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The Local Offer

The Local Offer is intended to make it easier for families to find information about what is going on their local area. Local Authorities must publish information (online and in other formats) about what is available for children and young people with a range of SEND.


The old

Information was difficult to find and often confusing, conflicting and inaccessible. It was difficult to compare services, including schools, as there was no guidance about the type and content of information which should be available. Local Authorities were required to have a Family Information Service and Family Service Directory, which listed the services and activities available in their area. However, the quality and content of these varied greatly.


The new

The Local Offer is intended to provide families with clear, comprehensive and accessible information about a range of services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in their local area. Alongside this service listing, it should provide details of how families can access such services as well as the local arrangements for assessment and personal budgets. Again, decisions about how this is published and set out will be made locally, but it should be

  • Collaborative: local authorities must involve parents, children and young people in developing and reviewing the local offer and co-operate with service providers
  • Accessible: it should be easy to understand and jargon free, structured in a way that relates to people’s needs (e.g. by age range or type of need)
  • Comprehensive: it should cover services across education, health and social care from birth to 25 years and how to access them, including eligibility criteria where relevant. It should make clear where people can get information, advice and support as wells as how to make complaints about provision or appeal against decisions;
  • Transparent: it must be clear about how decisions are made and who is accountable and responsible for them.

Hartlepool’s Local Offer is part of the Family Service Directory.  You can access it here: