The Statutory Duty
The Children and Families Act 2014 places a duty on every local authority to publish a SEND Local Offer, setting out in one place information about services and support available for children and young people in their area who have special educational needs and/or disabilities, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care plans. Local authorities and their partner bodies and agencies must co-operate with each other in its development and review.
The Local Offer has two key purposes:
- To provide clear, comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date information about the available provision and how to access it, and
- To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children, young people, parents, carers and service providers in its development and review.
Local authorities must publish comments about their Local Offer received from or on behalf of children with SEN or disabilities and their parents and young people with SEN or disabilities.
Comments must be published if they relate to:
- The content of the Local Offer, which includes the quality of existing provision and any gaps in the provision
- The accessibility of information in the Local Offer
- How the Local Offer has been developed or reviewed.
Local authorities are not expected to publish responses to every comment individually but can adopt a ‘you said, we did’ approach. Local Authorities are not required to publish abusive or vexatious comments or complaints about the service provided to an individual since there are established routes for such complaints.