HCAN and RS Policy Committee Updates September 2016

The Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee and the Resources & Sustainability Policy Committee held a joint meeting on 17th June. Representatives from DfE attended the committee to discuss the SEND reforms, particularly focusing on children and young people over the age of 19. Members of the committee were keen to explore the challenges they face in terms of implementing the reforms and called for more join up at the national level between Department for Education, Department of Health and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to further support collaboration at a local level.

The committees were also joined by representatives from the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) to discuss children and young people with complex needs. Following the Winterbourne View scandal, ADCS has been working with CDC, NHS England, DfE, and DoH to understand better the cohort of children and young people who are in assessment and treatment units (ATUs) or 52 week residential school placements who have autism and/ or a learning disability. NHS England is continuing work to ensure all cases have appropriate tri-partite reviews across health, education and social care.

Representatives from Link Maker also joined the committee to provide an update on the expansion of the resource. Link Maker was initially established to create an online platform providing details of a national pool of adoptive parents which could then be used by LAs during the matching process. From August 2016, Link Maker will provide information on the availability of all care settings subscribed to the service.

Both committees continued to be active over the summer period. The HCAN committee led two workshops at the ADCS annual conference focusing on regional adoption agencies and SEND. Since the last meeting of HACN, Martin Narey’s review of residential care and the government’s care leaver strategy have both been published, followed by an announcement of DfE’s intention to carry out a fostering stocktake. The committee will want to influence this agenda and DfE officials have been invited to the next committee meeting on 22nd September to outline their current thinking.

The R&S committee developed the opening plenary session of the ADCS annual conference, with the chair of the committee and committee member Richard Selwyn exploring ideas around next practice in children’s services. The committee also held a well-attended workshop focusing on social impact bonds. The committee next meets on 14th October and will be focusing on innovative approaches to commissioning, IFAs, costs of accommodating UASC and the financial case for early help and prevention.

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