Parents of disabled children complain about services – but individual staff praised

Almost half of parents who have a child with special needs or disabilities have complained about a service – but individual staff were praised for going the extra mile.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 13:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 10:58 am
Almost half of parents with a disabled child have complained about a service

Sheffield Parent Carer Forum says 44 per cent of parents in its survey had complained about a service, including informal verbal complaints, formal written complaints and legal action.

More than 700 parents of children and young people, aged up to 25, with special educational needs and/or disabilities gave feedback for a report called the State of Sheffield.

More than half of parents said that they found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to make a complaint.

The success rate was also low, with only 30 per cent of parents reporting that making a complaint had resolved the issue.

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The report says: “Complaints about education were far more frequent than complaints about health or social care services, and they were also more likely go down the formal or legal route.

“This may be due to the fact that complaints procedures in education are better publicised than in health and social care.

“When parents talk about good practice, they don’t usually mention systems and processes, but focus on people instead.

“Many parents told us about individual members of staff who had gone above and beyond to help their child and their family.”

A lot of families praised specific schools and services, including a range of NHS and local authority services, voluntary sector organisations and parent support groups.

Parents said training for them and staff was valued highly. This was particularly effective if it was provided by specialists in relation to an individual child, for example epilepsy nurses providing ongoing training and support for school staff.

Good support around transitions made a big difference and having a key worker was very helpful.

Parents valued joined-up services, especially where one professional or service takes on a co-ordinator role.

The full report can be read here