Family Voice Calderdale response to the Calderdale Council Post 16 Transport Policy 2022-2023 Consultation.
Family Voice Calderdale is a project of Unique Ways, a small local charity that supports families with disabled children across Calderdale. Family Voice Calderdale is the Parent Carer Forum for Calderdale.
Family Voice Calderdale first became aware of the consultation on the 30th November 2021, when this was raised by a Parent Carer to us. Family Voice Calderdale felt that given the significant changes to the Post 16 Transport Policy, we should ensure that the collective voice of Parent Carers across Calderdale were given the opportunity to be heard.
On 17th December 2021, Shona Walsh, Chief Executive Officer of Unique Ways emailed some initial feedback to Shirley Pearson. The main topics of this feedback were:
Parent Carers regularly feedback to us that ‘Consultations’ usually have deadlines that are just too tight or impossible for them to meet at all. Furthermore, the window to provide feedback is often just Family Voice Calderdale response to the Calderdale Council Post 16 Transport Policy 2022-2023 Consultation. a week or two and taking place over Easter or Christmas will always result in reduced numbers of Parent Carers being able to participate in Consultations.
b) Transparency and User-Friendly Processes
Parent Carers find that the documents they need to consult (for any Consultation) are in different places on the LA’s website (which is difficult enough to navigate at the best of times and the Local Offer platform not being fit for purpose). Consultations appear to be so low key or under the radar that Parent Carers feel they are purposely inconspicuous in order to ensure the majority of Parent Carers are indeed unaware of them taking place.
c) Impact of proposed changes, especially financial changes
For some Parent Carers any change to their financial situation can be of major significance i.e. ability to care for their child/young person. The impact of poverty on families with disabled children/additional needs and the wider impact on society is well documented. Parent Carers need as much prior notice as possible to plan for any proposed short-fall and to know possible avenues of support.
Also, there is an impact on families due to unworkable home to school transport arrangements. Family Voice Calderdale undertook a consultation on behalf of the membership of Unique Ways in the form of a simple 5 question survey.