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Commissioning for Children with Disabilities - including Short Break Services

Report | December 2010

This report examines developments in local authority-based commissioning of services for children with disabilities, especially short breaks, in the context of a national drive for more flexible, personalised support and a legal requirement for transparency in eligibility criteria. The first part of the report assesses an illustrative sample of activities carried out by local authorities in order to improve availability and flexibility of services and demonstrate good commissioning practice under the ‘Aiming High for Disabled Children’ programme. The latter part scrutinises the coalition government’s agenda in this area since the May 2010 election, its implications for future funding of short breaks, and the prospect of further reforms likely to affect commissioners.

The first part of the report looks specifically at the following improvement measures:

  • Facilitating the market to deliver more services
  • Making best use of available physical resources
  • Forging partnership arrangements with PCTs to make best use of total resources
  • Developing a more personalised approach to provision
  • Supporting improved transitions to adulthood
  • Understanding costs and impact of short break provision

Analysis of post-election policy finds mixed messages for the future funding of short breaks, with the end of ring-fenced funding under the Aiming High programme, but ‘additional’ support promised for supporting children with disabilities and their families from 2011/12, and £20m a year earmarked for short-break support. It also looks briefly at the implications of the 2010 health White Paper, and other proposed legislation, including plans to force local authorities to publish clear eligibility criteria for families with disabled children looking to access short break funding.

For further information please contact Katy Burch at IPC


Tel: 01225 484088