Skip to content

We want all SEND services, support and provision (sometimes called the Local Offer) to be as good as it possibly can and that’s why your feedback is so important to us.

On this page we regularly publish the comments we've received about the Local Offer and the actions we've taken in response. This feedback can help up improve and develop:

  • the accessibility of information on the Local Offer website
  • how local service offers have been developed or reviewed
  • the quality of existing provision and any gaps in the provision

How we are responding to the biggest challenges in SEND in Hertfordshire

We understand that not getting a response or having to wait a long time is frustrating. It’s not good enough and although we know there is a national resource issue, we’re sorry if we haven’t always been able to get this right for every family in Hertfordshire.

We want you to know that we are listening and we’re working hard to make improvements. We cannot make these changes overnight, we need time to recruit more EHC Coordinators, to catch up on outstanding enquires and to increase space at existing schools or even build new ones.

We want to say thank you to every child or young person with SEND and their families for your continued patience and understanding while we work towards making these improvements and especially to those who have taken the time to engage in this process with us and with HPCI.

You said

Young people with eligible social care needs do not always have the information and support that they need at the right time

We did 

Working with Herts Parent Carer Involvement (HPCI), 0-25 Together Service has produced new guidance for professionals to make sure they work together to provide the right information at the right time.  We have reviewed pathways within the 0-25 Together Service to ensure that more resources are available to help young people aged 14 plus, access support with their learning for living and work.  

Find out more about preparing for adulthood in Hertfordshire

You Said

We are waiting for a diagnosis for autism/ADHD but we need help while we are waiting.


We Did

The SLCA team provide advice and support for children and young people with and without diagnosis. The service is needs led rather than reliant on diagnosis. We have also developed the Hertfordshire Autism Training package in order to support schools in developing their provision for children and young people with communication and autism needs. We are developing ADHD training in the coming year.

Since 2020 we have increased the number of workshops for parents/carers that offer advice and support.  We have put many of these online because parents told us that they would like to view them in their own time and share with members of their extended family, such as grandparents.

You Said

Schools need training with a greater focus on practical strategies and approaches for autism that can be implemented to improve provision.


We Did

The SLCA team have developed Hertfordshire Autism Training, in collaboration with stakeholders, to ensure a clearer focus on strategies and are establishing improved processes to support schools in embedding these approaches as part of whole-school provision.


You Said

We needed to adapt the HCC Chaperone licensing policy to enable urgent licenses to be awarded.


We did

The policy has been reviewed and updated and the Senior Manager will make a decision on fast tracking licences on an individual basis to support and ensure local residents are provided with the licence as quickly as possible.


You Said

We needed to provide more education through Education Support for Medical Absence Team.


We did

We restructured the service and introduced a graduated response. In 2020 children and young people accessing ESMA received on average 2 hours of education per week. In the 2022/23 academic year ESMA has provided an average of 11.2 hours of education per week.


You Said

Special schools did not have enough involvement in the process when children transition from primary to secondary school. 


We Did

We redesigned the process so that it starts with a joint meeting with special school headteachers in primary and secondary settings so that headteachers are able to share their experience of the children in their setting as a core part of the transition process.

You Said

That schools needed support to improve the communication with parents. 


We Did

We offer our SEND Implementation support officers to act as a bridge between school, family and local authority services. 


You Said

That schools had difficulties knowing the best way to communicate with us, and who to go to for advice. 


We Did

We put in place the ASK Sali support line to offer school SENCOs advice, support and a space to listen to issues and challenges.


You Said

That schools had difficulties with demonstrating 'Assess Plan Do Review'.


We Did

We introduced the VSEND tool that helps schools to baseline their SEND skills through setting readiness, and to understand children’s needs through child’s profile.


You said

It's hard to contact anyone from the SEND Team in relation to the EHCP process. You were getting through to voicemail boxes in statutory SEND which were full, and you couldn’t get through to the team.  You said you were waiting too long for callbacks.

We know that some parents and carers may be experiencing delays in getting through to our SEND team and we understand that can be frustrating. Unfortunately, we’ve got reduced resources right now but we’re working hard to try and get back to you as quickly as we can. 

We did 

Our Customer Service Centre (CSC) is now supporting the SEND Team with enquiries to their duty lines. We have trained our CSC staff to use our new EHCPs online system, meaning they will be able to answer most enquiries straight away, and advise who your named EHC Coordinator is.  The Customer Service Centre can also provide a callback service so that it is always possible to get a message to a member of the team.  We increased the number of callbacks in diaries for all members of the statutory SEND team so that you don't have to wait too long.

We've also introduced some new inboxes which should make it easier for families to contact us. To find out more, visit our Contacting the SEND Team webpage.

You said

What is being done about the lack of EHC Coordinators in Hertfordshire?

Nationally there is a shortage of EHC Coordinators and this makes it challenging to get specialist support to all of the families that need our help as quickly as we’d like to.

We did

We have been successful in getting some extra resource into the SEND service; however we need more and are continuing to actively recruit for EHC Coordinators. We’ve also recruited some support staff to help us to try and record incoming enquiries and help our EHC Coordinators to respond to families as quickly as possible. 

You said

What is being done about the backlog of annual reviews?

The number of EHCPs nationally has increased significantly over the last 2 years, and Hertfordshire is no exception to this. 

We did

We employed a new team dedicated to clearing our EHC review backlog earlier this year, and they have processed over 3000 reviews since February. We have also changed the way that EHCP reviews are received from September, and reviews now go first to this dedicated Review team. This team operates a triage system, processing any straight forward reviews swiftly when received, with more complex reviews escalated to EHC Coordinators. This new system will free up time for the EHC Coordinators to focus on the more in-depth casework with schools and families and will prevent a new backlog of reviews building up.

To help manage the annual review process in the future, we are rolling out a new online tool for schools to send to the SEND team following EHCP reviews. 20 special schools are currently using or being trained on the system. We have had great feedback from schools already using this tool. The new system saves lots of administrative time and supports officers to accurately process changes to EHCPs following review. We plan to roll this tool out to local colleges next, and then mainstream secondary schools. 

You said

There aren't enough special school places in Hertfordshire. What are you doing about this?

Hertfordshire, in common with many local authorities, is experiencing high demand for specialist provision. We have increased the number of special schools places by 383 in the last 5 years and there are further exciting developments on the way.

We did

Our Special School Place Strategy 2020-23 sets out our commitment and investment to create over 300 new permanent special school places, and the development of a countywide pattern of specialist resource provision in mainstream schools, in the next 5 years.

Find out about our priorities and how we're creating new special school places and provision in Hertfordshire.

You said

How are you supporting children with complex needs when there are no special school places?

There is no doubt that we need more special school places for some children with complex needs, including learning disabilities. We know that it will take time to achieve this, however we are committed to making sure that all children and young people with SEND in Hertfordshire have access to the right, nurturing environment to allow them to learn and to thrive.

We did

Where children cannot be placed in a special school, we work hard to find them a safe, suitable alternative in a local mainstream school. Most mainstream schools have excellent SEN support and promote inclusive learning for all of their students. Read more about how your child is supported in a mainstream setting.

We are working with special schools, specialist and alternative provision on plans to ensure that there are enough local places that meet pupils' needs in the short term, whilst we embed other initiatives.

Website feedback reports

Over time we group the individual feedback we receive from you about the Local Offer website into wider themes and find ways of improving the website to address any gaps in content and make it easier for families to find information. 

Website feedback report 2023-2024

You said

You said that families needed more support for children and young people while they're waiting for diagnoses for autism and ADHD. 

We did

We've created a new 'Neurodiversity Support' page with details of the Neurodiversity Support Hub, and strategies and resources to support neurodivergent children and young people and their families.

You said

You said you wanted to be kept more informed about the SEND improvement work we are doing as a result of the Ofsted inspection. 

We did

 We have created a new news area updating you on the initiatives and improvements that are going on as part of our response to the Ofsted Area SEND Inspection. We have also created a new page with all the details of our SEND Improvement Plan

You said

You said that not enough parents and carers knew about the Local Offer (HPCI survey 2023).

We did

We have continued to run our termly evening webinars for parents, and have attended more in-person events across the county this year, talking to parents and carers about the Local Offer and how they can use it to find support. We have also added an 'Introduction to the Local Offer' training video to our YouTube channel for those who can't make it to the webinars.

You said

You said that you struggled to find activities and clubs for your child or young person with SEND. 

We did

We have updated our events pages on the Local Offer and they are now full of activities, events, and courses for children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers.

Website feedback report 2022-2023

You said

In a peer review of the Local Offer with Hillingdon Council, they identified that we didn't have information on the Local Offer about provision out of county. 

We did

We have now added a new page to the Local Offer for parents and carers wanting information about schools in bordering counties

You said

You said you wanted more information about SEN funding in schools, including Top Up Higher Needs Funding (HNF). 

We did

We have updated our SEN funding webpage with clear and up-to-date information about the different types of additional funding available for schools and settings to support children and young people with SEND.

You said

You wanted better information around supporting and understanding behaviours that challenge, and a more sensitive approach when writing about this topic.

We did

We carried out lots of user research in this area, including several 1-1 meetings with parents, and re-wrote our Behaviours that Challenge page to include more advice and information for parents.  We took on board feedback around the use of language, and writing for a neuro-diverse audience and will use this when creating new content for the Local Offer. 

You can read more about how we worked with parents to re-write our content in our 'Talking about Behaviour' blog.

You said

You told us you were finding it difficult to contact the statutory SEND team.

We did

We created a new page with information on how to contact the statutory SEND team and what to do if you don't hear back from them.

You said

The Herts Parent Carers Involvement annual survey highlighted that not enough parents and carers know about the Local Offer website.

We did 

We held an evening webinar (promoted through SEND news and our social media channels, and partners) to explain what the Local Offer is and how it can be used to find support.  We will continue to find new ways to raise awareness of the website.

We now have an ongoing programme of webinars for all staff which we deliver termly.  By raising awareness of the Local Offer amongst professionals, we hope that they can support better the families they are working with.

You said

You said you wanted clearer information about the process of requesting a special school place and what to expect if a place isn't available. 

We did

We worked with colleagues from the specialist provision team to update our requesting a special school place webpage and included additional information on how your child will be supported in a mainstream school if they are waiting for a place to become available.

Responding to feedback in other services

Children's Public Health Services

Children and young people in Hertfordshire have strong opinions and are growing up in a fast paced and ever-changing world.  We want to ensure we highlight their thoughts, and we will do this by engaging with a range of children and young people’s groups. 

Through the annual Children and Young People's health and wellbeing survey, we discovered in December 2022 that 19.2% of 11,115 secondary aged pupils rated their life satisfaction as low. This was statistically higher than the figure for 2021 (13.7%).

As a result of this, Just Talk Herts (led by the Public Health team) launched the ‘What’s Next’ campaign. The campaign was launched in schools, on facebook, online and on Instagram.  It also became the focus of Just Talk mental health week in 2023.  The support included a range of self-help tools to help young people ‘manage their worries.’  Importantly this included tips on how to cope with Exam Stress which was a high contributing factor to why life satisfaction was rated as low.  A multi-agency strategy to promote the message that ‘things can and do change’ included schools, Just Talk ambassadors, the single point of access and services for children and young people.  The agencies supported young people who were struggling by providing direct advice.  

How do we know the impact this has had? 

The results of the 2023 annual Children and Young People's health and wellbeing survey are currently being analysed.  We will shortly update how this work has impacted on life satisfaction amongst our young people. 

In analysing the results of the survey, we noticed that the survey is not always accessible to certain groups of children with communication or access issues.  By November 2024 this survey will be adapted to ensure that all groups can have access.  This work is already showing some impact as in 2023, 5,000 more pupils took part in the survey than in the previous year. 

Children and Young Person's Therapy Services

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) provides services like Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Physiotherapy to children and young people in Hertfordshire.  Responding to feedback they have received about the service, they have made the following improvements:

  • There is now a single point for referrals to the Therapy Service making it easier for parents, carers and professionals and allowing a quicker response to queries. This also allows for services to work to statutory timeframes and improved monitoring systems
  • They have made improvements in the quality of the service, including increasing the number of appointments available
  • They have introduced an Integrated Advice Line for parents and professionals for all 3 therapy disciplines with a message facility available 24/7, and with daily call back from therapists  
  • Universal Sensory Information sessions are now available for parents and carers without the need for a referral to the OT service. This will give parents a greater understanding and confidence to support their child earlier in their journey, minimising risk of longer term impacts.
  • Various training sessions and workshops have been developed for parents, carers and professionals that can be accessed virtually 
  • You said: Making referrals to the service was not straight forward. 
    We did: We have separated the referral form into 3 service forms with clear eligibility criteria included. More children and young people are being accepted first time. 
  • You said: The Children and Young People's Therapies website was challenging to navigate and find relevant information. 
    We did: We have launched new webpages with a clearer layout and updated service, referral and useful information. 
  • You said: You wanted shorter training presentations to share on school inset days. 
    We did: We have recorded bitesize training presentations and added to the Therapies webpages. 
  • You said: you wanted more multi-disciplinary working and better access to follow-up therapies.
    We did: we piloted a new integrated therapy clinic for children with Down's Syndrome
  • You said: you wanted an easier way to book into virtual screening clinics
    We did: we replaced eventbrite with a new process where families can contact us directly.
  • You said: you wanted school staff training to include specific info about your children's sensory needs 
    We did: we created a new sensory training package for school staff to be delivered this summer
  • You said: the provision in EHCP reports was sometimes not clear enough
    We did: we have updated our EHCP reports to improve the specificity in the health provision 

Educational Psychology

You said: that you were waiting too long for autism diagnoses.
We did: The Educational Psychology service, in partnership with West Herts Health Service, has trained EPs to undertake autism assessments to address some of the backlog.

You said: Schools/parents were finding it difficult to address some of the presentations with ADHD.
We did: As an EP service, we designed and delivered to schools, training on executive functioning difficulties and provided resources for schools to use.

You said: that schools and parents needed more support around Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA)
We did: The EP Service piloted workshops in the West, for parents and schools regarding EBSA

Early Years

In response to feedback from their service users, our Early Years team have been making improvements to the Early Years offer for children with SEND and/or additional needs.  Here are some improvements they have recently made to better support families of young children with emerging needs:

You said: You don’t understand the processes for support and referral routes in to the SEND system.

We Did: 

  • Family Centres introduced SEND Champions in 2018 to support families and signpost parents to access better information and advice.The SEND Champions have all received training from HPCI into how to signpost parents to access better information and advice and have also received training from our Specialist Advisory Teachers in autism awareness and basic awareness of SEND.
  • Set up SEND drop ins in Family Centres where parents have an opportunity to discuss any concerns they may have, find out information about local support groups and meet other families.
  • Started Early Support Sessions. A multi-agency initiative which brings together Public Health Nursing, Integrated Services for Learning (ISL) and the Family Support Service in one place to provide support for children with an identified or emerging need who are not accessing free or privately funded early years education. 

You Said: My child isn’t ready to access early years education or groups

We Did:

  • We started Early Adventurers in 2022, an 8 week course for children with either a diagnosed or emerging SEND. The course aims to promote parent confidence and the children’s basic skills to help them become ready for the next stage of education.

Short Breaks  

SEND Commissioning continue to develop the Short Breaks services listening to families feedback.

You said: There aren't enough short breaks on the Local Offer, or the right kind of activities my child enjoys.

We Did: We set up a group to work with parents/carers to work out how we can better allocate the funding that is available.  We have developed  a new model and secured 37% additional funding from April 2023 to ensure we can provide more accessible community activities and better support children and their families.   

In 2021, we launched a survey with HPCI that was open to parent carers of children and young people (CYP) with SEND in Hertfordshire. 91 parent carers completed the survey from across the county.  60% said that the type of short break service that would add more value to their child and family was sporting and exercise activities, and Hemel Hempstead came up as one of the preferred locations. SEND Commissioning work closely with our providers to ensure the programmes delivered continue to meet the demands of families and in 2021 this has included working with a new provider - Sport Works - to offer sporting activities in Hemel Hempstead.

Ask, Listen, Do

Ask, Listen, Do is a project led by NHS England that aims to make it easier for people with SEND and their families to issue feedback, voice their concerns or make a complaint. The initiative aims to support organisations to learn from and develop better ways of using feedback to help improve services across education, health and social care.

We (Hertfordshire County Council) are working in partnership with NHS England on the Ask, Listen, Do project. 

For more information visit the Ask, Listen, Do page of the NHS England website or you can view the easy read leaflet (pdf 543kb).

Page was last updated on: 29/04/2024 13:21:25


Like many other websites, we place small information files called 'cookies' on your computer.

Why do we use cookies?

To remember your settings, for example your language and location. This means you don’t have to keep entering these details when you visit a new page.

To find out how you use the site to help us update and improve it.

How do I change my cookie settings?

You can change the settings of your web browser so that it won’t accept cookies. For more information visit

But, doing this may stop you from using some of the online features and services on this website. 

Cookies we use

Cookies do a lot of different jobs, and we use 2 types of cookies:

Required functionality cookies – these cookies are essential for the website to work.

Performance and feature cookies – these cookies help to improve the performance and feel of this website, for example providing you with personalised services.

Take a look at a list of cookies we use on our website:

NameTypeHow we use itHow long we use the information for



Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.



Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.


Required functionality

To track the effectiveness of our website using Google Analytics. 

2 years


Performance and feature

To save the pages that you visit by clicking the heart at the top of the page. 

1 month


Performance and feature

This stores your postcode (or partial postcode) when we ask you for your location.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).


Performance and feature

This stores your location as a pair of latitude / longitude coordinates.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).


Performance and feature

This keeps a history of all answers submitted to the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.


Performance and feature

This keeps a history of what content cards are clicked on when using the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.


Required functionality

This used to track user sessions on forms hosted on

Just for the time you are on our website.

Third party cookies

There are links and content from other sites and services on our website. These sites and services set their own cookies.

Below are a list of cookies that the other sites and services use:

Service namePurposeMore information

Google analytics (_utma/b/c/z)

These are used to compile reports for us on how people use this site.

Cookies of the same names are also used for the same purpose by other websites such as Building FuturesCountryside Management Service and Hertfordshire LIS.

Visit the Google Analytics website for more information about the cookies they use.

You can prevent data from being collected and used by Google Analytics by installing Google's Opt-out Browser Add-on.

Google Translation - googtrans

This cookie is used to remember which language to translate each page into if you have chosen to do so.

It expires at the end of your browser session.


We use a Bing cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Bing to find out more about their cookies.


We use a Google cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Google to find out more about their cookies.


We have a number of presences on Facebook, which we may link to. Facebook may set some of its own cookies if you follow these links.

Visit Facebook to find out more about their cookies.


We have a number of presences and feeds on Twitter, which you may wish to follow or read from this website. Twitter may set some of its own cookies.

Visit Twitter to find out more about their cookies.


We have a YouTube channel, which we may link to. YouTube may set some of its own cookies if you follow those links.

Visit YouTube to find out more about their cookies.


This ASP.NET_Sessionid cookie is essential for the Netloan secure online payments website to work, and is set when you arrive to the site. This cookie is deleted when you close your browser.



This session cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that visitor is included in the sample which is used to generate funnels.

Visit HotJar to find out more about their cookies.


These cookies are set to help us report on how people are using the site so we can improve it.

Visit Siteimprove to learn more about their cookies.