Facilitating the coproduction of EHCPs at Surrey County Council
We often speak to local authorities a few months into their adoption of our Invision360 online EHCP audit tool. So when we got a chance to discuss the introduction Invision360 at Surrey County Council, we were keen to learn of the immediate benefits.
We catch up with Surrey County Council’s Invision360 coordinator, Ashleigh Lowe, and SEND Quality Manager, Rebecca Doody. Together, they tell us about the positive impact Invision360 is having on multi-agency EHCP coproduction.
It’s very early days but the quality of EHCPs is already climbing up the agenda for agency partners as the understanding of what ‘good’ looks like widens.
Could you tell us about Surrey County Council and how its SEND team is structured?
Rebecca: “Sure. To provide some context, Surrey County Council is one of the largest local authorities in the country. Given the size of the local authority, it is divided into four separate quadrants. In a way, it feels like four mini local authorities.
“Each Quality Manager links with a specific quadrant. We currently have 11000 active EHCPs with new ones coming in all the time. The high level of need means we have to have a clear focus on quality assurance and improvement.”
How were EHCPs being audited before the introduction of Invision360?
Rebecca: “Well, we had and still do have a team of SEND quality managers – me being one of them - linked to each of the quadrants. Each quality manager runs an established auditing programme, which focusses on final EHCPs and takes a deep dive into selected cases. Before the online tool, this only happened within the SEND team itself and so it was extremely focussed.”
How has the Invision360 online EHCP audit tool had a positive impact?
Ashleigh: “We’re at the beginning of our EHCP improvement journey but already the Invision360 audit tool has enabled us to build on our focussed approach and extend it into other agencies. Essentially, it facilitates coproduction and the participation of wider services in the quality of EHCPs.
“Already, the tool is working well for us as a proactive training tool for those users who do not work on EHCPs all the time. For instance, I write EHCPs and gather all the information together. People who write the individual parts of the plan do not normally get the chance to see what a ‘good’ looks like across an entire plan. What we’re trying to do with the help of Invision360, is to encourage other people to take a holistic look at an entire plan so that they understand what ‘good’ looks like. They can then use this information when writing their part of a plan.
“From a coordinator’s point of view, the wider participation is encouraging. The analysis of the quality of EHCPs is becoming a far more prominent feature of discussions between partner agencies and our quadrants.”
What has been the impact of the online tool on the auditing process?
Rebecca: “It makes life so much easier. Invision360’s online audit tool is simple to use and has made the auditing of EHCPs far quicker. It’s a system that’s already set up and based on carefully considered criteria on what makes a ‘good’ EHCP. Selecting tick boxes and receiving helpful prompts makes the entire process seamless.”
How would you rate The Invision360 online audit tool for being subjective?
Ashleigh: “Invision360’s tool removes subjectivity by guiding users on a step-by-step basis as they prepare their part of a plan to set criteria. However, there’s still a good balance because you can document your own comments if you need to.”
What would you say to another local authority thinking about investing in Invision360’s online audit tool?
Ashleigh: “Just go for it! While the change can be tricky, the impact far outweighs any challenges. Plus, the Invision360 team are incredibly friendly and supportive; it has been a real collaborative effort.”
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