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 2016 to 31st March 2017
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 160 families registered as full members with an additional 250 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 and accesses the networks of support groups throughout the county to enable greater outreach and feedback.
None of the trustees have resigned their office during the period. 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 provide financial administration for the South East Region and continue to offer support to other forums.
In the year ending 31st March 2017, the Charity received grants from the Department of Education (through a scheme administered by Contact) and Buckinghamshire County Council. It did not undertake any fundraising.
The total income for the period was £21,594.
During the year the Charity expended £25,766.
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 £4,172.
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 Steering Group agreed to use this to enable the development and delivery of the Outcomes training project which is now being overseen by Bucks SENDIAS.
The Charity has adopted Financial Control, Safeguarding and Equality & Inclusion policies in accordance with best practice guidance from Contact and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums
The Charity has a small but very effective Steering Group as well as a well-trained and connected wider group engaged in parent participation. This has enabled us to a great extent 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. However, there are increasing opportunities and our ability to make most use of them will only be possible if more parents offer to help.
Whilst we maintain a website providing information to our members and others without the need to direct all of these through a third party and we have a closed Facebook page, we are aware that more time is needed to develop these online resources and that during this last year we have left too much to other groups such as SENDIAS to keep parents informed of key developments. Once again, there is a need for additional help in this key area. We also continue, when possible, to update our publicity material; we 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; 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 Partnership Board; Bucks SENDIAS; Short Breaks PAG; CAMHS PAG and Autism Partnership 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; had stands at third party events to raise awareness of our work; and we held a day conference on social care.
The introduction to social care event held at Green Park in March was significant on two levels. Firstly, the presentations by Ruth Goodman (a parent carer) and by Rona Hopwood & Jo Keech (county officers) as well as the subsequent Q&A provided all the participants with clarification on the fundamentals of the provision of social care for SEND CYP that they had struggled for years to obtain. At the same time, there was a breaking down of the stigma associated with social care and its involvement with families which can often make parent carers reluctant to ask for help. As a result of the event, we have been active in providing insight into the current integration of the SEND and Children with Disabilities teams but also developing contacts in the post 16 and Transitions teams to seek to improve service levels and also provision for CYP moving from child to adult services. The SEND reforms extended the opportunity for education through to 25 for those CYP for whom it was relevant and in a similar way it is necessary to ensure that other support services also have a seamless operation beyond 18.
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. The introduction of the inspection of SEND provision by the DfE through OFSTED/CQC has most certainly increased the interest in and willingness to share good practice about coproduction at a regional level.
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 have also been active in the Autism Partnership Board and have welcomed a renewed commitment to a CYP strategy for Autism.
We were a full partner in the re-commissioning of the therapies (with the exception of the tender bid stage) but we are forging a strong working relationship with the new provider to include a Parent Advisory Group, membership of the Stakeholder Group and to be active in the process of contract monitoring. With the end of the Therapies work, we have turned our attention to Short Breaks recommissioning. This will again require engagement with parents on current experiences as well as consultation on the draft strategy. We will again be working hard to ensure that the provision works to benefit the maximum number of SEND CYP and their families. However, there are increasing signs that this and other key services are set to be adversely affected by reductions in Council budgets. Whilst we are specifically not allowed to campaign, we will continue to make known the damage that can be done and increased pressures which reducing any service which supports SEND CYP and their families will bring.
Whilst this has been the third year for the implementation of the reforms arising from the Children and Families Act 2014 and for many forums in other areas a time of embedding, in this Local Area this has actually been a time of considerable review. The introduction of inspections by OFSTED of Local Area SEND provisions, along with an acknowledgement that services need to be delivered in a more effective and integrated manner, has culminated in a new SEND strategy and to a period of questioning about how best to improve outcomes for CYP with SEND. As the parent carer forum for the Local Area we have devoted considerable time to encouraging those asking these questions and by giving as loud a voice as possible to the cares and concerns of the parents and families of CYP with SEND.
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
21st November 2017 Andrew Howard
INDEPENDENT EXAMINER’S REPORT
At the request of the Trustees, I have examined the receipts and payments account for the year ending 31st March 2017, 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 2017.
22nd November 2017
Please open the full PDF document to view the Financial Statement detail.