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Short break provision consultation

Introduction and policy background

We are about to ask a wide range of providers to bid for money to deliver activities and overnight provision for children and young people with disabilities and additional needs in their leisure time. This is also known as the short break service. As part of this, your voice is important to us, we want to hear from you, so we provide the services you need.

We have worked with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for many years and already have joint teams and pooled budgets where we both make financial contributions to achieve mutually agreed aims. Delivering activities and overnight provision for children and young people with disabilities and additional needs in their leisure time (short breaks) is jointly funded by us and the CCG. We hold the combined budget and distribute it to providers on a quarterly basis.

The wider council policy context

Our Corporate Strategy sets out what we as a council plan to do, how we plan to do it, and how we will measure our performance. Our main aim is to improve people's lives, and we are following two core policies to do this: tackling the climate and ecological emergencies and giving people a bigger say. This consultation, and the policy it concerns, addresses the giving people a bigger say aspect of this strategy, and also seeks to address social value in our commissioning activities.

Giving people a bigger say

Through this consultation we aim to:

  • expand our engagement activities to ensure that all stakeholders are informed of our procurement requirements and how they can be involved
  • engage with a wider remit of the local community so to understand what is needed in the local community to deliver high quality short breaks provision for disabled children and their families
  • reach groups that do not currently access short break provision by approaching SENCO’s of mainstream schools to ask them to support individuals with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) to take part in the consultation
  • approach providers delivering services in the local community through engaging with the Voluntary Sector Network (VSN)
  • consult using different methods which include online questionnaires
  • offer stakeholders the opportunity to talk directly to commissioners either in a group setting or as individuals through Teams or Zoom
  • present different models of delivery for short break provision and ask stakeholders what their opinions are, with the results of the consultation informing our commissioning intentions for short break provision.

Social value

As a council we have the responsibility to ensure that all our procurement activities provide some kind of social value.

Local organisations are essential for a robust local economy. Local organisations employ local people, with the majority of employed people based in B&NES, ensuring employment stays within the authority boundaries. To help maintain local employment opportunities, providers:

  • use locally based professionals to run workshops
  • hire local school or community venues
  • take trips using local transport companies
  • invest in training a locally skilled workforce to cater for children and young people with more complex needs.

Local organizations also provide placements and volunteering opportunities for young people and adults, including those with support needs. They provide a positive role model for children and young people using the service and their parent or carer. Organisations that deliver the services and activities designed for disabled children and young people and those with additional needs also develop and strengthen support networks for families, enabling families to come together from across the authority to meet others in similar situations and build new relationships.