Worcestershire County Council has teamed up with public sector-owned technology developer LookingLocal to launch an innovative approach to delivering the ‘Local Offer’ of services and information for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
In addition to providing advice about SEND-related services and advice maintained by Worcestershire County Council , the platform also incorporates a search capability that pulls in a wealth of content – much of it in multimedia form – beyond the council’s website, gaining insight from other organisations and communities and providing a much wider source of information and support, reflecting the complex needs of the SEND community.
MyLocalOffer will be available across a range of mobile platforms and devices – PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The LookingLocal solution was attractive to Worcestershire County Council for a number of reasons: value for money, security, the ability to offer up-to-date, accurate listings from local partners without needing to manage content and a flexible approach to design that enables partners to customise and make changes in line with customer and organisational needs.
Councillor Liz Eyre, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for children and families said: “Worcestershire had a comprehensive website of information and resources around SEND, but needed to respond to the requirements of the Local Offer. The approach allowed us to plug our website into the LookingLocal solution, add related NHS content and create a valuable tool informed by the needs of parents and young people.”
“The SEN Code of Practice is clear about the information that needs to be included in the Local Offer, and it was great to see that LookingLocal had designed a product with the code in mind; it really helped not to start with a blank canvas.
“Working with LookingLocal around the Local Offer has given us an opportunity to engage with specific customer groups, communicate with partners, schools and everyone involved at a local level. The partnership has resulted in increased engagement and a fuller understanding of what is available for children, young people and their families. This work will continue.”