioning priorities.

How decisions are communicated to families

Actions agreed on cases will be followed up by the identified agency and panel will track cases until sign off. Each panel member will be given an opportunity to contribute towards case discussions.

Relevant information will be shared in a sensitive manner with young people and their parents or carers and recorded on the individual's electronic case file

Transport Panel

Home to school transport

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.  The panel meets fortnightly

Transport Panel - who attends?

The professionals involved in the Transport Panel are all from Peterborough City Council:

  • Specialist Transport Officer
  • SEN and Inclusion Service
  • SEN Finance and Transport Officer 

Transport Panel - what is considered?

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

Transport Panel - how decisions are communicated to families

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

Key Principles

What are the 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
Parents on panels

Involving parents in panels

The council is keen to actively involve parents in panels.  Some of the ways in which this is undertaken are as follows:

  • The social workers who present applications (based on their statutory assessments) at panel will feedback the decisions captured by the panel clerk. This provides a clear and quick feedback loop for clients, families and carers

  • For adults with complex needs that involve very complicated scenarios which include multi-agency funding (Continuing Care) the communication by the social worker with the family is crucial to explain the complexity of decisions made

  • For a number of clients that don’t have capacity and are subject to Powers of Attorney (or other Mental Health Act) the role of the social worker in clearly communicating decisions to families is critical within those statutory (Mental Health) guidelines/legislation. If the communication provided was not accurate or presented without a full understanding of the condition it could have a detrimental impact on the client and family and may lead to a legal challenge

Related Advice

  1. Resolving disagreements about an Education Health and Care Plan (Local Offer)

Related Pages

  1. Early Years & Childcare
  2. Education (Local Offer)

External Links

  1. Peterborough City Council Schools Transport page


  1. Parents Guide to Panels June 2021
  2. Early Support Pathway leaflet
  3. SEN PANEL TERMS OF REFERENCE - to be reviewed/updated in Autumn 2021


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