The term “short breaks” refers to services that help parents/carers to more effectively
provide care for their disabled children by providing them regular breaks so that they can meet the needs of other children in the family; study or take part in leisure activities themselves; or carry out day to day household tasks. We also want short breaks to help make sure young people access positive activities.
Royal Greenwich has a duty to provide access to short break services for parent/carers of all disabled children aged 0-19 in Royal Greenwich (or up to 25, where part of a support plan). This statement explains:
- The range of services on offer in Royal Greenwich
- Who is eligible for services
- How to access services
- How we develop short breaks
- How you can shape short breaks
I am writing to update you on the work we are doing on the Short Break programme for children aged 4-11 with complex needs.
The Short Break offer for children aged 4-11 with complex needs
As you know in our Short Break programme, The Maypole Project was initially identified as the specialist short break provider for primary aged children. Since April 2019 when this did not go ahead, we have been working really hard to find a replacement provider.
We listened to your feedback about when you wanted the service, so we have asked providers to deliver a Saturday club for 4 hours. We advertised for quotes however no other providers came forward. We have spoken to different providers to find out why they haven’t been able to deliver in line with our request and what we could do differently in the future.
One of the difficulties we face is there is a very small number of local organisations who can provide the quality of support needed and are registered with Ofsted - which is a requirement when providing more than 2 hours care for children aged under 8.
As an interim offer, we worked with Willow Dene School to provide a Saturday activity for primary aged children with complex needs from May-July 2019. We have had very positive feedback from families about this provision. However, we know that many families wanted more time with this provision than they were allocated. We worked really hard to ensure each eligible child received some time which did mean not all families got their preferred number of hours allocated. Wherever possible, alternative options of support were discussed and offered.
We are working on a further offer for this group of children which we should be announcing before September 2019. This will be an offer for a Saturday activity for children aged 4-11 with complex needs. Please keep an eye on the Local Offer or contact the Short Breaks team for details after September 1st.
We are continuing to work on developing the overall offer for children aged 4-11 with complex needs within the borough to ensure that we can provide safe and fun activities for these children in our future commissioning arrangements. This includes working in partnership with MetroGAVS (an organisation that supports capacity and capability in the voluntary sector), children and young people, parents and carers, Greenwich Parent Voice and local organisations to do this.
Core Offer of 100 hours
We appreciate this is a new system and that it takes some time for everyone to get used to. We also know families of primary aged children, especially those aged 4-7 have not all been able to use their full core offer of 100 hours because of this and we appreciate how difficult this has been. We have made arrangements to reduce the charge for specialist packages for these families in recognition that they have not been able to use the full offer.
For children aged 8-11 with complex needs, we have worked with the other providers in the programme to provide support. In many cases, a suitable alternative option has been offered to the family including a different provider.
Where a family has been in receipt of a specialist package of support, we have worked with the family to identify options around what support is available outside of the Short Breaks Programme. Where necessary a change in their individual packages of care can be agreed.
We appreciate you have not had as much choice and control over how you access your core offer for children aged 4-11 and that many families have not been able to access their full core offer hours due to limited capacity in the interim provision. This is not going to be the case long term and we are confident we will build sufficient capacity for this group of children in the future.
Where can I go if I need help now?
In the meantime if you are the parent of a primary school aged child with complex needs and you are worried about what you can do, please contact the Short Breaks team who can talk to you about the options available to you on 02089213002.
When you call in, you will speak to a Short Break Officer who can explain the Short Break Programme and answer any of your questions about the Core Offer of 100 hours, what you are eligible for and how to access the provision.
If you are in receipt of a specialist package of support, and you are worried your child’s needs are not being met within the existing support, please contact the Disabled Children Social Work Team to talk about how you can use your current package in the meantime on 02089212599.
Thank you for your patience. We understand the importance of these support services for your family and we are doing all that we can to get this right.
Head of SEND Social Care
ROYAL BOROUGH OF GREENWICH SHORT BREAKS CORE OFFER
We are introducing a new core offer of Short Breaks for 2019-2021, available to families with children or young people with disabilities aged under 18 years old.
What does this mean for me?
How do I know if I am eligible?
To access a short break in RBG you must have:
How do I use my 100 hours?
What will this cost me?
Why is there a cost?
How can I find out more information?
14th April, 2019 - Deadline to send in your preferences for how you would like to use your core offer hours between May 1st- October 31st, including your summer holiday provision.
23rd April, 2019 – We will notify you of your allocation, except for your summer scheme allocation. This will be considered with the providers to ensure fair allocation across the provisions.
15th May, 2019- We will notify you of your summer holiday provision.
10th September, 2019- Deadline to send in preferences for how you would like to use your core offer hours between November 1st- April 30th, 2019.
Our short breaks offer has been developed in response to feedback from children, young people, families and professionals.
Over the past three years we have actively looked for feedback by:
- Talking to children and young people at short breaks activities
- Talking to the SEND young people’s representative group in Greenwich (ACE)
- Talking to parents and carers at short breaks events, other events, focus groups and in standing meetings.
- Talking to professionals from health, social care, education and the voluntary sector
- Asking families to feedback on services
- Asking for feedback from parents and young people as part of the contract
- monitoring process.
- Working with Greenwich Parent Voice on an on-line short breaks survey
- Carrying out a Royal Greenwich on-line short breaks survey.
Young people and parents have also been involved in the commissioning process around
short breaks. Royal Greenwich works closely with others, including Greenwich Parent Voice to support parents and carers in shaping short breaks services in Greenwich.
Recent changes to short breaks in Greenwich have been made in response to what people have told us:
- ASD youth provision to address a gap in short break provision for young people
- with ASD
- Increased provision of weekend short breaks
- Increased offer of evening and after school short breaks
- More age appropriate activities from providers
- We are looking at increasing the range of support workers available.
- The range of opportunities available now meets the needs of those with the most complex needs.
- We are looking at new ways of allocating short breaks to ensure that this is fair and transparent.
What is the RAS?
This Resource Allocation System (RAS) questionnaire is designed to help families participate in decision making about social care funding and is shared openly with them. This tool looks specifically at short break and care support needed for the child/young person. The RAS questionnaire is a tool the family and social worker/keyworker use to work together to establish the level of support needed. Families should have copies of the questionnaire in advance so that that they can score themselves before meeting with the social worker/keyworker. This gives the family the opportunity to consider the questions and to begin to identify for themselves what level of support they think is needed. The family should have the opportunity to be supported in this initial exercise if they wish. The questionnaire will then be completed jointly with a social worker during a visit when a joint score is agreed. The family have the opportunity to include comments at the end if they feel the score does not reflect their need or if there is discrepancy between what the family and professional have scored. During a review of support it may not be a social worker who completes the RAS with the family. At the review, the RAS may be updated with a Keyworker and the family.
If you have any question about this tool please contact the Disabled Children SW Team on 02089212599 or CWDT.Duty@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
To see the primary RAS allocation tool please click here
To see the secondary RAS allocation tool please click here
To see the RAS guidance notes please click here
Short Breaks 2019 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s);
We recognise that some families need more information around the new allocation of Short Breaks for 2019. In response to this please see below a list of FAQ’s that have come up. Should you feel like you need further explanation or more support please get in touch with the Short Break team on 0208 921 3002 or email@example.com
More information about the new core offer and all documents are available on the Local Offer website https://www.greenwichfamiliesinformation.org.uk/kb5/greenwich/fsd/advice.page?id=hzrQhrCY-T8
We recognise the importance of Short Breaks for families and want to ensure that you are clear about what is on offer and how you can access it. Families told us that more choice was needed as well as a fairer and more transparent way in which Short Breaks is offered. We have increased the amount of providers delivering short breaks and the new core offer of 100 hours allows us to ensure that all eligible families receive a minimum amount of support.
- What specialist service is there for my child with complex needs?
RBG have commissioned the Maypole project, Animal Days Out, All Kids Can, Greenwich and Lewisham Young Peoples Theatre and Willowdene to provide specialist services for primary and secondary aged children and young people during both term time and school holidays.
- Do I need to complete a self-assessment form if I already receive direct payments?
If you receive direct payments this means that you are in receipt of a specialist package of support from the Disabled Children Social Work Team. This means that you do not have to complete the self-assessment form and will only need to complete the preference part of the form and consent form and send into the short breaks team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to; The Short Break Team, Disabled Children Social Work Team, The Woolwich centre, 35 Wellington Street, SE18 6HQ
- I have more than one child with a disability; do I need to complete more than one self-assessment form?
Yes. You will need to complete a self – assessment form for each disabled child unless you are already in receipt of a specialist care package in which case you will only need to complete a separate preference form for each child.
- What does specialist and targeted mean?
There are three types of services on offer in the Royal Borough of Greenwich; these are broken down to Universal, Targeted and Specialist.
Universal: Universal services are available to all children & young people and can be accessed without an assessment.
Targeted: Targeted services are for children & young people who may need additional support to access services, or may need groups or services that are specifically designed to meet their needs. This can be access through the Core Offer with a self-assessment.
Specialist: Specialist services are for children & young people with severe and/or complex needs who are likely to require even more support than is available either through universal or targeted services. This service will require an assessment of need completed by a social worker. If your child is in receipt of a care package from the Disabled Children Social Work Team, then they are accessing a specialist short break.
- I am unsure if my child receives specialist or targeted support
If your child is in receipt of a care package from the Disabled Children Social Work Team, then they are accessing a specialist short break. If you are not already receiving a care package, please complete the self-assessment form. This will help us to identify if targeted or specialist provision is most appropriate for your child. If you are unsure on the type of provision that your child receives please get in touch with the short break team on 0208 921 3002 or by email at email@example.com
- How do I know how many hours to allocate to each provider that I choose?
You can choose how to allocate your hours based on what provision would be best to meet your Child’s outcomes as identified in their Education, Health and Care plan and/or Disabled Child Support Plan. We will look at your preferences and make a decision based on this as well as availably with each provider. These hours are not set in stone and you can change your provision or the amount of hours you wish to use during the year, though spaces will be based on availability.
- Why do you need to know my Childs outcomes from their education, health and care plan?
Whilst we recognise the importance of respite for the parent/ carer, we need to ensure that we are providing fun and exciting opportunities for children and young people that will support their growth and development in line with their assessed outcomes and needs.
- I receive a personal budget or direct payments. Do we pay the provider cost in the brochure on top of our £500 contribution from our support packages?
Yes. All families will need to pay the cost advertised by providers on top of their contribution. If for any reason you are unable to make payment, you can have this conversation with the provider directly who may be able to support you. Please note that the contribution fee is an annual charge to access the short breaks provision each year.
- Do I have to use the whole 100 hours in the core offer?
You do not have to use the full 100 hours if you choose. For example some families may want to only access activities in the summer rather than all year round.
- Does that mean that I contribute less from my package of support?
Currently to access the core offer you will still need to pay a contribution from your package of support. This equates to 38 hours of your package of support either from direct payments or agency care support.
- If I didn’t want to use the 100 hours core offer –can I still access the services from the providers advertised?
All providers advertised offer services outside of the commissioned RBG short breaks offer. You can speak with providers directly to find out information on costs.
- Can we just turn up to the family splash at the centres in the brochure?
In order to access the family splash sessions families need to complete a short registration form. Families will then be issued with a card and this will enable them to come and go freely during the advertised sessions. Families can sign up to sessions via the below links;
The Greenwich Centre: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/greenwich-disability-family-splash-tickets-59691516934
- How can I access the Easter taster sessions?
Please contact the providers directly to access the Easter taster sessions. Please see more info on the taster sessions on the local offer. https://www.greenwichfamiliesinformation.org.uk/kb5/greenwich/fsd/advice.page?id=0_l5eOhbDSs
- I can’t get hold of a provider- what do I do?
If you are unable to get hold of a provider and are concerned that your child will miss out on provision please get in touch with the short breaks team on 0208 921 3002 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
- What if I miss the deadline of the 14th April to get my preferences in?
If you miss the deadline still send your preferences and self- assessment form (where applicable) to the Short Breaks team as soon as you can. We will allocate provision based on availability whilst trying to take into account your preferences.
- Where is the short break offer on weekends?
Charlton Athletic Community Trust, New Lodge, Willow Dene and All Kids Can are offering a Saturday provision. There are 2 swimming sessions available on Sundays. Please contact providers directly should you wish to find out more information on what activities are on offer.
- Some of the Easter taster sessions are taking place after the deadline date for completing the preferences form, how can I choose which provider to use moving forward?
We understand that this is a new process and with new providers you may feel unsure about whom to access. You can have initial conversations with providers to get a sense as to who you want to use. You can speak with the Short Break team or a duty social worker about the options. An option may be to make your preferences based on the types of activities your child enjoys and the times you want the support (i.e. term time, holiday, etc.).As mentioned above, you can always change your preferences as the year goes on, if you want to try a different provider.
- I use my Direct Payments to pay for a carer. If I don't want to have £500 deducted and want to use less than the 100 hours of the core offer so that I can keep using my direct payment for a carer is this possible?
At this time, to access the Core Offer we need a contribution from individuals with personal budgets using a direct payment. This is because your package of support was agreed to help you resource additional support for your child. If you wish to access the commissioned service, some of that budget needs to be contributed. At this time, it is a one off contribution to access the offer, there is no reduced contribution to access less than the 100 hours. You don’t have to access the Core Offer and if you choose not to, you will not need to contribute the £500/ 38 hours of agency support.
- I keep getting the voicemail on the Short Breaks team phone number
If you are unable to get through to a member of the Short Break team over the phone please do leave a voicemail message and we will get back to you within 48 hours with a response. Alternatively you can email the team at email@example.com
- I have never has a social care assessment- can I access a short break?
If your child has an Education, health and care plan (EHCP) then you may be entitled to a short break. Please complete the self-assessment form available by download on the local offer website https://www.greenwichfamiliesinformation.org.uk/kb5/greenwich/fsd/advice.page?id=hzrQhrCY-T8 and send it to the short breaks team by email or post and a member of the team will be in touch with you.