Bury's SEND re-visit - June 2019

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

A statement from BURY2GETHER regarding Bury’s SEND re-visit.

BURY2GETHER is Bury’s forum for Parents/Carers, who have children and young people with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).

Today the Ofsted and CQC SEND re-visit letter has been published.

Please find this via the link below:

The main finding from the letter was as follows:

“Inspectors are of the opinion that local area leaders have not made sufficient progress to improve each of the serious weaknesses identified at the initial inspection.”

Bury has had a duty since 2014, to implement the requirements listed in the SEND Code of Practice.

In 2017 an Ofsted and CQC inspection summarised that Bury had 8 significant areas of weakness. These can be viewed via this link:

Todays Ofsted and CQC letter, summarises the findings of a re-visit, that focused on the progression of the 8 significant areas of weakness previously identified.

Unfortunately, Bury has failed to make significant progress to improve, on three of the previously identified areas of weakness. The failed areas are listed below:

1) Defective joint commissioning arrangements.

2) Poor sharing of information from health, between different services and agencies.

3) Unawareness from Health practitioners of children’s education, health and care (EHC) plans.

To summarise, 5 years after the SEND reforms were introduced, Bury has failed to make significant progress with its requirements, thus concluding that Bury is still failing its children, young people and Parent/Carers.

The inspection has highlighted how BURY2GETHER’s forum has grown in the last 2 years since it was founded, at the same time as the initial Ofsted and CQC inspection. BURY2GETHER’s Steering Group would like to thank the inspectors for their fair account of the current circumstances in Bury. And thank them for their comments about our dedicated members and hardworking volunteers, such as below:

“At the time of the last inspection, there was no understanding of co-production. In addition, there was no functioning parent and carer forum in place. Leaders had made no effort to engage and involve parents. In a short period of time, Bury2Gether has been established and now has more than 700 followers. While not representing the views of all parents, they are a force for good in ensuring that the voice of parents and their children is heard.”

It is overwhelmingly apparent on social media, that Parent/Carers are very disappointed with the press release, issued by Bury Council and CCG to the Bury Times. Parent/Carers feel that Bury Council and CCG are not acknowledging their inadequate progress and are failing to recognise the seriousness of their failings and the impact this is having on families.

Parent/Carers want an acknowledgement of responsibility from Bury Council and CCG that they haven’t done enough. They want an explanation of how they are going to put things right, a promise to listen and act on Parent/Carer views going forward, and they want an apology.

A significant number of Parent/Carers gave their views to the inspectors. Approximately 300 Bury Parent/Carers completed the Ofsted and CQC survey and 60 Parent/Carers attended a Town Hall meeting with the inspectors, to give their views. These high numbers reflect the strength of feeling in Bury, towards the services Parent/Carers receive for their children and young people.

During the re-visit, BURY2GETHER assisted inspectors by supplying evidence on behalf of Parent/Carers, of how Education, Social Care services and Health services engage with parents, to shape services in Bury. We thank the inspectors for listening intensively and respectfully, to the views of our Steering Group and Parent/Carers from across Bury.

It was harrowing listening to the experiences of the 60 Parent/Carers who attended the inspectors Town Hall meeting, who expressed the detrimental effects, defective services were having on their vulnerable children and young people.

Many tears were shed that night.

The inspectors also stated the following in the letter:

“It would be naïve for leaders to think that they have the full confidence and trust of parents. While parents – and children and young people – told inspectors that leaders now listen, they do not always trust them to act.”

Going forward, co-production needs to be embedded and Parent/Carers need to be involved from the very start of any new service re-design. Co-production is the forum’s single most focus, and the reason why our volunteers give up their time to sit at board level, advocating on behalf of Bury Parent/Carers. Reflecting on the comments in the letter, we need Bury to now act on the needs of our vulnerable children and young people.

The conclusion in the letter is as follows:

“As leaders of the local area have not made sufficient progress against all the weaknesses identified in the written statement, it is for the DfE and NHS England to decide the next steps. This may include the Secretary of State using his powers of intervention.”

We await the release of further information next week.

BURY2GETHER will continue to advocate for our Parent/Carers.

Thank you for the support we have received over the last 2 years from our Parent/Carers.

Your opinion continues to matter, and we will continue to amplify your voice.

We are not a forum without your views.

Please continue to email us with your stories and please continue to tell us your views at our events.

From one parent to another, thank you for your support.


The BURY2GETHER Steering Group

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