Welcome to the 2023-2024 annual report for Birmingham’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Local Offer website.

Contents

Introduction 

Birmingham’s SEND Local Offer website provides information, support and services for children and young people from 0-25 years, all in one place.

It has sections on: Education, Early Years and Childcare; Social Care, Health and Wellness, Travel and Transport, Information and Support, Advice and Resources, Money Matters, Places to go, Things to do, Preparing for Adulthood, Policy and Forms Library, and more.

Parents, carers children, young people and practitioners have been involved in co-producing a revised site which offers better navigation, better explanation of processes, more accessible information and clearer language. 

We have continued to improve the content, style and structure of the SEND Local Offer website whilst having a focus on Accessibility, Compliance and Relevance this year.

We have built on the co-production models developed in 2022/23 and have been working with all stakeholders to ensure we have a Local Offer that is suitable for all audiences. This year we have captured comprehensive feedback about the navigation of the site and the language used within the content which has led to the site now being more family friendly with less corporate language used. In Summer 2024 we will be relaunching the improved website and will continue to build on the improvements made in 2022/23.

What the Law Says

All local authorities must publish a SEND Local Offer, setting out in one place information about services and support available for children and young people in their area who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Local authorities and their partner bodies and agencies must co-operate with each other in its development and review.

The Local Offer has two key purposes:

  • To provide clear, comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date information about the available provision and how to access it,
  • To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children, young people, parents, carers and service providers in its development and review

Governance

The SEND Local Offer is managed and maintained by the SEND relationship team with a dedicated SEND Local Offer coordinator being put in place to oversee the day-to-day activity of the website as well as launch new content.

The SEND relationship team work closely with the co-production officer and all localised service area leads to ensure the Local Offer continues to meet the following criteria:

  • To ensure the SEND Local Offer meets its statutory responsibilities as outlined in the Children and Families Act 2014 and SEND Code of Practice 2015.
  • To involve children and young people and parents and carers in the development and review of the SEND Local Offer.
  • To ensure the site is accessible.
  • To promote the site and ensure all stakeholders are aware of their role and duties.
  • To keep the content under review, ensuring that the SEND Local Offer is:
    • developed and continuously improved
    • reflects services in the local area
    • accurate and up to date
    • easy to understand
    • easy to use
    • meets the requirements of children and young people and parents and carers.

Website analytics

Significant changes to the analytics model on the local offer, linked to changes with Google Analytics have meant that a portion of the last years data set has not been captured. This error has now been rectified and a full years data set will be available in 2024/25.

There is still work to do to promote the Local Offer website further with new parents, carers and young people, and to ensure that it remains a valid source of information for those already aware of it.

There is a steady increase in the number of users visiting the website and further progress will be monitored and tracked to ensure this continues to rise.

A communications plan is underway alongside the plans to relaunch the recent changes to content which we hope will support a further increase in awareness of the Local Offer website for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025.

How many people visited the site?

Between 1st November 2022 and 31st March 2023 there were 132,961 page views with unique users at 27,113.

Between 1st November 2023 and 31st March 2024 there were 155,193 page views with unique users at 35,014 – This is an increase in 22,232 page views and 7,901 unique users.

Page views per month are as follows:

November 34,626
December 24,467
January 33,041
February 34,614
March 28,445

The average views per user this year is 4.43 and the engagement rate is 56.89%. The increase in page views and users shows that the usage of the Local Offer is increasing and with the improvements made to accessibility this year we hope to increase the use further in 2024/25.

What did the users look at?

Further analysis of the information on the Local Offer has allowed us to view each pages’ accessibility score alongside the number of users. We are using Page Speed Insights to determine the accessibility where 90+ out of 100 is considered a GREAT score. We have completed analysis on the most viewed pages on the Local Offer this year and the results are as follows:

Number of Views Accessibility Score
Education, Health, and Care Plans 6,413 91/100
How to apply for an EHCP 5,689 85/100
SENAR 4,397 91/100
Specialist Provison 3,709 92/100
Professionals Documents 2,754 85/100
SEND Support and Information 2,630 88/100
SENDIASS 2,037 91/100
Types of early years settings 1,920 92/100
Education 1,702 95/100
Specialist SEND Support Services 1,579 91/100
Number of Views Accessibility Score
Education, Health, and Care Plans 6,413 91/100
How to apply for an EHCP 5,689 85/100
SENAR 4,397 91/100
Specialist Provison 3,709 92/100
Professionals Documents 2,754 85/100
SEND Support and Information 2,630 88/100
SENDIASS 2,037 91/100
Types of early years settings 1,920 92/100
Education 1,702 95/100
Specialist SEND Support Services 1,579 91/100

There is further work ongoing to increase the scores on those showing under the 90 score.

How did users access the website

Users are evenly split between using a desktop and a mobile phone to access the website. Work this last year has focused on ensuring that the information is presented in an accessible format on mobile phones; more than previously available. This is evident in the figures.

Desktop 49.4%
Mobile 49.7%
Tablet 0.9%

Achievements in the past 12 months

All content within the website has been reviewed to determine its accessibility, relevance and compliance with the legal requirements set in the SEND code of practice.

We have worked alongside our website developer to reconfigure our navigation, improve the look of the website and to take on board feedback received through co-production. Local authority officers, partners and practitioners have reworked their own content in order to produce accurate, up to date and relevant information. The apprentice appointed in 2023 has been using their skills to monitor and update information for accessibility and making technical changes to the website so we can present information better for users.

We have developed a style guide for the Local Offer that has ensured that accessibility is a high priority when looking at the way the information is presented and that all pages have a similar style and flow which helps users navigate from section to section. This has involved removing a lot of adhoc documents and embedding the information into text panes so it can be captured by the translation tool.

Accessibility has been reviewed on the content to ensure that the information contained within the local offer website is as accessible as possible to all users. When adding new information to the site we have used the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to support accessible readability of the information on the website. We also use ALT text that ensures that visual elements that may be inaccessible to those with visual impairment come with a visual description of what that element is and does.

In February 2024 we passed the central governments Website Accessibility Monitoring inspection. Birmingham Local Offer has been one of the first sites tested and we have been delighted that we passed this first time.

In October of 2023 a full review of all the content on the co-production pages has been conducted. The new style page and content has been reviewed with the co-production working group which includes representatives from the Birmingham Parent and Carers Forum, Youth Empowerment Squad, Health, Education, and the Voluntary Sector (MENCAP, Resources for Autism and Barnardo’s).

The review of the co-production page has provided all service areas and partners with an understanding of their requirements for the updating of their content, and this is now complete for the following services/pages:

  • Send support and information
  • Health
  • Social care
  • Education
  • Theories
  • Travel Service
  • EHCP’s – including a comprehensive update to how we present the information on the SENAR service.
  • Preparing for Adulthood/Transitions
  • Money matters
  • Things to do

We are now using the Latest News section to promote key updates from the SEND and Inclusion service, and partners. An example of this being the recent Short breaks survey. This is then complemented by use of the SEND Partnership Facebook page and helps promote the Local Offer and keep the content LIVE.

We continue to work with our SEND Specialist support services to develop their content and create a more developed professionals’ area of the website so that we can provide them with targeted documentation and updates to policy to support the SEND and Inclusion strategy.

Our ‘You said, We did’ area has had an overhaul and we have added feedback from different sources to the information presented rather than just using the feedback from the website form. We are able to show real live improvements for those parents, carers and young people that have provided us feedback through our co-production workshops.

Website Promotion

We continue to promote the SEND Local Offer to parents and carers through schools, using social media, adding an image promoting the website to email signatures, and at parent and carer engagement events and in parent webinars.  We have encouraged staff to get to know the site and pass the link on to parents. The site is also promoted through newsletters and updates and forms part of the new starter inductions.

In addition, a print and digital campaign has been underway since January 2023 in order to promote the refreshed site. 

The SEND partnership Facebook page is used to support promotion of the website with targeted updates.

The SEND Local Offer website includes a page where marketing and promotional materials can be downloaded and used to promote the site: Promotional Materials – Local Offer Birmingham

Next Steps

We are constantly improving and updating the site, we are constantly seeking feedback and promoting the site as effectively as possible, and we are continuing to upload videos in order to make the site more dynamic.

We are continuing to engage with Children and Young People to improve their experience of the site and to ensure their voice is present on the website and are working with some of our Special Schools to develop new videos and resources for young people.

We are merging the A2E and SEND Local Offer websites in order to offer a streamlined resource for professionals, as well as driving traffic to the SEND Local Offer website.

If you would like to give us your feedback please complete our feedback form: Feedback Form – Local Offer Birmingham.