Developing and sustaining an effective local SEND system: a practical guide for councils and partners

This report has been written as a concise, practical summary of good practice in developing and sustaining an effective local SEND system.


The LGA commissioned Isos Partnership to work with local councils and their partners to: 

  • draw together what partners in local areas have done to develop and sustain effective, system-level approaches to supporting young people with SEND;
  • from these approaches, distil some key practical messages that could be used by partners in local areas across the country, adapted to their local circumstances and priorities;
  • and share, develop and refine these key messages formatively and iteratively through co-productive discussions with leaders from local areas across the country.

The report has been written with the intention that this will be of use to elected members and officers in local councils, but equally to local strategic partners in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local health services, schools, early years settings and colleges, groups and networks of parents, carers and young people, voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations and others with an interest in ensuring that there is effective local support for young people with SEND.

The aim of the project has not been to explore the nature of the challenges faced by local SEND systems, but the practices developed by local areas that are effective in mitigating those challenges and providing support for young people with SEND.

A strong message from council colleagues throughout this project has been that the key messages and practices captured in this report are not a panacea that will allow local SEND systems to avoid challenges and pressures all together. Instead, they are necessary steps in seeking to provide support, meet needs, ensure effective use of local resources and achieve good long-term outcomes for young people with SEND in what they considered a highly challenging context.

Download the report
Developing and sustaining an effective local SEND system: a practical guide for councils and partners