West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2017-06-14
End date: 2017-07-23
Results: 2017-10-30

Draft Short Breaks Services Statement 2017

Have your say on our draft Statement

This consultation is now closed.

We'd like your views on our pdf icon draft Short Break Services Statement for 2017 [72kb]. You can view the Statement updated in 2016, online.

The statement is for parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities and additional needs. It explains what Short Breaks Services are available, eg daytime activities and overnight breaks in West Berkshire and how to access them.


If you have any questions about this consultation, please contact Juliet Penley (Project Lead Children and Family Services).


What you told us

There were 17 responses. 

When asked generally about the provision of short breaks services meeting the needs of disabled children, about a third of those that responded (5 individuals) said they agreed, and two thirds (12) did not. The reasons given from respondents who did not feel current provision meets needs were:

  • Not enough short breaks
  • Not sufficient variety
  • Breaks not long enough in duration
  • Did not meet needs of those children in mainstream school or with physical disabilities and/or medical needs.

In respect of mainstream and universal services about half (8) said they did not feel anything was missing from universal services. Those that disagreed felt that it was knowledge and information about the services which was hard to access. As a response to this and other feedback regarding information and the Local Offer, the council has started work to improve the website and provision of information which is planned to be completed by the end of 2017.

With regard to amount of short breaks, some respondents felt this was sufficient. Those respondents that disagreed (7) felt that services had reduced alongside funding reductions and key provision such as holiday care was now not sufficient. In respect of accessibility about (8) felt that services were not accessible to everyone primarily as services were not located across the district and transport presented a problem.

Respondents were asked about providers increasing fees to enable services to be more viable and only (2) said they disagreed. When asked about whether services currently met needs according to age and diversity, most people felt services were appropriate. Many respondents felt that the provision of direct payments or personal budgets to those that are entitled, was a helpful approach. Of those that did not, feedback was that they would like more directly accessible services, they did not feel it was easy to access and families needed to top up the amount allocated and sometimes fight for this service. Clearer guidance was also felt to be needed.

Feedback on the Short Breaks Services Statement was that two thirds of respondents felt it was useful and informative but needed to be easier to understand and shorter.

What we did

The responses and feedback has been read and analysed:
  • The Short Breaks Services Statement has been updated in the light of feedback. This is currently going through the formal process of council approval which will be finalised by 21st December 2017. It will then be published on the council’s website.
  • New contract awarded and work started on the upgrade of The Local Offer website which will improve accessibility, responsiveness and be more readily available on mobile devices
  • Limited council funding has been identified to be awarded out to organisations to provide those services which are most at risk when transition funding comes to an end. These services such as after school clubs and holiday play schemes were those identified by families as most needed, valued and they needed more of. Grants will be awarded from April 2018.
  • It is proposed that it will be a requirement that part of the council funding will support services outside Newbury and to the east of council area.
  • The council will continue to work closely with the SEND providers Forum was established in 2016 with the aim of ensuring that providers are working close together to sustain and improve services within the area. 
  • The council manages and delivers its own overnight short breaks service, Castle Gate, for those families who meet the eligibility threshold for children’s social care. This resource is being developed and expanded in terms of availability.