Every contact with a parent of a disabled child enables us to find out what people need and want for their families. Over time common themes become apparent. As a response to this, we put together a document which brings together some of the most widely shared concerns - and what needs to be done about them.
We call this document "Action for Change". It was first presented to local MPs and councillors on the eve of the General Election in 2015, and is updated yearly. It's by no means exhaustive but covers a range of different areas and issues. It's one of many ways in which we communicate your voice to decision makers.
GPV asks for a new level of commitment to parents and carers of children with special ￼educational needs and disabilities in Greenwich.
￼￼Nothing is more important to parents than the health and happiness of their children.
We want ￼￼our children to grow up to be contributing members of society and the economy.
We need ￼Councillors and MPs' help to ensure that families of children with special needs and disabilities can lead normal, fulfilled lives on their own terms.
Commitment from local councillors and MPs
- Councillors and MPs will always listen to and support parents going to them for help.
- ￼Councillors and MPs will make sure they are aware of the issues facing families with
￼disabled children and will speak up for them in Parliament, local government and in
￼the London Assembly.
- ￼Councillors and MPs will consult Greenwich Parent Voice on decisions affecting
￼families of children with SEND.
￼• A working group set up to create much better communication between services, and ensure effectiveness.
￼• Effective inclusion for all parents of children with special needs into RBG communication on SEND issues, regardless of whether they receive DLA or have an EHCP. This should include carers with learning difficulties, disabilities and language barriers.
￼• A detailed statistical needs assessment for disability 0-25 in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, freely available and updated regularly.
￼• Guarantees that no parent should have to have to chase replies to queries or requests for help. Efficient, modern systems in place to support this.
￼• More DSP (designated specialist provision) especially at secondary school level. Real choice for all parents and children with SEND, however complex, on which school to attend.
￼• New accreditation standards in Greenwich schools, such as Autism Education Trust, to set a basic level of training and understanding for all staff.
￼• A statement of guarantee to parents that children in Greenwich schools will get the provision they need, regardless of whether or not they have a Statement or Education, Health and Care Plan. Parents should never have to fight to get the support that their child needs.
￼• Finance readily available for children and young people, especially post 16, to study out of borough at a school that suits their needs.
￼• Published figures on attainment for children on school SEN registers and not just for those with EHCPs.
￼• Integrated, automatic support at diagnosis including access to information on clinical research, access to centres of excellence and family support groups.
￼• Designated key-workers for children 0-25 with needs across more than one service (e.g.; Education and Health).
￼• Well-publicised communication initiatives to all parents on how to be involved in policy-making in NHS.
￼• Inclusion into therapeutic clinics long-term without involuntary discharge, for children with long-term or lifelong conditions.
Social support and housing
￼• A new culture for social care payments (eg Direct Payments) and Personal Budgets. We want RBG to lead by empowering parents with crystal-clear guidance, inspiration, case examples of creative use, choice and control.
￼• Improvements to the Disability Living Allowance application process. A new model of assessing need for this.
￼• Mandatory standards of best practice for all agencies housing families of children with SEND. Accountability for failures in provision.
￼• Many more opportunities for supported living in the borough, especially for young people with complex needs leaving home.
￼￼• Proactive expansion of the market for services and support leading to real choice.
• Renewed focus on providing well-planned support and opportunities for young people at 16, 19 and 25: the key transition points.
• Initiatives to create opportunities in local businesses for young people with SEND (and learning difficulties) that are real and long term, not just for 6 month apprenticeships.
￼• Commitment to ensuring that every disabled young person in the borough can have a choice of rewarding jobs that suit their individual abilities.
￼• New initiatives to switch a wide range of employers across Greenwich on to the benefits of employing young people with disabilities and learning difficulties.
Greenwich Parent Voice Disability Trust Mark
We would like to work with the Royal Borough of Greenwich on a new idea: a Disability Trust Mark to be adopted by businesses, leisure providers, shops, restaurants, bars, schools and other services in Greenwich.
This mark would signify a set of promises that the holder has made, for example:
• a guarantee that people with disabilities are welcome as customers, service users and employees
• a pledge that all reasonable adaptations have been made for accessibility
• a promise that employees will always receive equality and inclusion training.
We want Councillors and MPs to help GPV develop this idea into something of huge benefit to disabled people of all ages and their carers in Greenwich. We’d like to pioneer a model which can be adopted nation-wide.
Glossary of acronyms
RBG: Royal Borough of Greenwich
SEND: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
EHCP: Education Health and Care Plan
DLA: Disability Living Allowance
Where the term parents or carers are mentioned it is understood that this also includes grandparents, foster carers and legal guardians.