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Young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), their parents and carers are being asked to get involved in new plans that will set out more clearly what services are available, and how to access them.

The changes are being introduced as part of the Government's SEND reforms, part of the Children and Families Bill which is currently being debated in the House of Lords.

You may have heard recently about the "Local Offer" — work on this started in July in Buckinghamshire. Due to be completed by September 2014, it will give families a clear understanding of the up-to-date services available locally to them and how they can be accessed.

Buckinghamshire County Council is bringing together, in one place, all the information about education, health and social care services on offer for children and young people from birth to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The Local Offer will include information on the following services: Education; health; social care; transport; independent living; employment and training, leisure activities.

It will also include information on the new Education, Health and Care plans (which will replace Statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments); personal budgets; providing feedback, raising issues and making a complaint; and support and guidance services for children, young people and families.

The local offer will be web based, but versions will be available for those who don't have internet access. The County Council is already in the process of consulting with parents and young people about what they want from the Local Offer, but there is a lot to do so all offers of help are very gratefully received.

There is information on the Local Offer on the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service (BFIS) website at www.bucksfamilyinfo.org/localoffer Parents, carers and young people who would like to get involved and have ideas about what should be included can contact the BFIS on 0845 688 4944 or email familyinfo@buckscc.gov.uk

In addition, the County Council together with Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group (CCCG) and Aylesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Group (AVCCC) is currently consulting with parents on the types of integrated health and social care services they have received. The survey runs until 14th December. To take part visit the website.

If you require any assistance completing the questionnaire please contact FACT Bucks on: 01296 382303 / 07717 320459 or email lfalconer@buckscc.gov.uk

Mike Appleyard, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said: "It's vital that everyone concerned has the opportunity to have their say, the local offer is really important and the views of families will be crucial as we set about changes to improve parental accessibility, choice and control in a system which is so often seen as being overly complex and time consuming.

"As a result of these changes families will be better informed and have access to a comprehensive package of support that meets their needs. Over the coming months, we will be publishing further information about the findings and planning a range of activities to keep everyone informed and involved."

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