FACT (Families and Carers Together) Bucks

A Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registered in England Number 1155067
Registered Office PO Box 1032, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP22 9NL

TRUSTEES for the period 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016

Sarah SHAW
Penni THORNE *

Those Trustees noted with an asterisk shall retire at the AGM

Governance and Administration

FACT Bucks is the Parent Carer Forum for Buckinghamshire, as required by the Children and Families Act 2014.

The objects of the Charity are to embed a local, pan disability, parent led parent/carer forum; build parent/carer participation/co-production based on good practice; and share good practice, knowledge and expertise about parent participation to ensure that it continues to grow and strengthen.

The Charity is not able to undertake campaigns, pursue individual cases nor offer support and counselling to individual parent carers.

There are now 143 families registered as full members with an additional 216 families on our contact list. Whilst membership is open and free to all those with an interest in the needs of children and young people with SEND, there remains a reluctance to commit. Nevertheless the Charity seeks to represent all parent carers and makes all its activities open to all parent carers.

The Trustees noted above are the founding trustees who signed the Trust document at the time of the registration of FACT Bucks as a CIO. None of the trustees have resigned their office during the period. These founding trustees are required to resign by rota at each AGM and if they are willing to do so, seek re-election for a three year term. By their agreement, the remaining two trustees will do so at this AGM. The Charity may have up to 12 trustees elected by the AGM. Trustees must be members of the Charity.

Under the terms of the Trust, the Trustees have delegated away the day to day administration of the Charity to the Steering Group appointed by them.

The membership of the Steering Group for the period under review has been as follows:-

Andrew HOWARD (Chair and Secretary)
Ena SMALE (Admin and Membership Officer)
Penni THORNE (Treasurer)

The Steering Group meets monthly to manage the Charity; to co-ordinate parent participation; and to plan events. It also meets twice a year with a wider group of parents who represent the Charity on various bodies; twice a year with professionals to facilitate dialogue and encourage co-production; and also with representatives of Buckinghamshire County Council SEND & Commissioning teams, as well as BUCKS SENDIAS to ensure effective co-ordination of activities.

The Charity is a member of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums. We attend regular meetings for our area, discussing various topics matters with other parent carer forums. We alternate hosting these meetings and continue to offer support to other forums.


In the year ending 31st March 2016, the Charity received grants from the Department of Education (through a scheme administered by Contact a Family) and Buckinghamshire County Council. It did not undertake any fundraising.

The total income for the period was £24,999.

During the year the Charity expended £25,352.

The main items of expenditure were payments to parent carers for their time and expenses in participation and/or co-production; the administration of the Charity; the provision of a website; training of parents to participate and the staging of certain events.

The operating deficit for the year was £353.

The Steering Group have resolved that a balance of £8,000 being the equivalent of 4 months expenditure should be held in reserve since the payment of income grants is subject to annual application processes that delay receipt of funds. The remainder of the General Reserve is available to support the work of the Charity.

The Charity has adopted Financial Control, Safeguarding and Equality & Inclusion policies in accordance with best practice guidance from Contact a Family and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums


The Charity has a very effective Steering Group as well as a well-trained and connected wider group engaged in parent participation. This has enabled us to ensure that we take every opportunity to make the voice of parent carers heard in the most co-ordinated and effective manner possible using the skills of the members to maximum effect.

In this, the second full year of the implementation of the reforms to SEND introduced in September 2014, we have been engaged in the process of embedding the reforms. We have relayed the experiences of parent carers of the new systems to those who operate them to enable the continuous improvement of the processes and hence the outcomes for SEND CYP. The newly constituted SEND Operations Group, in which we have a strong presence, is a clear example of the commitment of the various elements within the Local Area to the ongoing improvement of the services and processes relating to SEND CYP. Such signs of cooperation and coproduction are also evident in the development of the current statement of readiness and related action plan that have been developed in preparation for the inspection of the Local Area by OFSTED and the CQC which may occur at any time in the next five years.

We continue to maintain a website providing regular updates to our members and others without the need to direct all of these through a third party. We have initiated, very recently, a closed Facebook page, which we are learning to use as part of our range of communication tools. We continue to update our publicity material; have issued two newsletters; taken advertising space within a County magazine for Carers; and contributed to the County SEND newsletter to schools and SEND parents.

We have provided members for co-production of Local Offer; EHC Plans; Personal Budgets; re-commissioning of therapies; home to school transport & a personal budget for it, as well as Post 16/Transitions. We have provided members for the SEND Board; SALT Stakeholders; Carers Bucks; Bucks SENDIAS; Short Breaks PAG; and Autism Board.

We participated in a County wide conference for SENDCOs and other professionals on the SEND reforms; participated in the open meetings of BUCKS Healthwatch (including a presentation on SEND CYP mental health); had stands at the county Autism conference and a transitions event at Heritage House; and we held a day conference on mental health.

The introduction to child and adolescent mental health event held at Green Park in March was significant on two levels. Firstly, the presentation by Professor Stein and the subsequent Q&A provided all the participants with clarification on the fundamentals of mental health for SEND CYP that they had struggled for years to obtain. At the same time, the presentation by the new lead for CAMHS both clarified the significant service changes that are being implemented following the recommissioning exercise that we made a fundamental contribution towards but also was a step change in dialogue between parents and professionals in an area that is highly significant to many SEND families. As a result, they are to initiate a Parent Advisory Group (PAG) for CAMHS and we are offered a place on their stakeholders group.

A member who covers our admin also acts as our Membership Development officer, holding monthly drop in coffee mornings, attending other events to build contacts with potential members; and to increase our knowledge of the parent/carers we represent. We have more member contacts than this time last year.

We have participated in national and Champion training events for SEND reforms (often the only parent reps); we have attended national and regional NNPCF events; and we are actively promoting the development of a regional gathering of parent and professional representatives to develop local coproduction at a more strategic regional level. We took responsibility for regional funds in September.

The development of a parent focused training course on Outcomes which has been devised by a parent consultant using parent participation at every stage that we initiated in 2014-15, has now been completed. In this year c100 parents have participated in a course and the material developed is already in demand from professionals and schools. The ongoing delivery of the training will be overseen by SENDIAS (as training falls outside our area of activity) but we remain a partner in the ongoing development to ensure that it remains a tool for parents wanting to fully participate in the conversations determining the outcomes identified for their children and young people, as well as the determination of the resources required to achieve them.

We have used our membership places on the SEND Board, Autism Partnership Board and the SENDIAS Steering Group to further the aims of the charity. Within the SEND Board we have sought to ensure that there is continued dialogue and coordinated working between those within the Local Area with a responsibility for providing support to SEND CYP. We also made clear representation to the County Council about the budget cuts to services relating to children and young people especially Children’s Centres and Short Breaks. Whilst we were unable to secure a change in policy, we did have an acknowledgement that dialogue with parent carers before cuts are proposed would enable the Council to benefit from our unique perspective of their impact. We have also been active in the Autism Partnership Board and have welcomed a renewed interest in and commitment to a CYP strategy for Autism.

We have been a full partner in the re-commissioning of the therapies. The initial fact finding exercise was a very successful engagement with families and the response levels were very encouraging. The exercise has not progressed as quickly as originally planned due to issues arising from central government’s proposals for alterations to the funding of County Education budgets but we are confident for continued progress and full coproduction during the next year.

Public Benefit

We declare that we have had due regard to the Charity Commission guidance on public benefit in exercising our power and duties.

Approved by the Trustees

26th August 2016

Andrew Howard


At the request of the Trustees, I have examined the receipts and payments account for the year ending 31st March 2016, along with the related paperwork.

In my opinion, the financial statement that follows gives a fair view of the financial activity of the Charity in the year ending 31st March 2016.

Jo-Ann Potts

27th August 2016


Please open the full PDF document to view the Financial Statement detail.