Cllr Karen McCarthy, cabinet member for children, young people and families:
The city council remains committed to SENDIASS. We want to see great service provision for parents, carers and families.
An independent review has shown that the service needs to improve. It is not sustainable for it to continue in its current form; it needs to change to better support families.
The National Children’s Bureau, which conducted the review, provides support to SENDIASS across the country. It is a leader in this area and it is right that we act on their recommendations.
Improvements need to be made at pace but must also be long-lasting. It is felt that external provision would offer the best way to do this. This is the option that the city council’s cabinet is being asked to approve when they meet on 14 February. Link to the papers here.
If the recommended way forward is approved it will take time for this to happen. Support for families will continue while we drive through improvements.
When conducting the tender the council will ensure that bidders from the not-for-profit and Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector are provided with an equal opportunity to compete and will face no unnecessary barriers as part of the process.
It is important to reiterate to families that this is not about stopping the family support work. This is about providing a far better and compliant service.
SENDIASS is, and will remain, an important part of the SEND system in Birmingham.