Contact awarded funding to improve parent and young people involvement in SEND services in England

4 mins read

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Tags: parent carer forums, Helpline

We are delighted to let you know that the Department for Education (DfE) has awarded Contact and partners National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), Council for Disabled Children and KIDS, a new contract to make sure parent carers, children and young people are involved in the delivery of SEND services and provision in England and have access to information advice and support.

The DfE funding means that over the next three years Contact will continue to work with 152 parent carer forums in England to make sure their voices are heard at a local, regional and national level. The new contract which starts this month, also enables us to continue our support offer to families with disabled children through our online information and national helpline.

The Council for Disabled Children will continue to support the Information, Advice and Support Network and will, alongside KIDS be supporting children and young people’s participation in local, regional and national policy and practice.

Gail Walshe, Contact’s director of participation says: “It’s great that The DfE continues to recognise the importance of having parent carers, children and young people at the heart of shaping disabled children’s services, the invaluable support of our online and helpline advice service and local SEND Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS).  

“Contact has acted as the delivery partner to the DfE to support parent carer forums since 2008. Our new contract enables us to build on this and to also reach even more parent carers with our high-quality impartial information and advice. We look forward to working jointly with our consortium partners to improve the links between parent carer and children and young people’s forums so that more children and young people have an active voice in decision-making in their local areas.”

Contact will lead the work carried out by the consortium in this new contract which aims to:

  • Empower children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) and their parents and carers to make informed choices about the services available to them and support them to influence SEND policy at local, regional and national level so that services and provision are designed and delivered in a way that works for them
  • Develop parent carer forum and children and young people’s participation at a local level and improve their strategic participation in regional and national SEND policy and delivery
  • Support the provision of high-quality information, advice and support for families whose children have SEND, including through a national helpline
  • Provide training, development and support to Local SENDIASS and
  • Administer grants to 152 parent carer forums across England.

Children and Families Minister Will Quince said:“Contact and their partners do fantastic work to make sure parent carers and young people are directly involved in how local SEND services work for them.

“This new government contract and grant funding, of over £17 million for three years, will support Contact’s work and make sure parents and young people’s voices continue to be heard at a local, regional and national level.

“Together we can make sure that all parents and carers, regardless of their child’s needs, have access to the advice and support they need to better succeed in life.”

How Contact supports parent carer forums

Contact helps to empower 152 parent carer forums and their membership of over 97,000 parent carers across England, to influence local, regional and national services and legislation. Find out more about our parent participation work and parent carer forums.

About our information and advice service

Our national information and advice service includes our website, social media channels, telephone helpline and live chat. Last year our helpline-online advice provided advice to 10,644 families, with invaluable information on a range of issues including financial support and getting help for a child in school. Find out more about our helpline and online advice service.