DEVON County Council (DCC) is making changes to its SEND Statutory Team, with hopes of improving the timeliness of the Education Health and Care Needs Assessments (EHCNA)

DCC heard from parents and professionals about their experiences of contacting the SEND Statutory Team and reviewed its processes to identify things that the council could improve.

The phone lines are currently open for four hours each weekday and it can take a long time for calls to be answered, messages to be given to the right people, or to receive a response.

One of the challenges identified by DCC is the time the SEND Statutory Team spend answering the dedicated phone lines.

This is time that staff could otherwise use to focus on their casework and progress EHCNA’s and plans once they are issued Education, Health and Needs Assessments and Education Health and Care Plan drafting.

So, from Wednesday, April 17, calls that currently go to the team will be re-directed to the council’s customer service centre, who will be able to assist with information and pass messages quickly to the right people in the SEND Statutory Team.

This will help the council’s SEND Statutory Team to focus more of their time on the SEND Statutory Assessments.

A typical assessment will: establish and record the views interests and aspirations of the parents, child, or young person; provide a full description of the child or young person’s special educational needs and any health and social care needs; agree outcomes across education, health and social care based on the child or young person’s views and aspirations and, lastly, specify the provision required and how education, health and care services will work together to meet needs and support the achievement of agreed outcomes.

There will be no change to phone line numbers.

The service to families and professionals will continue uninterrupted, but with the extra flexibility of extended opening hours which will now be from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

The Customer Service Team will be using a new system that will bring all communication together in one place.

DCC will be monitoring how this approach, to make sure it’s having a positive impact.