Written Statement of Action for Wakefield

Introduction to the Written Statement of Action for Wakefield

The local area of Wakefield was inspected by OFSTED and CQC in June 2017 to assess the effectiveness of the area in implementing the Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) reforms, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, and to be assured that the impact on outcomes is being achieved.

The Chief Inspector determined that NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was required to submit a Written Statement of Action (WSA) because of significant areas of weakness in the local area’s arrangements for completing specialist diagnostic assessments of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The requirement to produce the WSA reflected significant concerns from the Inspection team and required clear and direct action from NHS Wakefield CCG and our system partners, given the seriousness of this significant area of weakness, to make rapid and sustained improvement.

The WSA for Wakefield, which was approved by regulators in December 2017, was Wakefield’s response to the concerns raised by the inspection team in June 2017 and our actions to address this significant area of weakness.

June 2019 Revisit

In June 2019, inspectors from CQC and Ofsted revisited Wakefield to see the progress being made to improve autism services, in line with our Written Statement of Action.

During the revisit inspectors spoke with children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), parent and carers, along with staff from NHS Wakefield CCG, Wakefield Council, The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Inspectors were also presented with a range of evidence including data which showed significant reductions in the number of children and young people waiting for ASD assessments alongside improvements in waiting times.

Following the revisit, the local Wakefield area was recognised as having made sufficient progress, with inspectors recommending to the Department for Education and NHS England that the formal monitoring visits in Wakefield cease, given the progress made.

Our focus now as a system is to use our learnings from the under 14’s programme of work, which made up around 88% of all referrals across the district and replicate ideas and changes, where appropriate, to ensure waiting times for over 14’s are reduced in the future. In addition, will be working more closely with schools and health care workers to fully embed the outcomes of assessments and ensure that these are understood.

ASD Engagement

In addition to this, the Wakefield system is working with partner agencies to engage with families and a series of ASD engagement events have taken place in recent months.

These events have included Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Education and Inclusion service representatives from Wakefield Council, ASD pathway leads from The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and local parent carer forum, KIDS, as well as other parent support groups such as KIDZAWARE.

Attendance at the events has been open to the public, with feedback from families who attended the events published afterwards. A summary of the qualitative feedback from the November 2019, January 2019 and March 2019 events has also been produced.

The CCG captured what happened after this feedback was shared with partners and how that has impacted in changes to how ASD services are delivered locally. This can be found in our documents: 'You Said: We Did' (2019 onwards) and ('You Said: We Did' (2018 - 2019).

One of the main requests from parents, which came out of the engagement events, was that they would like more information about support for families with autism in Wakefield. Partners and parents therefore have worked together to produce a leaflet which details information about local support services. 

Healthwatch Wakefield, on behalf of the CCG and Pinderfields Hospital, has also researched the current provision of ASD services for children in Wakefield District, including waiting times and pathways and the transition to adult services.

They have engaged with children and young people and their parents and carers to find out their experiences of ASD services, including:

  • Waiting times
  • Support while waiting
  • Assessment
  • Support after assessment

Wakefield Early Support Advice Information and Liaison Service (WESAIL)

Is a service available to parents and carers of a child or a young person, who has, or may have, Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and are aged 0-25 years and living within the Wakefield District

The service, jointly funded by Wakefield Council and NHS Wakefield CCG, is also available to young people themselves and those working with families.

The service:

  • Provides a free, confidential and ‘impartial’ service – which means they do not take sides and try to ensure everyone is given opportunities to express their views and feel listened to
  • Offers information, advice, support and signposting according to need. This is provided by telephone or where appropriate on an individual or targeted basis, along with group based support through events and workshops
  • Provides information, advice and support on a wide range of information relating to Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) including education, health, social care, along with signposting to other agencies who can help
  • Is responsible for updating the Local Offer, engaging with children, young people, families and stakeholders in its ongoing development and review.

Parents can visit the Wakefield Local Offer website for further information and access to other family activities and support.