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A promise to supply important special educational needs and disability (SEND) information to Central Bedfordshire Council’s children’s services committee members has been kept, but almost a week late.

The publication of the SEND partnership draft data dashboard was raised at an overview and scrutiny meeting last month.

It relates to an agreed set of outcomes for children and young people with SEND in Central Bedfordshire, which drives the SEND strategy, according to the council’s website.

These are embedded within the partnership data dashboard, so that progress towards the outcomes can be used to inform future developments,” it explained.

The latest update was given by Independent Ampthill councillor Mark Smith during written questions at the local authority’s annual meeting on Thursday (13 May 2021).

At three minutes to five this afternoon, overview and scrutiny committee members received an email which revealed the draft data dashboard has been published,” he said.

I’m glad to see my urgent question seems to have caused the publication. Still the issue remains why was there a delay?

Conservative Cranfield and Marston Moretaine councillor Sue Clark said: “The scrutiny committee did ask for and were assured they would be sent the draft dashboard, in so far as it was developed, by May 7th, which should have happened.

You’re not right in assuming your question triggered it coming out today. That work has been going on for several days this week.

The committee chairman has been in regular contact with me to ensure it comes out this week.”

Councillor Smith asked what date will the information appear on CBC’s website, as “this is a vital component in reassuring parents of SEND children that progress is being made“.

Councillor Clark, who’s executive member for families, education and children, replied: “This is something still in development.

The aim is to reach a point where there are about 30 measures which are reported on the dashboard on a termly basis.

I can’t give you an exact date when that work will be completed. But you’ll be invited to a briefing with officers in the next few days.

This is a draft document. It’s not been published. It’s been shared with the committee in the state it’s currently in, which is incomplete.”

A report on a monitoring visit by Ofsted was given to committee members last month by external consultant and SEND programme director Paul Senior.

Parent governor representative Lorraine King asked: “Why hasn’t the data dashboard, a key part of this statement of action been shared today?

She said the committee was told in January it would be available at this meeting and wondered why it hadn’t happened, adding she “would like to see the dashboard in its current form“.

Mr Senior replied: “We’re looking to share this with the partnership board at our next meeting and will then be in a position to do so with this forum as well.

The process hasn’t been fully concluded. We’re requiring the input of partners to strengthen the product.

It was agreed at the scrutiny committee meeting that the data dashboard would be sent out to members in its current form by Friday 7 May.