Latest news and campaign updates from the Disabled Children’s Partnership.

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Another Parliamentary inquiry into local authority children’s services

Not only is the Housing Communities and Local Government Committee (see below) looking into local authority children’s services, so is Parliament’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee.  We have also submitted evidence to this review, which you can read here.

This inquiry follows a report published on the 23 January by the National Audit Office on the Pressures on Children’s Social Care.  Whilst we welcome this report highlighting the financial pressures on local authorities’ children’s social care services, we are very disappointed that it makes no reference at all to the challenges facing disabled children and their families.

Funding and provision of local authorities’ children’s services: Parliamentary inquiry

The Housing Communities and Local Government Committee in the House of Commons is holding an inquiry into the funding and provision of local authorities’ children’s services. It invited written evidence to be submitted in December.

The Committee has now published the written submissions it received. You can read ours here.

NHS Long Term Plan

On 7 January 2019, the Government published its long term plan for the National Health Service.

We have put out a short statement reacting to what the plan means for disabled children and their families.

Write to your MP about funding for disabled children’s services

There are not enough services for disabled children and their families and across the country many of those that do exist are under threat from cuts.  Children and families are missing out on vital help that enables them to do things other children take for granted like eat, talk, leave the house, have fun and attend school.

We want to make sure that the Government is fully aware of the need for additional funding for these vital services.  Therefore, we are asking our supporters to help us make the case for more funding for disabled children by asking their MPs to write to the Treasury.  Click here to create an email to your MP.

Parents mark the closure of Nascot Lawn

On 15 November, parents gathered at Nascot Lawn to mark its closure.  This sad occasion marked the end of the parents’ brave campaign to save the centre.

Economic Affairs Committee – Inquiry on social care funding in England

The Economic Affairs Committee is one of the six permanent investigative committees in the House of Lords and is charged with considering economic affairs.
It is currently holding an inquiry into social care funding in England. We submitted written evidence to the inquiry in October, and it has today been published by the Committee.  You can read it here
For more information about the inquiry, click here

2018 Budget – a missed opportunity

Today’s (29 October) Budget was a missed opportunity to address the crisis in health and social care services for disabled children.

Commenting on the Budget, Stephen Kingdom – Campaign Manager for the Disabled Children’s Partnership, said “The Budget included welcome additional funding for social care.  But it was a missed opportunity to address the crisis in social care services for disabled children.  Our research identified a £434 million funding gap for these services.  It is essential that the Government uses next year’s spending review to close this gap and to create an early intervention and family resilience fund as set out in our Five Step Plan.”

You can read more about our Five Step Plan here

Budget Representation

The Government has announced that this year’s Budget will be on 29 October.  In advance of it, the Treasury invited the public to make ‘representations’ by 28 September.  You can read what we submitted here.

Email issues

Many apologies if you’ve tried emailing our email address recently, and not had a response or had an email failure notice.

We’re working on the fault, but in the meantime you can email us on

New research shows a £1.5 billion funding gap for services for disabled children

On 16 July, the Disabled Children’s Partnership published economic research showing a £1.5 billion funding gap for services needed by disabled children. This investment shortfall and its consequences was highlighted on the BBC Panorama programme ‘Fighting for My Child’.

Disabled Children’s Partnership welcomes Ludlow Road respite care centre recommendation

We’re pleased that Worcestershire council have listened to parents and recommended that Ludlow Road respite centre in Kidderminster remain open into next year. However this still leaves an uncertain future for families.

Nascot Lawn latest: council decides not refer the matter to the Secretary of State

Hertfordshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee met on 3 July.  Among the items on its agenda was the decision by Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) to withdraw funding from Nascot Lawn, a centre that provides overnight short breaks for children with complex health needs.  It was open to the council to refer HVCCG’s decision to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, but sadly they decided against doing so.

Stephen Kingdom, campaign manager for the Disabled Children’s Partnership says: “Members of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, alongside the families who have fought so hard to keep Nascot Lawn open, are utterly baffled by the county council’s decision not take more decisive action over the CCG’s decision to withdraw funding for the centre and refer the matter to the Secretary of State for a final decision – an option open to the council under local authority regulations.

“The CCG’s decision to stop funding Nascot Lawn needn’t have been the end of the matter if the council considered that this would not be in the interests of the local health service. It seems self-evident to us – and to parents – that closing Nascot Lawn is not in the interests of the health service in Hertfordshire, given the impact it will have on children with complex health needs and their families. The council have missed a real opportunity to stop the closure of a much valued facility that helps local families with some of the most severely disabled children get a short break from caring. It’s also a false economy because keeping Nascot Lawn open could have also saved the council and the state money in the long run. If families with disabled children don’t get the support they need they are more likely to reach crisis point –at far more cost to the council and state than the cost of keeping Nascot Lawn open.”

DCP survey shows a picture of declining quality of services and more cuts to come

On Thursday 28 June, we published the results of our survey on the quality of health and social care services.   We asked families whether they thought the quality of health and social care services in their local area had got better or worse over the last few years.  We also asked whether they were aware of any specific plans to cut services in the future.  Thank you to everyone who took part the survey.  We got a really good response rate with over 1,500 surveys completed.

The picture painted by the survey is not a good one.  Three-quarters of family members said health services in their area had got worse; nearly two-thirds said the same for social care services; and just under half of respondents were aware of specific plans to cut services.  You can read the full report of the survey results here.

Department for Education Children in Need Review

The Department for Education is currently reviewing support and outcomes for children in need.  The Disabled Children’s Partnership welcomes this review, and the inclusion of disabled children within it.  However, we have two significant concerns about the scope of the review.  First, it is only looking at educational outcomes: these are clearly important, but not they are not the only outcomes that matter to children and families.  Second, under the Children Act 1989 all disabled children are ‘children in need’ and it is important that the review is not limited to those children who are currently receiving services.

The ‘call for evidence’ stage of the review ran until 1 July and we took the opportunity to set out our concerns to the Department.  You can read what we said to them here.

Education Select Committee special educational needs and disability inquiry

The House of Commons Education Select Committee is holding an inquiry into special educational needs and disability.  You can more about the inquiry here.  As part of the inquiry, the Committee asked for written submissions.  Here is what we have said to the Committee about health and social care services for disabled children.

Children’s Commissioner/Institute for Fiscal Studies report on public spending on children

On 12 June, the Children’s Commissioner published analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on public spending on Children in England between 2000 and 2020.

More overnight short breaks services under threat

The Disabled Children’s Partnership has today (21 May) issued statements calling on Worcestershire County Council and North Yorkshire County Council to protect overnight short breaks services under threat of closure.

Nascot Lawn to close after all

Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has voted on 10 May to close the Nascot Lawn centre for severely disabled children.  This devastating news means that, despite parents’ victories in the High Court, this vital service will close.  It is, however, open to Hertfordshire County Council to refer the matter to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for him to decide.

Listen here to our campaign manager, Stephen Kingdom, talking to Bob FM about the CCG’s decision. The interview was recorded and first broadcast on 12 May.

More families forced to challenge cuts through the courts

Families fighting Surrey council’s plan to cut more than £20 million from services for disabled children have officially lodged a legal challenge against the decision.

Short breaks petition delivered to Number 10 Downing Street

Thank you to everyone who signed our short breaks petition.  On 19 April, parents and members of the DCP delivered the petition to number 10 Downing Street.  We await the Government’s response.

Two respite centres to close in Hampshire

Despite parent opposition, Hampshire County Council formally recommended the closure of the centres in Aldershot and Winchester, which provide care to 35 disabled children with the most complex needs in the area.

What are short breaks?

Step two of our Five Step Plan calls on the government to ‘Review funding of short breaks provision for disabled children and families’. But what do we mean when we talk about short breaks?

Five steps to address the health and social care crisis for disabled children

We’re launching the next phase of the #SecretLifeofUs campaign with a five step plan to address the growing crisis in health and social care for disabled children. We want the Government to take steps to ensure health and social care services work for disabled children and their families.