Memorandum of understanding for SEND

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provides a statement of intent between Kent County Council (KCC), Kent PACT and NHS Kent and Medway CCG, to work collaboratively together. This statement was approved between the parties on Tuesday 1 December 2020.

Purpose and statement

The MoU is between Kent PACT parent carer forum, and KCC and Kent and Medway CCG (The Local Area). It is not a contractual document and does not impose any legal obligation on any party. The MoU provides a statement of intent between all parties to work collaboratively together.

This agreement sets out how KCC, Kent and Medway CCG and Kent PACT will work together.

1. Common objectives

1.1. We commit to uphold the principles of the SEND Code of Practice and to work in equal partnership with the DfE funded local parent carer forum to improve local services for children and young people with SEND. All parties agree to work to the principles outlined and agreed in the co-production charter.

1.2. As part of the Children and Families Act 2014 the local area must ‘provide information about services for children and young adults with disabilities and measure how well services are meeting local need’. It also states that ‘views and comments on these should be used to inform future commissioning decisions’.

1.3. All parties agree to open respectful communication with one another and feeding back appropriate information and updates to all members of the partnership. All parties value the role that each party has to play in carrying out their statutory duties raising issues from parents and carers providing constructive feedback through open dialogue, and challenging partners when necessary.

1.4. It is anticipated that the parties shall endeavour to deliver their responsibilities through mutual consensus and common agreement that:

  • 1.4.1 The need for each party to continue to meet their existing organisational commitments
  • 1.4.2 That there will be competing priorities that shall be managed with existing resources

Expectations of each party

2.1 KCC and Kent and Medway CCG

2.1.1. KCC and CCG to provide Kent PACT with clear, comprehensive, jargon free, timely information to enable Kent PACT members to make informed decisions and choices.

2.1.2. Meeting papers for the SEND Improvement Board and the DFE monitoring meetings will be sent to all parties 5 working days in advance of the meeting whenever possible. To achieve this, all meeting papers by any party must be submitted to the meeting organiser at least 6 working days prior to the meeting taking place.

2.1.3. KCC and CCG to ensure the opinions of Kent PACT members, wider groups, families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are heard and listened to and taken into consideration when developing the SEND service and delivering improvements. Any representations to parents will be invited through and in consultation with Kent PACT. Where Kent PACT cannot make representation, KCC and CCG will, in consultation with Kent PACT work with other parent/ carer and Young people forums.

2.1.4. KCC and CCG will provide as much notice as possible for requests for parental input with clear objectives stated.

2.1.5. KCC will reimburse reasonable expenses of parents and carers attending strategic meetings at KCCs request where such expenses are not covered by the DFE funding in place. Expense requests must be made through the Family and Engagement Manager and will be approved by the Director of SEND.

2.1.6. KCC and CCG will ensure that all their plans for researching parents, carers, children, and young people’s views on services are communicated to with Kent PACT.

2.1.7. Where possible, meetings with parents and carers will be held between 10am and 2pm and in accessible venues during term time. There will be occasions where meetings held outside these guidelines need to take place. On such occasions, KCC and/ or CCG will liaise with KENT PACT to ensure representation is made and feedback is received. When possible, meetings will be virtual.

2.1.8. Where possible, KCC and CCG will avoid any parent consultation exercises through the school holiday period.

2.1.9. KCC and CCG will support Kent PACT in recruiting activities through its engagement and communication with the wider parent/ carer audience. This will be achieved through ensuring links on the local offer are in place as well as linking social media activities. KCC Family and Engagement Manager will support with Kent PACT in its planning to grow the membership.

2.2 Kent PACT

2.2.1 Kent PACT are to provide KCC and CCG with access to parent and Young People groups to enable working in co-production. Kent PACT will seek to gain representation across parents and carers through links with other charitable organisations.

2.2.2. Kent PACT are to ensure where possible, that representation at meetings have the delegation to endorse decisions on behalf of Kent PACT.

2.2.3. Kent PACT are to be actively involved in the co-production, planning, development and implementation of SEND services within the local area.

2.2.4. Kent PACT will seek funding from the DFE (parent participation grant) and other relevant sources to support all of its work.

2.2.5. Kent PACT will seek to represent the views of parents and carers of children and young people who live in Kent who have special educational needs and disabilities and will act as the main channel for the Local area to represent Kent Parents and Carers.

2.2.6. Kent PACT will continue to actively recruit members to reflect the geography and demographics of Kent.

2.2.7. Kent PACT will feed back to its members in an appropriate way and ensure that members are regularly updated on the work of the forum at regular intervals via newsletters, updates on the websites, mail-outs, parent information events and the annual general meeting.

2.2.8. Kent PACT will actively promote co-production and feedback activities that are being led by the partnership through social media, links to the local offer website and through the Kent PACT network with local charities.

2.2.9. Kent PACT will network on a regional and national basis within the parent carer forum movement feeding issues into the region and bringing issues, and good practice, back to Kent.

2.2.10. Kent PACT will, in agreement with KCC and CCG share information via the Kent PACT website and social media to ensure the widest reach across the county.

2.2.11. Kent PACT will develop a network of Parent Champions across the 4 local areas. These Parent Champions will be trained and supported in their linking role. Parent Champions are expected to represent the needs of the communities within those areas and build an area network to support parents and carers.

2.2.12. Kent PACT will support and champion KCC’s Family and Engagement Manager and participate in getting parents and carers views regarding the Kent Local Offer and other initiatives.

3. Strategic working groups

The local area will include Kent PACT on SEND Improvement Programme Governance and local area SEND forums to support the delivery of the Written Statement of Action (WSoA), including workstream meetings, SEND Improvement Board and the DfE quarterly monitoring meetings.  Where possible, these meetings will be held at parent friendly times to enable Kent PACT participation. If Kent PACT cannot attend, PACT can invite other parent representatives to attend in their absence and that parent will have delegated authority to make decision on PACT behalf.

4. Consultations

Where parent/ carer consultation is desired for service improvements, where possible this will be planned with at least 4 weeks’ notice to allow Kent PACT to liaise with parents as well as other local charities to support any review.  This is separate to any formal public consultation requirements that may be a requirement of the local area, where KCC and CCG will follow statutory consultation arrangements.

5. Regular dialogue

Kent PACT steering group members, paid staff, and/or other active parent and carer members, will meet with and talk to a variety of key KCC and CCG staff regularly, with a minimum commitment of one meeting per month. The intention of meeting is to support service improvement and ensuring that the voice of the parent and young person is considered by the service.

6. We will respect confidentiality

All parties will fully respect that the nature of information shared, especially about individuals or families, must be kept confidential and only used in the right settings as per KCC's SEND privacy notice.

All parties will respect the confidence of patients, clients and their carers relating to their condition, their family and their financial and other circumstances and not to disclose any such information to others who are not authorised to have it, either within or outside the CCG and will abide by the CCG’s Code of Conduct and Caldicott requirements in confidentiality at all times. View CCG's privacy notice.

7. We will carry out regular reviews

It is expected that there will be a continuous process of reflection and learning on the nature of the relationship. This will rest with the Steering Group of Kent PACT and the Head of SEND and should be reviewed at least on an annual basis or at the request of any party.

8. Length of MoU and termination

It is expected that this MoU remains in place for as long as Kent PACT is the recognised parent carer forum for Kent but may be amended upon reviews outlined above.

9. Amendments and dispute resolution

Any amendments to this MoU must be agreed by all parties with proposals put into writing for discussion. If matters cannot be resolved by mutual agreement and dialogue then the Contact Regional Advisor or Head of Parent Participation at Contact will be consulted.