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From 2011 all local authorities must complete a Short Breaks Assessment and is intended to sustain the short breaks provision that have been started through the Aiming High programme.

The Short Breaks Assessment requires all local authorities to complete an analysis of their under 18 population and consult a diverse range of people and organisations; these include disabled children and their families, the short breaks providers and all the relevant stakeholders.

There is a legal duty to analyse the gaps in local provision and to agree the delivery of services that are clearly linked with the strategic priorities of the Children's Trust.

The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 come into force on 1st April 2011. Short breaks for disabled children have developed across the country following significant investment between 2009 and 2011, under the Aiming High for Disabled Children Programme.

The next challenge for local areas will be to sustain the short breaks provision they have developed and within two months of the regulations coming into force, local authorities will be required to prepare and publish an assessment of the sufficiency of short breaks provision in their area.

We work with a growing number of local areas across the country. This includes developing commissioning strategies for short breaks, undertaking consultation events with disabled children and families, delivering training to providers to enter the short breaks market through workforce development as well as assisting and advising local areas on eligibility criteria for short breaks that fully comply with the legislation.

The duty to provide a range of services will present local authorities with very significant challenges and coincides with unprecedented pressures on the resources that will be available following the comprehensive spending review.

The services include day-time care in the homes of disabled children, overnight care in the home, educational or recreational activities outside the home, available in the evenings, at weekends and during school holidays. This also coincides with the policy shift towards personalised approaches and the increase in direct payments and individual budgets controlled by families. Sustaining short breaks for disabled children after the Aiming High for Disabled Children Programme requires a strategic approach that makes a clear link between investment in early support, developing universal services and personalised support plans and the impact on traditional services such as residential care homes.

If you are interested in discussing how we can help with your Short Breaks Assessment please do contact us for a no obligation conversation. We welcome inquiries; our telephones are staffed Monday to Friday during office hours on 0114 235 2902 or alternatively send an email to info@maddocksassociates.com

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