Saturday, 25 January 2014

Who are independent supporters?

On 7 January 2014, the Department for Education announced that: 

"More than 1,800 champions will be on hand from this September to help parents navigate the new special educational needs process following a £30 million funding boost".
In his press release, the Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, suggested that part of an Independent Supporter's brief would be to help "challenge" local authority decision-making on behalf of families.

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) has been appointed by the Department to develop the detail. They say they will:
"run an initial ‘trial’ phase over the next few months looking at different delivery methods and develop appropriate training. This will be achieved through a robust and transparent procurement exercise inviting bids from private, voluntary and community sector organisations to develop the services. CDC will assess the bids, ensure best value and commission the work".
The CDC has issued a briefing which sets out some of the detail around the proposal. The briefing also claims that:
"Independent Supporters will help to build resilience in families"
 And that:
"At its heart, Independent Support is intended to build family resilience and not encourage dependency."
Our response

We are concerned at the language used in this briefing, the apparent lack of engagement with parents on this issue and the absence of detail, so we have written a letter to the Minister asking for more information.

Read our letter here.

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