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Children: Disability

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL4306, tabled on 19 December 2017

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the 2011 report by Together for Disabled Children on the impact of short break programmes for disabled children.

Answered on

5 January 2018

The 2011 report by ‘Together for Disabled Children’ was published under the previous coalition government. The findings from the report, and response at the time, are publicly available and attached.

In 2011, the findings of the report supported the introduction of a local authority duty to provide a range of short break services. Between April 2011 and March 2015, £800 million was made available via grants to support local authorities in meeting these new duties. In addition, £80 million of capital funding to support new projects.

The government maintains that short breaks provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to have an enjoyable experience, which help them become more independent and form friendships outside their family. They give parents and carers time to do normal activities that other families take for granted, like doing the shopping or going for a run.

Since 2011, under the statutory duty, local authorities are required to provide a range of short breaks services. This shows the available services and how they can be accessed, including any eligibility criteria. Local authorities must also demonstrate how they are responding to the needs of local carers.

Local authorities must consider the needs of local parents and carers when preparing their statements, reviewing them on a regular basis, as well as monitoring the impact of funding decisions from year to year.

While responsibility for funding short breaks rests with local authorities, the department has offered support to help ensure statutory requirements are met. We have funded innovative grants that promote best practice for delivering services and continue to consider how we can best support local authorities who are working to deliver sustainable short breaks provision.