Since the launch of the SEND Co-production Charter back in 2018,
Manchester has come quite a way towards building a co-productive culture across Education, Health, Social Care, and universal services across the city.
Through our four years as Manchester’s Parent Carer Forum, MPCF has been actively involved in co-production at the strategic level, with our membership at the SEND Board, Local Offer Review Board (LORB), Transition Board, Our Manchester Disability Plan Board, and, lately, the SEND Reform Board. We co-chair the LORB and a workstream of the SEND Reform Board. Local partners have also started buying into the idea of co-producing services at the operational level, with projects and services such as the About Me profiles (coming soon!), Social Communication Pathway, SEND Local Offer drop-ins, educational psychology workshops, school holiday activities, and more… as well as design/updates of policies for risk assessments in the early days of the pandemic, medical conditions model for schools, Personal Budgets, and the Early Years Ordinarily Available Provision. Opportunities for other groups and for individual parents/carers to get involved in consultations, listening sessions and focus groups have also been made available more and more over the past couple of years.
Over the past year, in particular, we have been involved in plenty of partnership work, even through the difficult times brought about by the pandemic. Indeed, this was recognised as good practice by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) during their interim visit to Manchester back in March. This is all very promising, as SEND services can only truly be at their best when developed and regularly reviewed together with the people who use them – parents, carers, children and young people.
However, the work is not yet done! We highlight great work this Co-production Week with the hope that it will encourage more services to adapt their way of working and make partnership working business-as-usual. Of course, parent/carer involvement is vital to making this happen, so we encourage you all to get involved by joining events & meetings, answering the occasional surveys, and otherwise giving us feedback about local services by reaching out to us via email or social media.
Together, we can achieve better decisions and brighter futures for Manchester families. You can help make this happen.