Portsmouth families will get a greater say under new assessments

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A REVOLUTION in the way people with special needs are treated has been discussed in Portsmouth.

The Children and Families Bill is making its way through parliament and when the new legislation comes into place in September it will mean significant changes to the system.

The reforms aim to make sure children and families with special needs or disabilities are central to the way a child’s needs are assessed and the support it receives.

It covers children and young people aged up to 25.

Dr Julia Katherine, child support commissioning manager at Portsmouth City Council, said yesterday: ‘It’s going to mean big changes for anybody with special needs and disabilities from birth up to the age of 25.

‘At the moment, families have to go through lots of different assessments.

‘From September every family will have one single point of contact.

‘It’s a much more personal approach.

‘We as professionals will have to work together with education and health professionals, working together in a much more co-ordinated way.

‘We believe it’s going to change the experience of families who are 
going through a traumatic process.

‘They have to come to terms with their son or daughter having complex disabilities or special needs.

‘The last thing they want to deal with is lots of different professionals asking questions.’

Andre Imich is SEN and disability professional adviser at the Department for Education.

He said: ‘As a result families will have a much greater say in the provision and resources that they get. Their voices will be listened to more.

‘We have been trialling with a number of families across the country over the last two years. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.’

The reforms will see joint services across education, health and social care.

If you are an agency or organisation and would like to find out more, contact Jane James on (023) 9284 1166 or email jane.james@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

If you are a parent and would like to know 
more about the reforms, contact Mary Ive, parent engagement officer, on (07825) 185608.