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Dorset's SEND participation and co-production policy 2018 to 2021

This policy has been co-produced with young people and parent carers.

Participation

Participation means involving children and young people and their parents and carers in the decisions that affect them and their lives. 

Every child and young person with SEND, along with their family, has the right to be involved in decisions about them and to have the help they need to make decisions.

The law tells us we must listen to the views, wishes and feelings of a child, their parents or a young person.

Co-production

Co-production is based on the principle that those who use a service are best-placed to help design it. 

The term 'co-production' is a way of working where people who use services (in this case children and young people with SEND in Dorset), their families, carers and service providers work together to make a decision or create a service that works for them all. 

Our vision

In our Dorset local area we aspire to genuine co-production. We want the children with SEND in our area, and their parents and carers to be fully involved in creating and monitoring the services we provide. We will work together with them from the start to the end of any project that affects them. 

How we will make our vision a reality

We will make our vision a reality by:

  • providing good quality, simple information that everyone can use so that children and young people with SEND and their families are able to make decisions
  • supporting children, young people and their families to communicate their views in the way they want to, and to be involved in decisions about the way they want to do this
  • making sure there's good information about the participation available and useful tools in place to support participation, our Participation Toolkit
  • creating opportunities and supportive spaces for people to share their views; we will support and encourage children and young people to practise and develop decision-making skills at home, in school and in the community
  • involving children, young people and their families in planning, designing and reviewing services so that services are designed with those who will use them
  • making sure we share information between services to inform good practice
  • providing feedback so that people can see what happens as a result of their participation; our feedback will be timely
  • celebrating and sharing success

Our agreement

We agree that:

  • before any project or piece of work goes ahead, we will agree how we will involve children, young people and their parents or carers in that work
  • all services and teams working with children, young people and young adults with SEND will complete an annual participation audit. This audit will include details of how the service or team plans to make sure they improve their participation or co-production
  • we will develop accessible online guidance and a toolkit available to all stakeholders to support effective participation and co-production
  • we will invest in training for staff, children and young people and their parents or carers to develop their skills around individual and strategic participation and co-production
  • we will invest in training in person-centred approaches to support effective individual participation
  • we will make sure that information about services for children, young people and young adults with SEND is available in accessible formats
  • we will create and support a SEND young people and young adults' forum to help them be more involved in strategic decision-making 
  • we will work with the DPCC and other parent carer groups to make sure parents and carers participate in strategic decision-making. This includes participating in recruitment to key posts working with SEND, and in creating a parents' panel
  • we will make sure we involve young people with SEND in recruiting for specialist posts working with children and young people with SEND
  • we will work with young people with SEND to create guidance and a toolkit to help involve young people with SEND in recruitment
  • we will make sure we recognise and reward children, young people and parents and carers for their contribution

How we'll know it's working

Children, young people and their families feel that they are listened to and that their views are routinely sought and valued. They feel happy and supported to speak up and expect to be involved. 

Services are designed with the families who use them, leading to better outcomes for everyone. 

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