Parents’ group slams ‘failing’ Tameside Council

TAMESIDE Council has been slammed for the way it is ‘failing the most vulnerable children’ by a key body.

Ofsted downgraded the authority’s children’s services department to inadequate in a scathing recent report following an inspection.

Now the Tameside Parent/Carer Forum – made up of those looking after people from 0-25-years-old with additional needs – has had enough.

In a lengthy letter seen by The Correspondent, it states it ‘no longer trusts nor has effective working relationships with directors’ to make sure it is doing its job properly.

It also believes the council is not fulfilling its statutory duties, is failing to listen, and ‘is demonstrating an openness about how it is not willing to accommodate the precious time of families while at the same time, projecting the guise of working together.’

The forum also hits out at the lack of consultation over a huge rise in fees for adult social care, a proposed closure of an autism resource base at Denton’s St Thomas More school and what will happen to the current Audenshaw site of Hawthorns School when its new facility is built in Hattersley.

In the letter, it states: “The Tameside Parent Carer Forum no longer trusts or has effective working relationships with existing directors to ensure that the most vulnerable children, young people, and their families in Tameside are having their needs met, kept safe and are able to access the same opportunities as their non-SEND peers.

“Legally and ethically the local authority is not fulfilling their statutory duties and is demonstrating an openness about how it is not willing to accommodate the precious time of families whilst at the same time, projecting the guise of working together.

“No members of the Forum were invited to discuss how to deliver the proposal with other stakeholders and therefore the local authority has failed in fulfilling the co-production standards that underpin the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) code of practice.

“The Forum believes that the local authority is failing to listen to the most vulnerable children, young people, and their families across Tameside.

“Subsequently, this would be a perfect opportunity for it to demonstrate some positive action, providing evidence of how it is taking a more supportive approach and clearly signalling a departure from the past – a past that has been well-documented in public reports.”

Now operated by Our Kids Eyes, the Droylsden-based Tameside Parent/Carer Forum has, according to the council, been subject of work to ‘re-energise’ it.

According to the authority: “A parent carer forum brings together parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities and/or special educational needs to support each other, share information and influence local policy, service design and delivery.

“This means making sure decisions made locally meet the needs of our children and young people.”

However, according to the letter it has not been consulted on several matters.

On the current Hawthorns site, on Lumb Lane in Audenshaw, it says: “There has never been any mention to the Tameside Parent Carer Forum about what will happen to the existing site of Hawthorns School in Audenshaw.

“This is a failure of co-production.”

On the proposed removal of the autism resource at St Thomas More, on Town Lane in Denton, which would see a five-year phase out but, according to Our Kids Eyes, ‘could affect younger pupils as if it goes ahead there will be no pupils accepted in September,’ the forum also claims it was not told.

It adds: “The Forum was not aware of the Notice Statement regarding the formal consultation on the removal of Resource Base Provision at the school until an extremely anxious parent contacted the Forum on January 5.”

And on proposed adult social care charges, which they say could see fees for young people aged over 18 with disabilities to access daytime activities/services rise from £3 to £64.10 a day, it claims a complete breakdown in communication.

It states: “Shockingly, the Forum found out about the Adult Social Care consultation by accident.

“One of our steering group members saw it on Tameside Council’s Facebook page on February 13.

“The ramifications of this consultation have caused huge upset to our parent/carers and young people who are facing a 2,000 per cent increase in the day rate.

“As a starting point, the Forum would like to gain some understanding on why they were not part of the consultation process and where the figure of £64.10 has come from?”

The Correspondent contacted Tameside Council for comment or a response to the Parent/Carer Forum’s concerns in the letter but has not received one yet.

One Reply to “Parents’ group slams ‘failing’ Tameside Council”

  1. Why am I not surprised that the council has not replied or replaced the councilor in charge. TFCIT (Tme For Change In Tameside.)

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