Published Wednesday 13 November 2019

In this blog post, Sylvia Jenkins- Parent Representative with the Herts Parent Carer Involvement (HPCI) - shares her experience working with us to co-produce improvements to the information available on the Local Offer website.

The request for help

HPCI received a request from the team at Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) asking for Parent Reps to work with to help improve the information on the Local Offer website. I chose to work on the money section, helping to make the information there about benefits and finance more accessible and less confusing for parents.

Reviewing the current information...

I had a meeting with a member of the web team at HCC to look at the information currently on the website. We had a chat about how the information was presented, how this could be improved, and what information was missing that could be useful for parents. I wasn’t expected to know anything technical about creating web pages – I just needed to have some experience of the things that mattered to parents and be able to talk about it.

The main thing I noticed about the money pages was that the support for children and young people that parents could apply for and the support professionals had to apply for was mixed in together. To make it simpler for parents, I suggested this information be shown separately.

At the end of the meeting, we came up with the following questions for each benefit on the Local Offer:

  • Can a parent claim, or a professional?
  • What's the criteria for claiming? Including levels of need and whether a diagnosis is needed.
  • What can the money be used for?
  • How to apply (including possible warning about how applying can be a stressful process, with a high chance of first time rejection).
  • Who can support you with your application?
  • Finally, if you receive this funding, what else can you get?

We then looked through the current pages and noted what information needed to be added.

Writing the new pages

The web team worked with the services within HCC to check they were happy with the changes I suggested. Then they started working on a new money area for the new and improved Local Offer website.

During the process I was sent links to new pages that I could review at home when it was convenient for me to do so. I carefully checked the wording and the content of the new pages, and fed back edits and suggestions. That way I could contribute to the project without having to travel or it having a negative impact on my family.

The result

It’s really satisfying to see the improvement in the new pages that have been prepared so far- the money landing page makes so much more sense.

Being a Parent Rep for HPCI and contributing to co-producing the new Local Offer has been a very positive experience. I felt my experience as a parent was respected and my views listened to. If you’re interested in our work, or in becoming a Parent Representative, you can visit the HPCI website to get in touch.

By Sylvia Jenkins

HPCI Parent Rep