Chad charity APTCOO to play key development role

CHAD’S adopted charity in 2011, APTCOO, is set to play a key role in developing ways of supporting young people with special needs and disabilities after being appointed to work on a special Government pathfinder project.

The disabled children’s charity, based at Botany Park in Mansfield, will be working with Nottinghamshire County Council, NHS Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Primary Care Trust on what will be known as the ‘One Project’.

This will introduce a new system involving one single assessment, one plan and one budget for young people with special educational needs or disabilities and their families - ensuring they are identified and supported more effectively.

Health professionals, children’s social care workers and education professionals will work closely with the voluntary sector and parents to pilot the new assessment process and the development of a single ’Education, Health and Care plan’ or ‘One Plan’.

Coun Philip Owen, cabinet member for children and young people’s services at the County Council, said that it was good news that Nottinghamshire has been awarded a pathfinder by the Department for Education.

He said: “All the partners involved in the project are looking forward to working with APTCOO to deliver an imaginative project.

“This is a rare opportunity to overhaul the existing system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

“This will produce tangible benefits not only for children and young people in Nottinghamshire, but ultimately across the country.”

Among the methods the pathfinder will explore are how parents and carers could use a personal budget to commission and purchase the services and support outlined in the One Plan and how parents can access greater support as they and their child go through the assessment process.

It will also assess how improvements can be made to the support that is given to the most vulnerable children.

The One Project will focus on specific groups of children and young people to ensure that any changes to the process can address a range of complex needs.

Carol Burkitt, chief executive officer at APTCOO, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to work together with our health, education and social care partners on the One Project.

“Working together will make a real difference to the quality of our services, and we cannot wait to get started.”

Dr Kate Allen, consultant in public health at NHS Nottinghamshire County, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to work closely with families to further develop our work with the voluntary, education and social care sectors to improve outcomes for children and young people with disabilities.”

The results of this pathfinder and others that are going ahead elsewhere in the country will be evaluated and the findings will form the basis of a Government bill which will enshrine what works from each project in new legislation.