Whilst CCGs do not assumed their full statutory functions and powers until 1 April 2013, the Government has nonetheless announced that new legal duties are to be placed on CCGs from 2014.
The new duty will mean that by law, CCGs will have to secure services in education, health and care plans for children and young adults with special educational needs. This will include specialist services like physiotherapy, and speech and language therapy.
The rationale behind this new duty is that it will mean that health services work better with education and care services, and will help to ensure that councils, health professionals and volunteers come together to organise services.
In addition, a number of other reforms to the provision of services for children and young people with special educational needs should help to ensure that parents and their children are firmly in control eg through personal health budgets; the extension of support until the age of 25; more comprehensive health, education and care plans and better coordination between all the services that support children and their families. These reforms are being trialled in 31 pathfinder council areas, with up to £600,000 additional funding from the Government to support the measures.
This trial will continue until September 2014. The special educational needs reforms will be discussed at the committee stage of the Children and Families Bill in mid-March, and are set to become law in 2014.