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Suffolk Parent Carer Network Closing Down

SPCN is to close on Friday 18th June 2021. The Suffolk Parent Carer Network and Contact have issued a joint statement to help explain why this has become necessary, this can be read on below:

Joint Statement from Suffolk Parent Carer Network & Contact

SPCN understand the frustration many families feel that things are not changing for them quickly enough, we feel that same frustration and we couldn’t feel more disappointed that all our challenge and efforts over the years has not brought about the big changes that families so desperately need. It may not have always been obvious, but SPCN have had an impact on effecting change and for that we are proud.
We want to thank you for sharing your experiences of services whether that has been through responding to surveys, messaging us, commenting on social media or speaking to us. We want you to know that every one of your voices matter and you have enabled us to make sure that lived experiences remained at the centre of meetings.

SPCN are known locally and nationally as not being afraid to challenge, but despite all of our efforts SPCN are not responsible for services actually making the recommended changes and sadly the belief from some families that we are, has meant the trust in SPCN has been lost and this has placed us in a very difficult position.

Taking everything into account, it is with great sadness that we have agreed with Contact that Suffolk Parent Carer Network will close permanently on the 18th June 2021 and this will be done in line with the current General Data Protection Regulations. We understand this decision will be upsetting to many and this decision has not been taken lightly. The reasons for this decision are as follows:

  1. There needs to be a pause on co-production with families for the SEND system to reflect on how it is going to co-produce going forwards. Unless the system changes, anyone who comes after us will likely experience the same as us and the frustration that has been felt by families and the SPCN team needs to change and that can only happen with urgent actions by the system.
  2. The well being of the SPCN team has been significantly affected by the relentless criticism and we cannot put other parent carers through that. We have seen that, despite our best efforts, there have been actions which have continued post AGM which has meant we are not assured that parent carers wouldn’t be exposed to the same thing and it has been agreed that this wouldn’t be fair.
  3. The reputational damage to SPCN is such that it has been agreed a new Parent Carer Forum needs to be formed. There will need to be some reflection and consultation with parents and carers as well as local parent groups and networks as well as with local area agencies to ensure families views guide the next steps.
  4. This gives Contact time to work with the SEND system as well as parent carers to ensure the best chance of success for a future forum.

The SPCN team remain committed to working on behalf of families until the 18th June and the families we are directly supporting understand what next steps will take place beyond this.

After the 18th June Contact will be in touch with parents and partners to discuss next steps. In the meantime Parents and Carers interested in being part of a new Parent Carer Forum can contact Catherine Ratcliffe, Contact Associate by emailing catherine.ratcliffe@cafamily.org.uk.

Source: https://twitter.com/suffolkpcn/status/1403070581239693325

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