Celebrating everything parent carer forums do this National Co-production Week

Sunday 4 July 2021

Tags: parent carer forums, parent participation, coproduction

Co-production happens when families work with their local authorities, education settings and health providers to make sure services designed and delivered for their children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are what families want and need.

Although the word ‘co-production’ might be an unfamiliar term, it’s what 151 parent carer forums (PCFs) across England do daily to improve services and ensure better outcomes for families in their area.

To celebrate National Co-production Week, we’re shining a spotlight on parent carer forums and their successes co-producing services for families in this in this way. Forums like Parent Carers Cornwall, who set out to reduce the confusion and anxiety experienced by families when their child approached 16 and began the move from child to adult support services.

Parents in the area told the PCF they were often left in the dark about what happens to services for their child as they reach this significant milestone. Practitioners also reported that they were sometimes unclear about which service providers were responsible at each stage when a young person with SEND in their area turned 16.

To change this, Parent Carers Cornwall worked with families, young people with SEND and education, health, and social care practitioners. Together they co-produced clear, easy to understand guidance for families about what should happen and when, and developed defined protocols and procedures for practitioners to follow, setting out exactly who was responsible for which services.

As a result, families and practitioners in Cornwall now know what support their family should be offered, who should be providing it, and when they should expect to be able to access it for their young person with SEND when they move from child to adult services. And because similar confusion was experienced by families at other key stages of transition for their child, for example between nursery and primary school and from primary to secondary school, the forum continued this work to develop clear-cut guidance and protocols setting out what families should expect to happen at these stages too.

Take a look at some more examples of parent carer forums’ co-production successes here.

Want to find our more about parent carer forums and what they do?

Find your local parent carer forum.

Watch our video What is a Parent Carer and What do they do? to find out more about Parent Carer Forums, parent carer participation and how parents across England are helping to improve local and national services for children and young people with SEND.

Watch Making a difference, why Should I join my local Parent Carer Forum? to hear Parent Carer Forum members talking about why they got involved, and the difference they make to children and young people with SEND and their families.

Find out more about parent carer participation and Parent Carer Forums.

Contact is the delivery partner of the Department for Education supporting the development of parent carer participation in England.