A data dashboard to improve special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) outcomes for children and young people across Central Bedfordshire has been dubbed “quite revolutionary” and “groundbreaking“.
It will include digital information accessible to Central Bedfordshire Council’s SEND partners, including Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The local authority and the CCG are responding to a critical Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection which highlighted significant areas of weakness in the local practice.
A joint written statement of action was requested, which was submitted setting out the improvement action with local partners.
The SEND partnership data dashboard will help inform senior management about outcomes for children and young people, a meeting of CBC’s children’s services overview and scrutiny committee heard.
Director of children’s services Sue Harrison said: “We want to be as open and transparent as possible. We would want the data to be accessible and the broadest commentary.
“It’s quite revolutionary. I don’t know anywhere in the country that has got that.
“We haven’t got a model yet that meets the flexibility we’ve got to have to let everyone have an input.
“It will along with the joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) inform our commissioning and future planning.
“That’s why it’s got to be accurate and it’s not going to be hidden from sight.
“The process we’re following the data will be cleansed and accurate, and the right people will have the chance to comment from front line workers to parents and children, as well as senior officers.”
Parent governor representative Lorraine King asked when it would “be ready to monitor progress against that working statement of action?”
Performance improvement manager Andy Capjon replied: “The plan is for an initial version which will have the measures agreed and identified with real data in August/September time.
“The first full active version will be in December/January, around the end of this year.”
Conservative Heath and Reach councillor Mark Versallion described it as “a great piece of work“, saying: “We used to have the JSNA which was regarded as adequate until the Ofsted/CQC inspection.
“One of those findings was leaders across different partners lacking strategic information of need. This gives us that strategic information.
“It went on to say planning lacks meaningful targets. This will enable the council, the CCG and others to produce those precise targets. This is the enabler to what we’re trying to get to.”
Ms Harrison added: “It will be a more responsive service and that’s what parents have been frustrated about for a considerable time that we haven’t been responsive because we’re dealing with a system.
“It’s groundbreaking because it puts us in a position where we can stop being as reactive and start to be much more proactive.
“When we have our reinspection that will likely be at a point where can show the data dashboard and hear their feedback. We think we’ve got a special product.
“I’d be very worried going into an inspection if we haven’t got a data dashboard in place because we’re showing it’s not just lip service, that we’re doing things differently and enabling better outcomes for children.”
Conservative Biggleswade South councillor Mark Foster, who chairs the committee, recommended the most updated version of the data dashboard comes back for consideration and review, if possible in September.