In January 2014, local charity Sheffield Information Link, which used to provide Sheffield’s family information service and its disability arm SIGN, closed after 26 years.
The disability information service (no longer called SIGN) is now being provided by the Sheffield Parent Partnership Service. Parent Partnership already runs the “Parents as Carers” service, which was set up in 2012 to plug the gap that was left when the Sheffield Carers Centre stopped being funded to support parent carers – particularly around health and social care services, and disability grants and benefits.
By integrating these additional functions, Parent Partnership can now provide information, advice and support on a wide range of topics, covering education, health and social care, and access to disability benefits and funding.
The SIGN telephone number remains operational, but has been diverted to the council’s central Family Information Service (0114 273 4567). This service will deal with all initial disability-related enquiries; parents who require support and guidance can ask to be transferred to the Parent Partnership Service. Parent Partnership now employs two former SIGN workers, alongside existing staff experienced in special educational needs and disability.
The AskSid family information directory and most of the SIGN resources have been rebranded and incorporated into the Council website. This is likely to be a temporary solution, as most of this information should be incorporated into the new “local offer” website due to be launched in September.
By expanding the remit of the Parent Partnership Service in this way, the council is anticipating what is likely to become a statutory requirement when the SEN reforms are implemented in September: a new duty on local authorities to provide an impartial information, advice and support service for parent carers which covers education, health and social care across the whole 0-25 age range.
What’s changed at Parent Partnership?
Extended remit: Parent Partnership no longer covers just education. They can now also help you to access health and social care services, benefits and funding, information about specific disabilities, and local leisure activities.
New telephone number: 0114 273 6009
New address: Parent Partnership Service, Floor 4, Redvers House, Sheffield S1 2JQ
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com