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Short break provision consultation

The purpose of this consultation

We typically review short breaks provision every 3 to 5 years. This is normally at the end of a commission cycle.

We currently provide services for:

  • Befriending (where a volunteer spends time carrying out an activity with a child or young person)
  • Targeted short break term time only provision (such as, after school and weekend activities)
  • Targeted short break holiday provision (school holidays)
  • Short term residential overnight provision

When we review activities and services delivered in leisure time (short breaks), we provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to be involved in the decisions made about our commissioning intentions.

Who our stakeholders are
Stakeholders include:
  • Disabled children and young people and their families living in the B&NES area
  • Providers of short breaks
  • Voluntary sector organisations that operate in B&NES
  • Professionals that work within social care
  • Schools and colleges
  • Youth services

We also look at what other local authorities are delivering in their areas that relate to short break provision.


COVID-19 highlighted a number of issues and gaps within the current service model of short breaks.

When the pandemic began in March 2020, short break provision had to close, and it was uncertain when it would re-open, which put additional pressures on families of disabled children and those with additional needs - we would like to avoid this happening again.

When services reopened, providers delivered group activities using smaller groups and grouped them into primary, secondary, and older groups, which seemed to work better for some organisations.

Due to government guidance at the time, it was difficult to offer the overnight element of short breaks service. Thanks to the commitment and creativity of the families accessing support and the current providers, we continued to deliver overnight provision to those who really needed it.

It has also been increasingly challenging to staff the current activities taking place adequately. This was due to staff having COVID themselves and or self-isolating due to being in contact with someone who had COVID.

This prompted a full review of short break provision.

Full review of short breaks

Two other reviews are taking place that will feed into this piece of work:

  • Complex needs pathway review
  • Transitional review

What we would like to do

We would like to expand our engagement activities to include children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) currently attending mainstream schools.

We would like to welcome providers of short break provision from other areas, to grow the short break provision market in B&NES.

We would like to use the consultation to:

  • Find out what provision families are requesting after COVID-19
  • See what this provision looks like in practice
  • Find out suggested ways of delivering elements of the short break service differently
  • Understand people's opinions of the service