Local Offer

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: What is the Local Offer?

Answer: From September 2014 every Local Authority will be required to publish information about services they expect to be available in their area for children and young people from birth to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and also services outside of the area which they expect children and young people from their area will use. This will be known as the ‘Local Offer’. The Local Offer will put all the information about Education, Health and Care services, leisure activities and support groups in one place. The Government says the Local Offer must be developed and reviewed in partnership with children and young people, parents and carers, and local services, including schools, colleges, health and social care agencies.

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Question: Who is the Local Offer for?

Answer: The Local Offer is primarily designed for use by parent/carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). However, it will also enable practitioners and professionals to see clearly which services are available in their local area and how and when they can be accessed.

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Question: How will the Local Offer help me?

Answer: It will make it easier for you to find out what you need to know and what you might do in order to get the right support for a child or young person. The services involved with the Local Offer will be asked to provide and maintain up-to-date information that is easily accessible. For instance, information might include who the service will suit, opening hours, accessibility, or costs. The Local Offer will also help you find the services that are nearest to you and most suitable for your child’s needs. There will be guidance to help you find out what you need to ask practitioners and professionals and how they can help you and your child or young person. The Local Offer will also include information on giving feedback and raising issues and concerns and making a complaint.

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Question: What makes the Local Offer different?

Answer: The Local Offer is meant to be more than a directory or a list of services available. It will provide all the information you need to help you identify suitable support, to increase your knowledge so you can make informed decisions about the resources needed to enable your child or young person with SEND to be able to participate, and to enjoy and achieve their goals. It will include information on access to services, any eligibility criteria, how decisions are made and who makes them. Families will know how they can get involved in decisions for their son or daughter and also how to become involved in strategic decision making and service planning. The Local Offer will inform joint commissioning of services within Education, Health and Social Care and provide information to support parent carers and young people who have a personal budget. The content of the Local Offer will be jointly prepared with parent carers and children and young people. This will ensure that it is written and delivered in the most suitable way, so everyone can use and understand it. The Local Offer will be clear and transparent so that you can see exactly what support is available to your family. It will also help parent/carers to feedback and challenge when they are concerned that their son or daughter isn’t receiving the right support to meet his/her needs or the provision they had been led to expect.


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Question: Can parents make their own educational arrangements without any input from the local authority?

Answer: No. Where the child’s parent or the young person makes alternative arrangements, the local authority must satisfy itself that those arrangements are suitable before it is relieved of its duty to secure the provision. It can only conclude that those arrangements are suitable if there is a realistic possibility of them being funded for a reasonable period of time by the parents. If it is satisfied, the local authority need not name its nominated school or college in the Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and may specify only the type of provision. This is to avoid the school or other institution having to keep a place free that the child’s parent or the young person has no intention of taking up.

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Question: Does the local authority have any right to access the family home if they are concerned about the delivery of home education?

Answer: No. Local authorities do not have the right of entry to the family home to check that the provision being made by the parents is appropriate. They may only enter the home at the invitation of the parents. However, if the local authority does have concerns about the welfare of a child it may consider a referral to social care or consider using its powers to enforce school attendance.

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Question: What if the local authority agrees that home education is the only appropriate provision for the child/young person?

Answer: In cases where local authorities and parents agree that home education is the right provision for a child or young person with an Education Health and Care Plan, the Plan should make clear that the child or young person will be educated at home. If it does then the local authority, under section 42(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014, must arrange the special educational provision set out in the Plan, working with the parents. In cases where the EHC Plan gives the name of a school or type of school where the child will be educated and the parents decide to educate at home, the local authority is not
under a duty to make the special educational provision set out in the plan provided it is satisfied that the arrangements made by the parents are suitable.

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Question: What happens if parents make their own arrangements to the health provision in an Education Health and Care Plan?

Answer: The health commissioning body is still responsible for arranging the health care specified in the child or young person’s Education Health and Care Plan. If the child’s parent or the young person makes alternative arrangements for health care provision then the health commissioning body would need to satisfy itself that those arrangements are suitable. If the arrangements are not suitable the health commissioning body would arrange the provision specified in the plan or, if they felt it appropriate, assist the child’s parent or the young person in making their own arrangements suitable.

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Question: What happens to the social care provision in an Education health and Care Plan if parents make their own arrangements?

Answer: For social care provision specified in the plan, existing duties on social care services to assess and provide for the needs of disabled children and young people under the Children Act 1989 continue to apply.

Where the local authority decides it is necessary to make provision for a disabled child or young person under 18 under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person Act (CSDPA) 1970, the local authority must identify which provision is made under section 2 of the CSDPA, under which there is a duty to provide the services assessed by the local authority as being needed. The local authority must
specify that provision in the Education Health and Care Plan and it must secure that provision.

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Question: If parents make their own educational arrangements, does the Local Authority have a duty to provide for the child/young person?

Answer: No. The local authority is relieved of its duty to secure the special educational provision in the Education Health and Care Plan, including securing a place in a school or college named in the Plan, if the child’s parent or the young person has made suitable alternative arrangements for special educational provision to be made, in an independent school or college or at home.

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Question: Where the parents are home educating, is the local authority required to fund the provision at home?

Answer: Local authorities should fund the Special Educational Needs of home educated children where it is appropriate to do so. This will depend on the child’s individual circumstances and consideration as to why their needs cannot be met within school provision. The high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant is intended to fund provision for all relevant children and young people in the authority’s area, including home educated children.

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Question: Does the Education and Health Care Plan still have to be reviewed where the parents have made their own arrangements?

Answer: Yes. The local authority must review the plan annually to assure itself that the provision set out in it continues to be appropriate and that the child’s Special Educational Needs continue to be met. Where the local authority has decided that the provision is appropriate, it should amend the plan to name the type of school that would be suitable but state that parents have made their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

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