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Local Offer

When the Children and Families Bill becomes enacted in 2014 local authorities will be required to publish and keep under review information about services they expect to be available for children and young people with special educational needs (SEND) aged 0-25, all in a single location. This is known as the local offer.

The intention of the local offer is to improve choice and transparency for families. It will also be an important resource for professionals in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area.

Prescient software has been working in partnership with Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Parent Carer Network and Parent Voice to develop Hampshire’s solution.

Hampshire is part of the SE7 group of pathfinders for the local offer, and Mott McDonald, the consultants working on behalf of the government in distributing materials to the local authorities, has cited Hampshire’s solution as the example site, and here we will look at it in a bit more detail.

Key points

There were several factors that were highlighted by the SE7 in guidance documentation that need to be understood as they form the fundamental precepts behind the development of the solution, and these are that the solution needs to be:

  • Co-produced with the County Council and parents, carers and young people.
  • ‘Not just a directory’.
  • Kept under constant review.
  • Empowering for parents and carers, young people and professionals
  • Accessible and easy to understand
  • Holistic, and cover all areas of information.
  • Transparent
  • Sustainable and sustained
  • Factual and honest.

Co-production

In order to arrive at the solution that is being published consideration to the points above is paramount, and the co-production has been the key. At all junctures of the process, parents and carers have been very active in giving their thoughts and ideas, and this combined with the local authority knowledge and expertise and the semantic technology (also known as linked data) has provided the glue to cohese the elements together. The information required for the local offer is a large dataset, and spans across many different organisations and departments and topics, where there is not necessarily shared or common knowledge, so in bringing this information together we expect to see large scale benefits for all parties.

Key functionality

A list of the key functionality is as follows:

  • Automated semantic linking
  • “3 clicks to anything” semantic navigation
  • Multi-tier security based on role
  • Local Offers entered via guided forms
  • Content approval mechanism
  • Site search
  • Search results with easy to use filters
  • Dictionary of keywords
  • Area searches
  • Age searches
  • Specific needs searches
  • Clinical Commissioning Group lookup
  • My book functionality. Add pages to a book to print/save
  • Tagging system so material can be linked together
  • Feedback and contact on the Local Offer/Request emails
  • Ability to publish feedback
  • Automatic expiry dates for news/events
  • News pages and filtering
  • Events listings
  • Events queries and filtering
  • Service Provider database/ filtered by site section and relevance
  • Most popular pages display
  • What's new display
  • Solution can be fully skinned.
  • CMS implementation with WYSIWYG editor
  • Section, subsection and article hierarchy
  • Cross border information.
  • Glossary of terms and jargon buster
  • Multimedia support - pictures, documents, YouTube etc
  • Social media integration – Facebook, Twitter etc
  • Version control and auditing built in
  • Works on all browsers including mobile

Key technical benefits

  • Core software is Open Source, so there are no expensive license costs for the platform.
  • Secure and robust – fully tested security with tried and tested functionality.
  • Multi-platform – can run on almost any server
  • In built SEO – machine readable by Google, Microsoft etc
  • W3C accessibility compliant
  • Scalable – new data can be added and easily fit into the common templates
  • No technical expertise required to administer the site.

Admin Info

Section Local Offer
Author Simon Ford
Created 2014/03/28
Level 1
Menu Item No
Menu List Order 3
Menu Colour none

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