West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2018-11-12
End date: 2018-12-23
Results: 2019-03-05

Budget Proposal 2019/20: Special Needs Advice and Counselling Support Service (SNACS)

This consultation is closed.


This is one of 14 budget proposals for 2019/20. You can view the full list online.

You can also view budget consultations from previous years.

The Special Needs Advice and Counselling Support (SNACS) Services, is specifically for parents or carers of children with disabilities. Caring for a disabled child can be very challenging and takes its toll psychologically and emotionally on parents. Parents sometimes suffer with depression / low mood as a result of the pressures and challenges they face, and this potentially impacts on their ability to support their child. Whilst counselling can usually be accessed by those who need it through the NHS, the SNACS Service was set up to respond to the specific needs of parents caring for a disabled child. Counsellors are recruited who have specific knowledge and experience in disability, and an understanding of the impact on families of having a disabled child.

We currently provide the SNACS Service with annual funding of £10,000. Counselling sessions cost £50 per hour to run, so there are 200 hours of counselling available per year. The number of counselling sessions offered to an individual parent varies according to need, but on average a block of 10 sessions is offered. This means that approximately 20 people can use the service per year.

Demand generally exceeds supply, so the funding usually runs out before the end of the financial year. When this happens, parents who wish to access the service will be signposted to other services and agencies which may be able to offer support, such as the NHS and voluntary organisations.

Legislation requirements

There is no statutory duty to provide this service.

What are we proposing?

To reduce the annual funding to the SNACS Service from £10,000 to £8,000 (a saving of £2,000 or 20%) from 1 April 2019.

What do we think the impact will be?

The current proposal will reduce the approximate number of counselling sessions available per year from 200 to 160, and therefore the number of people able to access the service from approximately 20 to 16.

As with the current service, those unable to access a specialist SNACS counsellor will be signposted to other sources of support, including counselling offered by the NHS and voluntary organisations, such as Newbury Family Counselling Service, the Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Care.

Please refer to the pdf icon Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) Stage One [270kb] for more details.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

No other options to reduce expenditure in this area have been identified.

Why we want your views

We would like to know how this proposal might impact you and the wider community, and any views you have on how we can minimise the impact of this proposed change.

All feedback will be considered at the Executive Committee on 14 February 2019. Following this, a final decision will be made at the Full Council meeting on 5 March 2019. The recommendations and your anonymised response will be posted on this page.

Please note: Social media discussions will not be monitored/considered as a valid response. 

What you told us

We received 15 responses to the consultation. A background to the proposal and outline of the responses can be found in the Consultation Summary Report.

What we did

An Equality Impact Assessment Stage Two was completed following the consultation.

The Full Council meeting on 5 March 2019 decided not to progress this proposal.

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