Kingston Richmond SEND Family Voices. (ARCHIVED)

SEND Family Voices (SFV) bring people together into a community to improve services, share support and strengthen a common voice. By ensuring families are heard, SFV empower children, young people and their families to obtain the best possible care and services.


  • From start: Yes
  • During process: Yes
  • In evaluation: No


  • Peer: No
  • Academic: No
  • PP Collaborative: Yes

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What We Did

SEND Family Voices (SFV) bring people together into a community to improve services, share support and strengthen a common voice. By ensuring families are heard, SFV empower children, young people and their families to obtain the best possible care and services.

Peer Support
SEND Family Voices are a completely volunteer led parent/carer group that offer peer support through e-mail and telephone. The telephone is known as the SFV Bathphone and enables parents to call another parent… Families tell SFV that putting families in contact with each is one of the most useful things they do. For instance, what is it like having a teenager with autism or what hoops do you have to go through to get a lift installed in your home? As a group SFV maintain close safeguarding and internal supervisory standards.

Developing the CAMHS Transformation plan with Richmond CCG lead children’s commissioner SFV hold open, qualitative meetings with families and seeking young people’s input (often via their parents). SFV have aimed to ensure that the whole family experience is reflected; that of the child/young person at the centre and the parents, siblings and wider family around them. SFV have also contributed to multi-disciplinary workshops on developing the plans and pathways within them.

Reasonable Adjustment, the consultations, the book and the film
To support the local authority in their duty to maintain an Accessibility Strategy, SFV developed a set of ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ with families. These took the form of consultations on ‘what does an reasonable adjustment look like’. SFV held three consultations with parents, and then asked the parents to invite their children/young people to one of three Chocolate Cake consultations to ask the same questions from their view.

Children and Young People’s voices contributed loudly to the booklet ‘I just want to be like everyone else’ and the subsequent film of the same name (both on our, and the Local Offer’s website). An unexpected policy on making School Trips accessible also came about directly as a result of this work.

SEND Family Voices have, over their 3 years, developed a strong community voice which in addition to directly influencing news services also supports a sense of well-being and community:
Thank you for the notes and for holding the event. It is wonderful to feel like I have a voice that can be heard.”
— 25th November 2016 – Parent (following our consultations on the Children & Young Peoples Plan for Kingston & Richmond)

The Children’s & Young People’s Plan for Kingston & Richmond
SFV held ten separate meetings, with over 100 parents, across both boroughs. The resulting report creates a standard set of data and qualitative feedback locally.

Contributing to a Public Health review on Risky Behaviour
SFV were asked to contribute to this review – via interview – and in doing so sought the views of the wider, pan-disability community. The resulting feedback covered three thought-provoking pages on the issues and risks faced by the breadth of the children and young people with SEND. This, in addition to the interview, provided Public Health with a direct perspective they had appeared to have before (locally).

Contributing to partnership boards and service development
SEND Family Voices sit on the following boards (this from a standing start three years ago):
– Accessibility Strategy board (Achieving for Children = AfC)
– AfC/SFV Co-Chairs for ‘Golden Binder’ Process Governance Group (= AfC’s EHCP processes)
– Children & Young People with Disabilities & Learning Difficulties Partnership Board (Richmond Council)
– Commissioning Paediatric Services (Kingston CCG)
– Emotional Health & Wellbeing Board (Richmond CCG)
– Learning Disabled Mortality Review Board
– Local Offer Development Group (AfC)
– London Strategic Managers Network meetings (London wide – NW Cluster rep)
– Monthly meetings with the Director of Children’s Services for Kingston & Richmond
– SEND Action Board (AfC)
– SENCo Forums (Kingston & Richmond)
By utilising the tenets within the SEND Reforms (Children & Family’s Act 2014, Section 19) SEND Family Voices have developed a strong community voice since their inception in June 2014.

1 SFV send weekly newsletter to their 650+ parent database and their 150+ professional database, plus all school SENCo’s. These newsletters are considered the de facto source of news on SEND locally.
2 SFV have developed a small, but strong, range of literature; from understanding the law around EHCPs to the recently CCG commissioned booklet ‘You are not Alone; a parents perspective on autism’.

Where there was once a sense of isolation for families of children with additional needs, there is now a ‘place to go’

Issues Tracking Log
SFV log all contacts that come into them, via e-mail, telephone or through meetings (approx 15 every fortnight during term time).

Where it was once difficult to get a true sense of families concerns, needs, there is now a reliable source of data which can be cut according to subject.

The Golden Binder
Realising the complexity of the new EHC Plans, SFV wrote and co-produced The Golden Binder (aka Support for children and young people with SEND). SFV collaborated with Education, Health, Social Care, Schools and Families to write the Golden Binder. To keep the costs down, SFV collated the Binders over a weekend.

Where once families and professionals had different information, now everyone has the same information about processes, what to expect and who does what.

Is there any more information you would like to add ?

Please take the time to visit SEND Family Voices’ website The Richmond CAMHS transformation programme and Plan since 2015 has been co-designed, developed and delivered with SEND Family Voices. They have been truly amazing in tirelessly leading the active involvement and engagement of parents/carers, families and other local voluntary organisations in our CAMHS transformation journey so far.


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