That may sound like we’re somehow involved with supermarket discounts, but it’s actually something very different. The Local Offer is a website with information about support and services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aged 0-25 years.
Since 2014, every local authority is legally required to have such a site. The less-than-catchy title was chosen by the government, so unfortunately we’re stuck with it.
In Sheffield, the Local Offer website is part of the Sheffield Directory, which also has a section for adults, and one for children and families.
Having one central “go-to” website for SEND information is a great idea, but the reality has been rather different. Improvements are needed to ensure that the right information is available, and that parents can find it easily.
That’s where we come in! We are a delighted that the local authority has recently given us a 15-month commission to develop, update and improve the Local Offer. (As far as we know, we are the only parent carer forum in the country to receive such a commission. Hats off to the senior officers who fought very hard to make it happen.)
A key person for this project is Cathy Wilson, our new Local Offer worker. Cathy joined our small staff team at the end of June. She says: “The Sheffield Parent Carer Forum has been a great source of support for me and my two children and I’m thrilled to be able to work here! I’m really excited about this opportunity to improve the information available to all of us who care for children with additional needs.”
Cathy is working her way through the website bit by bit. She is concentrating on the Education section at the moment, and this is where you should start to see improvements first.
- Give us feedback about the Local Offer by filling in a short survey.
- Let Cathy know about useful information that should be included on the site – for example, a disability sports club, a helpful booklet or just a useful tip . You can contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by ringing our office on 0300 321 4721.