Recycling and rubbish collection days are changing for some households in Mendip and South Somerset. Read about the changes and how they may affect you.

What is Section 23?

Under Section 23 of the Children and Families Act 2014, Somerset Council is responsible for all children and young people with SEND in Somerset.

They are responsible for a child or young person if they have been identified as someone who has or may have special educational needs.

Health professionals and health bodies, all have a legal duty under Section 23 and this duty covers

  • Integrated Care Boards (ICBs)
  • NHS Trusts
  • NHS Foundation Trusts
  • paediatricians
  • GPs
  • health visitors
  • therapists
  • other community healthcare professionals
  • any other health professional currently working with children

Why does a health professional need to discuss this with me?

Health professionals and health bodies, all have a legal duty under Section 23 of the Code of Practice to notify Somerset Council of any child under statutory school age (under the age of five years) who they consider may need to have some extra provision made for them when they start school.

Why is this information needed?

The Council will use this information to help them to plan education services and ensure that in future years they have enough education places in the right areas of Somerset. This also puts support in place to ensure the needs of all children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) are met.

What will happen?

Any health professional currently working with your child, including paediatricians or therapists will talk to you about your child’s difficulties and inform you if they believe that your child may have special educational needs when they start school.

This could be in a variety of different areas including – learning delays, communication difficulties or physical difficulties. They will ask your permission to notify the Council of this. If another professional has already asked your permission, then you will be able to let them know.

What if they improve and don’t need extra help?

We know that children develop and change greatly during their preschool years, so your child may improve and not actually need much extra support. Even if this happens, it is better that Somerset Council have this support in place, just in case. It is better to ensure support is available, but not needed rather than needed and not available.

Will this notification mean that my child will automatically get extra help?

No, this notification is to help planning on a wide scale so will not in itself lead to any direct support. There are other mechanisms of identifying and meeting your children’s needs and should your child’s early years provider identify that your child requires additional support, known as SEN Support, they will discuss with you why they think that this is necessary and what support will be available to support your child and yourselves.

Respecting you, your privacy and any information you share with us

It is important to understand that your practitioner has a legal duty to share information with Somerset Council under Section 23 of The Children and Families Act 2014. This will help them work together and to improve services for families.

Each agency providing a service to you is responsible for keeping your personal information secure and up to date. Information about you is protected by law and must be treated carefully.

You have the right to ask the agency supporting you, what information they have and what they are using it for. You also have the right to complain to the regulator: Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

More information

Phone Customer Contact on 0300 123 2224
Email: childrens@somerset.gov.uk

Last reviewed: January 18, 2024 by Helly

Next review due: July 18, 2024

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