Advanced search

Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Children and families bill: marketisation of SEN provision

(30 Posts)
inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 08:13:38

After the spot yesterday on SENDirect I thought this letter in the Weekend's Guardian was very interesting. I might contact the author.

The juxtaposition of David Mitchell's article and the story of Gloria Foster's death is important. Families need support to cope. Trained staff who understand the needs of a child (or adult: autism is a lifelong condition) do not and should not come cheap. Increasingly, families are given "personal budgets" that are inadequate to fund specialist care. The marketisation of care means that the poorest families who cannot "top up" these budgets will have the poorest provision. Care on the cheap carries with it huge risks, and the most vulnerable and those who love them are suffering.
Liza Dresner
Director, Resources for Autism, London NW11

I think, although DPs offer control which LAs don't want to give, this move to 'brokerages' suggests that control may not be left in our hands for very long. I wonder if we will just be told we can have services only if we go through brokerages? Will there be a list of acceptable providers? Will you ge on that list of you start saying a child needs more care than the LA want to offer?

Have these charities thought this through? This in particular worried me from the SENDirect site - one aim is to

"Provide support across sector’s to develop products to meet identified needs and therefore create a sustainable marketplace of provision."

Aim of reform: marketisation of SEN provision? We know how that ends up.

TOWIELA Sun 07-Jul-13 08:30:04

It ends up with lawyers, advocates and charities like IPSEA and SOS!SEN to once again be the only (expensive to the parent) way to make those holding the purse-strings fulfil their legal obligations.

Because of my current fight, I haven't really had a chance to read through all the new legislation. Who will be holding the purse-string? The LA?

Summerhasloaded Sun 07-Jul-13 11:57:44

I wonder if we will just be told we can have services only if we go through brokerages? Will there be a list of acceptable providers? Will you ge on that list of you start saying a child needs more care than the LA want to offer?

I have sat through pathfinder meetings where there was talk of drawing up lists of acceptable providers, so you might be right there [sceptical].

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 13:21:03

Summer - scary. Very scary. Need to tweet this around.

Towie - I imagine you get asked if you want DPs and this will be passed to the brokerage who sort you out so you don't have to bother your tiny little mind with all the nasty DP details.

Summerhasloaded Sun 07-Jul-13 13:34:26

I can see though that it would be sensible to somehow accredit providers, if only to protect families from unscrupulous/unreliable providers.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 13:39:24

Professional bodies already accredit providers not LAs!

ouryve Sun 07-Jul-13 13:47:16

Remember the warmfront scheme, where people on certain benefits could have more efficient central heating fitted for free? That ended up falling on certain approved suppliers. There was a maximum value to the grant - something like £3700. Magically, the quotes given to people for the work almost always came to £3700 (or whatever the precise figure was). The work was done with no frills, no boxing in, new pipes outside walls rather than buried etc - IOW as cheaply as possible. So thanks to this scheme, the approved suppliers and fitters were able to charge twice as much for a job as it was actually worth, and no one with any clout ever raised an eyebrow.

It's a different situation, but it's exactly how I see DPs ending up.

Summerhasloaded Sun 07-Jul-13 13:51:25

I agree about those with professional qualifications, but what about respite carers, for instance? I know a parent who is regularly let down by carers that turn up if they feel like it.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 13:58:40

I agree but that is not SEN provision.

I know LAs are sometimes pretending that this type of social care is part of the pilot but it isn't: it's covered by existing law.

The idea of a pool of acceptable providers for SEN will be like legal aid franchising and the race to the bottom which happened there.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Jul-13 13:58:43

I know of service providers that work directly with families privately for a fraction of what they charge the LA. LAs clearly aren't good at getting good value. We already know they are rubbish and effective provision.

Why brokerage. No DPs so far so how can anyone say brokers are needed.

Further, parents have been ripped off for years by unscrupulous providers who are employed by the LA.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 14:09:29


Summerhasloaded Sun 07-Jul-13 14:16:56

Social care will be part of the EHC plans.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 14:21:59

But you can already get direct payments for it.

Sorry, not having a go at all. My response was just to the need for accreditation by LAs.

In relation to SEN, this is not needed as SLTs, OTs, EPs have their professional bodies.

But as STar says, accreditation by LAs will not necessarily make people better providers. Probably just mean they are the most compliant and cheapest.

Summerhasloaded Sun 07-Jul-13 14:22:07

I'm thinking of a directory of recommended providers, perhaps as part of the local offer. Whilst many parents are more than capable of sourcing their own suppliers, there are just as many who are not, and would welcome someone having done the legwork. A bit like checkatrade smile

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 14:26:57

That would be good - as long as it has NOTHING to do with the LA!!

Summerhasloaded Sun 07-Jul-13 14:42:02

Agreed grin

tennis anyone watching? tennis

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Jul-13 15:37:22

I doubt they would be the cheapest either tbh. They would be chosen for their affiliation to the status quo and their willingness to accept direction from the LA. They'd probably be paid handsomely for this.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 15:39:42

Don't know Star - big contracts to do bollocks all for LA. Fast and dirty!

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Jul-13 15:42:07

I know that LAs already have preferred suppliers and to go outside of them for anything is pretty much impossible.

They will want a list of their friends preferred suppliers to be what parents spend the money on. These friends preferred suppliers will do block contract deals making them cheaper per child, though winning huge sums in contracts, and probably ineffective but let's not worry about that and they LA as contractors can determine the terms and conditions of their contract.

TOWIELA Sun 07-Jul-13 15:47:23

Why on earth will this be in the hands of local LAs! Whatever happens, even if the LAs decide to clean up their act unlikely and act legally unlikely, it will still be wide open to different LAs compiling to their duties differently. To use that awful term - it'll be a postcode lottery. Why aren't they taking it out of the hands of the LAs and make it central! Or, bring the LAs to book unlikely Now there;s a radical thought hmm

(Yes I'm watching the tennis - multitasking lol)

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Jul-13 15:49:51

It's all tennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennistennis

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 07-Jul-13 16:03:48

That is one hell of lot of tennis!

The House of Commons Select Cttee on Education recommended severing the link between LA assessment and funding back in 2005-6.

it's not even been considered by this lot. Reform is not innovation. It's just reform and this can only be for the purpose of cutting costs as why else do Tories do anything angry

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Jul-13 16:07:56

Sure, but I'd accept half the cost of my ds' education if I could spend it how I wanted.

I also am absolutely certain I would be able to and willing to demonstrate faster progress and measurable outcomes.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Jul-13 16:11:35

The key questions: Is brokerage going to be optional?

If so, will there be a difference in DP rates between those who option for brokerage and those who do not?

Are there going to be more than one broker and if so, how do you become one/can parents themselves set themselves up?

What funding are brokerage groups going to get and what is that for?

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Jul-13 16:12:16

Why can't the RCSLT be brokers? Why can't the NHS?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now