Building a more robust EHCP QA framework in Norfolk
A few months into adopting the online Invision360 EHCP audit tool, Norfolk County Council is already seeing improvements in its EHCP QA process.
So, we thought we’d interview QA Manager EHCP, Mel White, who explains how Invision360 is helping the council coproduce a “shared understanding of what ‘good quality’ looks like.”
Before we go into detail, could you summarise your SEND team structure?
Absolutely. Norfolk is a large rural county, and so our SEND team is split into three geographical teams. There is also a dedicated post-16 team and a team concentrating on initial assessments and plans.
What was the process for your EHCPs before adopting the Invision360 EHCP audit tool?
Before adopting Invision360’s EHCP audit tool, our quality assurance processes were primarily led by individual team mangers and included joint audit activity by the SEND team and the Designated Clinical Officer team. However, with some difference in practice across the teams, the process was objectively less robust than it could have been.
How has the Invision360 online EHCP audit tool made a positive impact at Norfolk?
From experience, I would say that the Inivision360 has, has been a positive influence in several ways.
Firstly, it has allowed us to immediately start a robust programme of EHCP auditing activity, which is a huge advantage. One of the best things about the tool is that after a concentrated period of QA activity, there’s a clear baseline of evidence that we can benchmark against.
Secondly, and this really is important, it has been very useful within QA discussions focused on enhancing existing QA processes. With the help of the Invision360 audit tool, we are building a more detailed EHCP QA framework. One that is coproduced with stakeholder groups setting out a shared understanding of what ‘good quality’ looks like.
How did you use the tool in the first six months?
We started the process with an initial core group of auditors from our SEND operational team and Designated Clinical Officer team. Then, using the Invision360 audit tool, they undertook a large-scale audit of new EHCPs. This was to establish baseline data, help inform the drafting of a new EHCP QA Framework, and to work through any functionality issues with the team at Invision360.
Afterwards, more focused audit cycles were carried out. This was for certain cohorts such as those children with EHCPs who are elected home educated.
Within the first couple of months, all EHCP coordinators and reviewing officers were trained to use the Invision360 tool. They now use it to self-evaluate their own plans. Undoubtedly, this opportunity for reflection and wider discussion is valuable.
What improvements have you already seen in the quality of EHCPs?
Very early on, we saw improvements. For example, the large-scale audit using the tool highlighted certain inconsistencies in drafting approaches, which we quickly addressed. Subsequently, through further audit cycles, we’ve been able to evidence improvement in quality as a result.
Crucially, the tool has also highlighted key areas for improvement. Each of these areas now has a workstream underway to improve quality and impact for all Norfolk children and young people with EHCPs.
What has the impact been on the auditing process – how easy is the tool to use?
As an EHCP auditing tool, Invision360 is very straightforward to use. The initial training resources for auditors are also good. But by far, the biggest benefit to the auditing process has been the convenience of having all the auditing activity captured in one place. Plus, we can run reports straight off the tool.
What would you say to another local authority considering the tool?
We would recommend investing in Invision360. As a tool produced by professionals outside of your team/LA, it provides a useful level of objectivity. Additionally, Invision360 has been enhanced by the feedback from the many local authorities who have been using it since its inception.
Interested in finding out more about our tools? Book a free 30 minute demo today, with our Head of Partnerships, Mark Andrews.