Creating the role of a “SEND Strategic Lead” in a healthcare provider in Northumbria

A case study on Northumbria's approach to creating the role of a “SEND Strategic Lead” in a healthcare provider.

  • Theme: Strategic partnership working/leadership and governance
  • Strength: Good
  • Breadth of Impact: Promising
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In 2019, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHCT) created the role of “SEND Strategic Lead”. The role was designed to improve governance of SEND within the Trust, to ensure that there was a strong health provider (as well as a health commissioner) voice in SEND partnership discussions, to strengthen quality assurance of Trust contributions to the SEND agenda, build workforce understanding of SEND, and drive improvement in SEND services. After 12 months, the role was evaluated and the decision was taken that the Trust should continue to have a designated SEND Strategic Lead. The concept of having a SEND Strategic Lead has since been replicated in a neighbouring Trust. Since its creation, working alongside DCOs (Designated Clinical Officers), having the role of a SEND Strategic Lead has ensured that there is a strong provider voice within the SEND partnerships of which the Trust is part, built understanding of SEND within the Trust’s workforce, and helped to drive improvements in the quality and timeliness of health service contributions to EHC needs assessments and plans.

The SEND Effective Practice Evidence Framework considers that the “strength of evidence” of this case study is good – the role has been evaluated and findings shared internally, and has been sustained for four years. The “breadth of impact” of this case study is promising – there is evidence of impact in terms of feedback from professionals and outcomes for young people.