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Local Offer review report April 2017

Plymouth's SEND Local Offer was developed in partnership with parents, young people and our partner agencies. Co-production is at the heart of the Plymouth SEND Local Offer. In reviewing our Local Offer we've worked with:

  • Parents/carers and young people
  • Professionals from our partner agencies
  • with all of our maintained schools who have produced their local offer by responding to questions from parents and children
  • with service providers, including those within the voluntary sector
  • closely with our SEND information and Advice group

Since the last review of the SEND Local Offer the Plymouth Online Directory has been merged with the Adults POD. The Local Authority Website has also undergone significant changes. Both of these changes have impacted on the accessibility of the POD.

Feedback on the Local Offer

Feedback has been obtained from as wide a range of stakeholders as possible. These have included


  • informally meeting with parents at events, e.g. families Life Centre sessions
  • formal feedback parent-led groups on the experience of parents using the Local Offer directory

Young people

  • were consulted at the beginning of  the review and the SEND Young Person's Forum "Youth Ascends". The feedback from the consultation that the forum is carrying out on behalf of the SEND Steering group will feed into the review.-       


  • Short break service providers have fed back their experiences using the POD and registering to manage their entry on the POD.
  • Feedback has been received via the "contact us" and "Tell us what you think" functions on the directory.
  • Feedback formally and informally has been received from partner agencies and organisations e.g. CHSWG, Health, schools

Analysis of feedback

During the different consultation events and workshops a number of responses to some individual questions

Delegates were asked to review the POD prior to each meeting so that the discussion could focus on the following questions.

  • How useful is the site for families?
  • Is the information accessible?
  • How can we improve it?
  • Was the information helpful?
  • Did it provide enough information or a place to go where that information could be found?
  • How hard was it to find the information?
  • What do you think would improve the experience of parents and professionals trying to find the information?

The responses were then collated into themes.

Look and feel of the site

There were a number of positive comments from parents in particular who felt that the information was helpful and well presented. However, many people felt that there were improvements that could be made.

There were problems with finding information using a mobile device.

Too much information

  • needs to be broken down.
  • could be overwhelming for families especially if they were in crisis.
  • Information could be presented visually
  • More drop down boxes needed rather than all the text 

Flow of information

  • Needs flow charts and diagrams to explain processes
  • More links to visuals rather than written language
  • Too much scrolling down the page


  • services should be grouped by need
  • Reconsider the front page Too many boxes currently making choice difficult
  • Key documents are difficult to find
  • Use format similar to You Tube and Facebook to make things easier to find 


  • More logos and pictures needed
  • Links not clear enough
  • Improve the my list function e.g. save for future visits and print function
  • More videos of parents explaining their experiences
  • More information needed on how to access services
  • Not clear about eligibility for services
  • Some parents will not know what SEN is and whether they are able to access the services
  • Not all schools have information on the POD much of what is on the school site is similar without providing enough information about what the school does to support children with SEN


All of the workshops/events agreed that there needed to be a good quality marketing campaign to support a better understanding of what the SEND Local Offer is and what it can offer to both families and professionals.

How will the local offer change and develop?

A dedicated officer has now been appointed to develop the POD and to focus on developing the Local Offer in line with the review. The development will continue the co-design work and will involve all stakeholders.  The following key messages are going to be addressed in response to the feedback we have received on the POD.

  • Develop a champion role in partner agencies e.g. GP surgeries, libraries and children's centres to support families to access the directory
  • Continue to develop the POD to become more accessible and responsive to the needs of families and professionals
  • Work on new marketing methods and engagement with stakeholders as the POD is linked in with the development of the wider early help offer
  • Develop a filter to refine the search further to become more relevant to the individual child's profile 

Messages to commissioners

The key messages to go back to commissioners are:-

  • In order to deliver the statutory requirements of the Children and Families Bill 2014 the SEND directory must provide comprehensive information of what is available in the SEND Local Offer. This must be in one place and must be accessible for families.  To achieve this investment in the infrastructure and management of the POD will be essential.
  • Oversight of the implementation plan for changes needs to be held at a senior management level to ensure that the changes that are needed will be implemented at the earliest opportunity.


Plymouth Local Offer homepage

This page is part of Plymouth's Local Offer.

This page was last updated on 24 June 2019

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