What is the Local Offer?
Local authorities must publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have Special Educational Needs or are disabled (SEND), including those who do not have Education, Health and Care plans.
The Purpose of the Local Offer
The Portsmouth Local Offer details the special education provision and training provision that Portsmouth City Council expects to be available in Portsmouth for children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and or a disability.
It also includes special educational provision and training provision that the local authority expects to be available outside of Portsmouth for children and young people aged 0-25 with special education and or a disability. The term ‘expects to be available’ is determined by the provision that Portsmouth City Council commissions directly or through its partnership arrangements.
In addition the Local Offer also includes universal provision such as leisure services that may cater for children, young people and their families with SEND where there may be a charge. It also provides information and advice that parents and young people have requested through feedback.
The second function of the Local Offer is to make sure services and support responds to local needs and aspirations. In Portsmouth City we do this by directly involving children and young people with SEND, their parents, and the professionals who work with them, in the development and review of the SEND Local Offer.
What the Code of Practice says:
Local Authorities must publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, heath and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. In setting out what they ‘expect to be available’, Local Authorities should include provision which they believe will actually be available.
(COP, Chapter 4, Section 4.1)
How we have developed the Local Offer in Portsmouth City
Since the law changed in 2014, we have worked in partnership with parent carers and young people with SEND to create and develop our SEND Local Offer. We have done this by holding regular meetings, gathering feedback, creating surveys and listening to all of the things people told us they liked and didn’t like about the services and support in Portsmouth city as well as the accessibility of information ( such as how well the Local Offer website works).
In 2019, we held a large review of the Local Offer website and decided that a new site needed to be built. Since then we have co-produced the new website and involved parent carers and young people in all of the decision making to make sure our new SEND Local Offer website worked for everybody. Everyone has been involved every step of the way, from commissioning web designers to promoting the new look site.
Every 3 months a Local Offer information and advice co-production group meets to talk about the Local Offer and each year we publish a Local Offer Annual report, which you can read below. We share this information with people who make decisions about services and support and they use it to understand what needs to be in place to support children and young people with SEND in Portsmouth City.