Issue details

21/00052 - Increasing capacity within The Education Programme to fulfil SENs (Special Educational Needs Service) responsibilities for tuition when required

Proposed decision:

 

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).

 

         Decision

 

-         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).

 

         Background

 

-         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

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/06/2021

Decision due: Not before 14th Jul 2021 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: Mark Walker

Contact: Christy Holden, Lead Commissioning Manager Tel: 03000 415356.

Financial implications: - Currently, the cost for standard tuition is costing the Council £1,762,086, split between SEN, £929,086, and Education, £833,000. - Enhancing the service with the additional proposed cost of £241,746 to increase the capacity of The Education Programme includes increasing the offer to discharge our statutory duty of an appropriate timetable and ensure equity across placements. - If compared on a full year costed basis, the new internal provision will cost £16,528 per student whilst external standard placements cost £18,800+VAT per student. - These placements fall under the Special Educational Needs & Psychology Services key service line within Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Division budget, line 65 in the 2021/22 KCC Budget.

Legal implications: - Kent County Council has a statutory responsibility under The Education Act 1996 to provide education for all CYP until the age of 19, or 25 for those with EHCPs. - S.19 of the Education Act 1996 states the Council must ensure suitable education is provided for CYP unable to attend school, typically full-time (25 hours) unless a physical or mental health need requires a reduction. - Associated legislation includes The Children and Families Act 2014, the SEN Code of Practice (2015), the Equality Act 2010 and The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Regulations 2014.

Equalities implications: - An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) screening has been completed and has concluded that the proposed decision does not present any adverse equality impact.

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