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The SEND Code of Practice (2015) makes it clear that the local authority, education settings, social care and clinical commissioning groups must engage with and listen to children and young people and their parents and carers.  This is so that when planning, designing and organising services, their experiences, views and expectations are fully taken into account.

We believe that co-production is the best, fairest and most effective way to achieve this. Children, young people and families must be placed at the centre of shaping the way services are planned and delivered in Bedfordshire.

What is co-production? 

Co-production is where everyone works together on an equal basis to create a service or come to a decision that works for them all.

Why is co-production a good way of working?

  • Communication between those who organise and supply services and the children, young people and families who use them is improved, enabling them to decide together on the best use of resources
  • Children, young people and families are able to ensure that service organisers and providers understand their needs and what is working well or can be improved
  • There is a shared desire to improve services and to ensure that they are as good as they can be
  • Everyone has a part to play and feels valued and listened to in the areas in which they have experience and skill
  • By working together we can call on a greater pool of knowledge and ideas, and have the opportunity to work creatively on new ways of doing things
  • Service organisers, providers, users and their families can all feel they have been able to improve services

What needs to be in place for co-production to happen?

  • Children, young people and families who use services are able to be involved in every aspect of service planning, design and delivery at every level
  • Appropriate and adequate resources are available to support co-production (time, expenses, easy-read documents and access needs)
  • There is an acknowledgement and agreement that everyone has an equal and important contribution to make
  • Service organisers and providers take time to listen to, acknowledge and respect what children, young people and families say about services and reflect and act on what is heard
  • Creative and solution-focused thinking and the exploration of new approaches are encouraged to reimagine the services children, young people and families need
  • An ethos of sharing and collaboration is supported in the belief that by combining ideas and resources we can do more

What does this mean in practice?

  • Children and young people with SEND and their families work in partnership with those supporting them
  • Person-centred reviews (PCRs) are commonplace and considered best practice for ensuring that the views, wishes, feelings and aspirations of children and young people are at the centre of decisions about how to meet their needs
  • When planning provision and support for children and young people with SEND and their families, their views, wishes, feelings and aspirations are taken into account
  • Children and young people with SEND and their families give their views, wishes and aspirations throughout the EHC needs assessment and plan development process
  • Bedford Borough Parent Carers Forum (BBPCF) and Special Needs Advisory Panel – Parent Carers (SNAP), as the Parent Carer Forums for Bedfordshire, are involved in all discussions about the Bedfordshire SEND strategies and new and existing service design and development across education, health and social care
  • Education settings consult with children, young people and families about their SEN information report and what services they commission as part of their local offer


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