THERE is a new joint approach to the provision of a service to help parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the Bradford district.

Bradford Council and NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have jointly commissioned the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) following a recent tender process.

The service is aimed at parents and carers of children and young people across the district aged from birth to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities, and those children too.

It helps them to work with schools and health and social care so that they have a good understanding of what support is needed and to make sure that it is put in place.

The service includes help in explaining reports and letters, making telephone calls and arranging meetings with schools and other professionals. It also works in partnership with other parent support groups to deliver joint training and share information to support families.

It will be provided by Barnardo’s Yorkshire, the current service provider.

Marium Haque, Deputy Director, Education and Learning at Bradford Council, said:, said: “We hope to continue the positive relationships already made with Barnardo’s and to jointly demonstrate the impact of the service on improving outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities and their families.

"We want parents and carers to be supported to play an active role in their child's or young person's education and to help to them to meet their child's or young person’s needs.”

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council's portfolio holder for Education, Employment and Skills, added: “This important service allows families to gain impartial advice and information about their child’s education, so they are empowered to make their own informed decisions and choices.

"I urge any families across our district to make contact with the service who have questions or would like further support.”

SENDIASS aims to improve the lives of parents and carers of children and young people aged from birth to 25 who have, or may have, special educational needs and disabilities, by providing impartial, accurate and confidential information, advice and support that is flexible and tailored to individual needs.

Ali Jan Haider, strategic director for keeping well at home, at NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Families can struggle to navigate the education, health and social care systems, which can add to the stress of dealing with their child’s additional needs. Services like SENDIASS are vital to support parents and carers and provide independent advice and information to help them and be more aware of the processes around health and social care as well as make informed choices of care their child receives.”

Debbie Jowett, team manager, at Barnardo’s Yorkshire, added: “Our advice covers a range of topics, including exclusions, queries about support in school, transport issues and a specific service to help families applying for an education, health and care plan. Most importantly, our support is tailored to the individual needs of the person. We have specially trained workers who have a wealth of experience working with children and families.

"They will help you to get your voice heard and make sure that your views and wishes are taken into consideration when it comes to decisions about your education or that of your child.”

Under the Children & Families Act 2014 local authorities must arrange for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) for whom they are responsible and their parents, and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to be provided with independent information and advice.

Following a successful tender process the new contract will run for two years.

The SENDIASS contract will be jointly managed by commissioners from the local authority and CCG.

SENDIASS are available during the Coronavirus pandemic, call 07391 516603 or email and a member of the SENDIASS team will get back in touch. As the current situation changes, the team will be contactable again on its usual office number, 01274 513300