Last year the Children and Families Act came into force.  This requires local authorities and CCGs to make sure that there are arrangements in place for joint commissioning the education, health and care provision reasonably required by a child.

Nearly a year on each CCG area should have a Joint Commissioning Framework for SEND which sets out how the Local Authority and CCG are going to work together. We have already seen challenges to both CCGs and Local Authorities on the basis of failure of agencies to work together.

What should these Arrangements look like?

There is a wide range of joint working arrangements that can be put in place.  These can range from the Local Authority and CCG agreeing a process setting out how they will make commissioning decisions for each child to a Pooled Fund and/or lead commissioning arrangements for children with special educational needs.

The key is that any commissioning arrangements must appear joined up from the perspective of the children and their families.  There should be no delays caused as a result of failure for information to pass between Partners or assessments not being organized jointly.  What is clear is that failure to have a joint process will be challenged by Claimant solicitors.

What must your Arrangements Cover?

The joint arrangements need to include provisions setting out how the CCG and local authority will consider and agree the support required locally and who will commission that support.  Any framework will also need to set out the arrangements in respect of information and advice, complaints handling

The joint commissioning arrangements must include arrangements for the local authority and CCGs to consider and agree the special educational, health and social care provision required locally, and to determine what provision is to be secured and by whom, in order to meet that need. The arrangements must also cover what information and advice is to be provided about education, health and care provision, how it is to be provided, and how complaints about education, health and care provision may be made and handled. In addition, the arrangements will also include procedures for resolving disputes between the partners.

How can we help?

We can review your joint commissioning strategies and policies to ensure that they meet the requirements of the SEND legislation.

We can consider the governance and accountability frameworks that you will have in place in relation to SEND

We can discuss with you possible options for joint working structures including lead commissioning arrangements or pooled funds.