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0-25 SEND LO logo New Jul 17

 

As part of the Transforming SEND programme, we want our Local Offer to deliver the best online service to help parents answer all of their questions about how to support children with SEND in Hertfordshire.

SEND is a wide and varied area, and parents have been telling us for a while that they’re not able to find what they need on the website.

So we started with 3 months of research, which we’re calling our “discovery phase”.

Read on to find out what we did, what we learned, and how you can get involved.

Next we'll be sharing what we plan to do as a result of what we learned.

 

 

Parents told us

We interviewed 27 parents of children with SEND and they said:

  • they often feel lost
  • no-one helps them to find support
  • it's hard to access support which they find out about.

We've got big plans for what to do next with what we learned. So big that we'll be sharing a whole article about it with you.

 

 

SENCOS told us

  • they often use their own networks to signpost parents towards support services
  •  they don't often use the Local Offer website.

Early Years Providers told us

Parents often ask them about:

  • home care
  • advice about toilet training
  • advice on how to get their child to sleep at night
  • completing EHCPs
  • help with emotional support.

 

Young People told us

Our Young Commissioners group told us:

  • Youtube is one of the sites they use most
  • When they need help or advice, they go to family or friends first
  • They want their voices heard, and  their feedback clearly included.

We will be collecting feedback from young people throughout the project.

 

We added a pop up survey to the website to find out why visitors come to the Local Offer.

We learnt that:

  • 85% of our audience is public
  • 15% is professional

There’s a massive range of information people come to the Local Offer website for

The survey told us that some popular topics are:

  • Short Breaks
  • H.A.N.D.
  • things to do in your local area.

We’ll help you get there by featuring these prominently on the homepage.

So far around 150 parents and young people have signed up to receive emails about tasks to help us work out how to improve our digital services.

 

We want to make the website easier to use, to give people back their lunch hour.

We asked our feedback group to complete tasks on the website, such as 'find information on SEN support'.

  • people went through a lot of webpages before they found the right one
  • people took a long time to complete the tasks
  • people felt 'lost', and didn't feel confident.

 

Testing the website's structure

We asked the feedback group to find information using our site map.

They told us: 

  • the structure doesn't make sense
  • it's hard to navigate
  • the ‘preparing for adulthood’ area is well understood.

 

 

Grouping information

We asked the feedback group to categorise SEND information in ways that made sense to them.

They told us:

  • There's a lot of information about education - it's tricky to break down
  • It's hard to know where to put health and social care services
  • parents often group info based on the age of their child.

 

 

Short term web wins

We used a set of web design industry standards to do a ‘common sense check’ on the Local Offer website. We identified issues that cause frustration, like broken links. We've now fixed all the issues we found.


 

What do parents look for in a website?

We asked Herts Parent Carer Involvement (HPCI - the parent carer forum for Hertfordshire) to review some different Local Offer homepage styles.

HPCI told us:

  • They prefer icons over real photos
  • A bit of descriptive text is great, but not too much
  • Don't overclutter or use too many colours.

 

What do other local authorities do?

With the help of HPCI, we got together with Norfolk County Council and we each reviewed our Local Offers.

Norfolk told us:

  • to make things easier to find
  • to provide more detail on EHCPs

Lots of other authorities are improving their websites too, and we've built relationships with 7 other Local Offer teams .

We will use our discovery findings to build a website that is quicker and easier for families with children who have SEND and SEND professionals to use. By the end of the year, we'll have a new structure, updated content, and an improved design.

We will continue listening and learning as we go, and any changes we make to the website will be based on parent’s feedback. If you have already taken part by joining the SEND Online Feedback Group or by speaking to us thank you for your invaluable help.

Join our SEND online feedback group

 

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