News for forums

News from the National Event 2018

Scriberia -illustration -of -the -Contact -and -NNPCF-National -Event -2018

On the 22 November, 200 attendees representing 87 parent carer forums from across England attended Contact's and the NNPCF's annual Parent Participation conference in Coventry.

At the event marking an incredible 10 years of Contact supporting parent carer forums, key note speaker, Children's Minister Nadhim Zahawi, addressed the conference, noting that the growth in parent Carer Forum membership in the last 10 years has been 'staggering'. To hear more about the difference parent carer forums have made in 10 years please see our video.

Over the last 10 years parent participation has grown from a seed of an idea in 2008 with only 465 parent carers known to be involved in planning local services in England, to the influential movement it is today of almost 95,000 parent carers. To find out more about the impact and growth of parent carer forums and how Contact support them please see our annual parent carer participation review.

We've been the Department for Education's delivery partner for these vital forums giving parent carers a much-needed voice - since 2008, helping to set up and run them, and distributing grants to them.

Through our work we help forums give parent carers across England a voice and the opportunity to work with local education, health and other bodies on services and policies that make a real difference to families' lives.

"Bringing parent carers together to learn from one another and share their experiences of strategic involvement is a vital part of what Contact and the NNPCF do. The collective noise and passion of so many parent carers in one place is very inspiring and everyone comes away with renewed energy for championing the changes they want to see for all families with disabled children."

To read more about the conference, please see a blog from one of the attendees.

Upcoming Webinars

See details of upcoming webinars on our Learning and events for forums page. Recordings of past webinars and relevant resources are available on our Resources page.

The Contact and NNPCF parent carer participation newsletter (England)

Contact and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) produce a joint parent carer participation newsletter.  Download the September edition or view in your web browser, or download the June edition or view in your web browser.

This newsletter contains key information about the development of parent carer participation, information about important changes across health services, special education and social care in England, news for local forums, the latest news from the NNPCF and opportunities for forums to participate. Sign up for the parent carer participation joint newsletter.

News on the contract to support parent carer and children and young people's participation

Contact and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) are delighted to announce that the Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that Contact, as part of a newly formed consortium with KIDS, the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and the NNPCF, is the preferred bidder for the contract to support the strategic participation of children, young people and parent carers and that they aim to sign a contract with us within a reasonable period. 

All four organisations are delighted that our consortium bid has been successful, and we are looking forward to working together over the next two years to build on our current individual support offers, learning from each other's experiences and developing new synergised approaches that further enhance both children and young people's and parent carer participation.

We are really pleased to be able to continue working with parent carer forums and are also excited to be joining forces with KIDS and CDC to share learning and expertise between parent carer participation and participation with children and young people.

We still have some details to iron out with the DfE, so for now we're not able to share all the details, and until a contract is signed, we can't publish the new application and monitoring forms, but we hope to be able to do so very soon.

Highlights video now available

Contact and the NNPCF are pleased to be able to share the highlights film from the 2017 Parent Carer Forum Conference and NNPCF AGM.

The film provides a snapshot of an uplifting and informative day with insights from parent carers attending the event, NNPCF members and speakers and sponsors of the event.  The conference itself offered the opportunity for forums to hear key updates from national SEND reform partners including the Department for Education, NHS England, Ofsted/CQC, an address from Mark Geraghty CEO of Seashell Trust, sponsors of the conference and a repeat of the popular Question Time panel of officials that forums valued.  Forums and reform partners were able to network with regional and national colleagues and share good practice, challenges and anecdotes.  And how could we forget Genuine Partnerships, Rotherham's novel contribution to the day!  

See the video highlights of the day

Further Resources from the day can be seen on the Resources from the 2017 National Event page.

Department for Education publishes latest forum SEND survey

The Department for Education (DfE) has published its latest newsletter, including the headline figures from the Autumn 2017 special educational needs and disability (SEND) implementation survey of local authorities and parent carer forums on the SEND reforms.

The surveys are coordinated jointly by Contact, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums, NHS England and the DfE. They help assess progress with the SEN reforms and help the government to identify what's working well and where additional resources are needed to meet the challenges involved in introducing the new system.

With less than a month to go until the implementation phase of the reforms is complete, there is still a very mixed picture of progress towards this deadline:

  • 111, or 73% of parent carer forums responded to the survey.
  • 69% of forums who completed the survey are now largely or fully engaged in strategic planning with their local authority.
  • 49% of forums are confident that their local authority is meeting the 20-week deadline for producing at least 90% of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.
  • 82% of local authorities completed the survey.
  • 20% said that children are fully or largely engaged in strategic planning of SEN services, 41% said that young people are fully or largely engaged, and 88% said that parents are fully or largely engaged.
  • 38% are issuing at least 90% of EHC plans within 20 weeks.

Resources on co-production

What this co-production video or watch the subtitled version, where forums, local authorities, health providers and commissioners share their experiences of working in co-production and how it helped them improve services.

Look on our resources page to find out how Leeds successfully worked in co-production to implement the SEND reforms.

Parent carer forum handbook - published Jan 2015

The parent carer forum handbook [PDF] has useful information to help people running parent carer forums.

For more information go to Setting up and running a forum page.

For further information on this, please contact