Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Increase the capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Service’s responsibility to provide education provision for children and young people (CYP) with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) who are not attending school through a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
- This decision is required because the total value of the SLA will exceed the threshold for a Key Decision.
- The proposed decision is to increase the capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil The Council’s responsibilities for tuition through a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
- SEND requires tuition to meet a child’s EHC Plan’s education provision short-term whilst a long-term placement is sought, most often due to a delay in finding a special school place.
- There are two distinct types of tuition arrangement utilised by Kent County Council (KCC):
- an internal provision provided by The Education Programme within Fair Access, Education; and
- spot purchased placements with external tuition companies.
- The provision provided by these two types of tuition is inconsistent. Due to capacity issues The Education Programme offers an average of 5 hours per week, whilst external companies are commissioned for 10 hours per week.
- Currently SEN consult with The Education Programme before referring to the external market. There is not a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place between SEN and Education to describe the service to be delivered; quantities, quality and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
• Options Appraisal
1. Do nothing
2. Continue using The Education Programme at current levels and formalise external provider arrangements
3. Increase The Education Programme capacity to support all standard tuition requirements and formalise the arrangement with an SLA
- Option 3, to increase The Education Programme’s capacity to support all standard tuition requirements and formalise the arrangement with an SLA, is the preferred option as it is offers best value for these types of placements whilst supporting good outcomes for CYP with EHC Plans.
- The increase will include ensuring all students are offered suitable hours per week in a consistent manner to fulfil KCC’s statutory duty to provide an appropriate timetable and ensure equity across placements.
- The proposed decision will contribute to the outcome “Children and young people in Kent get the best start in life” by ensuring consistent, high-quality, and best value standard tuition for CYP with EHC Plans requiring temporary education.
- Option 1, to do nothing, was discounted because the spend is non-compliant with the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015 and the provision is inconsistent for students with EHCPs.
- Option 2, to continue using The Education Programme at current levels and formalise external provider arrangements, was discounted as it did not represent best value.
- The risks involved with not taking this decision include:
• continued non-compliant spend (PCR 2015); and
• inconsistent provision and outcomes for CYP with EHC Plans.
• Strategic Plan
- Through the commissioning of the contract, we will support the following strategic outcomes of KCC:
• Kent’s children have the best start in life and families get the right help and support when they need it; and
• every young person in Kent gets the education, skills and experiences they need for a successful future.
In addition, this service will support achievement of the following priorities:
• Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND): We are committed to working in partnership to make the necessary improvements for children and young people with SEND and their families.
• Implementing the Kent Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Written Statement of Action Plan: […] Following the result of our Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in 2019, we are focusing on designing better, more inclusive services to improve the quality of services for children and young people with SEND.
• Support for vulnerable young people: Our role is to champion children, young people, parents and families. We want to improve life chances and close the achievement gap for vulnerable young people.
KCC Strategic Delivery Plan, 2020-23
As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, I agree to:
A) Increase the capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Service’s responsibilities to provide education provision for children and young people (CYP) with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans) who are not attending school; and
B) Delegate decisions about the establishment of the new arrangements to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education (CYPE), or other Officer as instructed by the Corporate Director for CYPE.
Publication date: 16/07/2021
Date of decision: 16/07/2021
Effective from: 24/07/2021