Analysis of comments published on service summary cards 2017

Parent carers, young people and professionals after using any services on our Local Offer are able to leave a comment about their experience.

This feedback function enables:

  • real-time feedback;
  • an opportunity to acknowledge the support the service provided;
  • information to feedback to commissioners;
  • how the service could improve; and
  • parent carers are able to browse comments to make an informed decision about whether to use the service

We remind everyone that the Local Offer is not the place to vent your anger. Please read the full guidance to 'commenting on services on our Local Offer' here.

Key themes identified include:

1. Feeling welcomed

Parents mentioned:

    • how they had been offered a tea, coffee and/or cake;
    • had been welcomed with ‘smiling faces’;
    • a ‘non-judgemental’ approach being adopted;
    • being able to ‘chat’ and ask questions.
Consequently this made parents feel that they wanted to be involved, felt supported and valued.

Some of these comments came from parent support groups.


2. Comments about staff and volunteers

Positive qualities reported by parents about staff were being:

    • friendly;
    • experienced and had a level of understanding;
    • sympathy and empathy;
    • caring and warm; supportive;
    • committed;
    • accommodating and flexible;
    • ‘brilliant at engaging’;
    • calm;
    • and ‘make things fun’.

Parents really appreciated when staff did go ‘out of their ways’ and went the ‘extra mile’ for their child/young person.  

“My son has been at Muntham House for the last nine months. To date, I cannot speak highly enough of the care, support, guidance and total dedication all of the staff have shown to us as parents and to my son. My son has a renewed interest in education and socialising. We as his parents have a renewed faith in the education system. Unfortunately, my son has broken his leg so has become housebound for eight weeks. The school have been to our home ( some 2 hours drive away) to educate him every week to keep him focused and interested. All of the school staff are exceptionally kind and caring, not only for the boys but for the family too. I cannot recommend this school highly enough. Thank you for all you do.”

Parents commented and recognised that some services ‘showed a level of understanding’ and had a good ‘handle on children with SEND’.

“Mel has been amazing at identifying my son's issues and working in a way that is uniquely suited to him. He has multiple and complex SEN and she has been able to handle these brilliantly. She has offered advice and ideas not just for home but also other settings e.g. within swimming lessons. My son has really developed in terms of his balance, throwing, catching, strength, co-ordination, self confidence and self esteem.” Comment about Jigsaw Therapy

Some parent carers commented on, “there are people to help me get the best for my son.”

Parents may experience a ‘relief’ to establish support after the ‘battle’ of getting support put in place.  

"Spoke to a lady called Nikki, she made me feel hope and relief that there are people to help me get what's best for my son which so far has been such a battle! Thank you for being there and providing this service." Comment about the West Sussex Parent Carer Forum

Another example of this is would be the word choice parents have used including, ‘like a guardian angel’ and ‘wonder women’.

"a big thank you! you are so professional and please know that you are a great source of support, you are like WONDER WOMAN!!" Comment about SENDIAS


3. Things that services did well

A parent expressed that it was not always easy for them to find an activity for their CYP with SEND.

Others expressed that some services ‘were a real find’. There may be a discourse and common theme that many activities may hence not be felt suitable for their CYP.

Parents expressed that they valued service that gave their CYP:

  • ‘new experiences’ that brought them out ‘of their comfort zone’
  • and that enabled their cyp to interact with other children / make friends.

    This in return improved their self-esteem and confidence.

    Albion in the Community offers specific programs for various different needs. With a service delivering a sporting activity this may be seen as being a vital asset to having tailored groups versus just being pan-disability.

    “My son attends football training every fortnight and really enjoys it. After a long time coming he has managed to find an activity he enjoys. This has improved his self esteem and confidence. He struggles with social situations and last month was given the opportunity to travel to Switzerland with a group of boys who also attended football training with Albion. They went to a football camp and played football with several other teams from different countries and took part in lots of outdoor activities. He had an amazing time and the staff were brilliant as they knew I was anxious about him going. To reassure all of us parents they set up a group facebook which all the parents had access to and they posted updates so we knew what our boys were doing and how they were. I am so proud of him for going as it took him completely out of his comfort zone but he had so much fun. I cannot thank Albion in the Community enough for giving him that opportunity.” Comment on the Albion in the Community

    In addition to this Facebook has been recognised within this comment to ‘reassure’ all parents on the trip for regular updates. Further this, several support groups use Facebook platforms to network and share information amongst other parents. Facebook is seen as being a valuable method of communicating. “The Facebook Group is a fantastic resource.”

    For children placed out of county opportunities and activities which enable them to ‘play with local children’ was recognized as a positive offer that the service provided.

    “My daughter has been going for a couple of years and really enjoys her time with Grasshoppers. They go on some brilliant day trips in the holidays and the Saturday clubs give her the opportunity to play with other children with additional needs in the area, which is more important now as she no longer goes to school in the county. The staff and volunteers are fantastic.” Comment about Springboard

    Services who offered various sensory outputs / opportunities for families were appreciated as their CYP would go home “calm afterwards”.

    Parents commented that they rarely went out as a ‘whole family’ is it was ‘difficult’. Furthermore, Time Aside has received multiple comments of ‘helping us as a family’. Through this activity everyone is felt included and that it is ‘fantastic for both my girls and me.

    “TimeAside is a wonderful inclusive environment, my children love going and really look forward to it. All the people involved in running it always make us feel so welcome and at ease. One of my children gets so much from this session, he's highly energetic to see him sitting quietly involved in creations is truly amazing. Afterwards he seems to be calm and happy for many hours having had so many sensory inputs. There's such a fantastic array of media that can be used, young people can freely move from one thing to another with no boundaries or restrictions and even a lovely sensory corner full of different toys, sensory items and tents etc.”

    Parents reflected on Person Centred Planning training they received via Inclusive Solutions. They comments reflected that it was ‘refreshing’ to think of strengths versus negatives of their CYP. (Person Centred Planning Guides have been put together - view here ).

    "On Tuesday, I went to the Person Centred Planning workshop that was organised by WSPCF. It was so refreshing to be asked to think positively about my child and what his strengths and aims are, rather than thinking of all the negatives. I feel Person Centred Planning would be useful for every child but particularly for those with additional needs. I wish my son, who is 18 and on the autistic spectrum, had been offered Person Centred Planning before we went through the rigmarole of getting him a Statement. Thank you WSPCF!" Comment left on the West Sussex Parent Carer Forum Summary Card

    Services who worked together across multi-agencies well mentioned in one comment.

    “I phoned the Independent support team for assistance with my daughter's EHC Plan. The response time was both very quick and friendly. I was quickly assigned a support worker and together we worked effectively with the LA to produce a EHC plan that we were all pleased with. The outcome was very positive. I honestly don't think I would have been able to achieve this positive outcome without the assistance of the Independent Support Worker. Therefore I am truly grateful to have been able to access and benefit from such a wonderful, knowledgeable and valuable service.” Comment received about Independent Support

    Joint agency working can support families and ensure that communication is shared across members. There is also repetition of again ‘being assigned’ someone / an individual within the service to support parents.

    Being assigned may mean you have established a rapport and trust with the individual. Being able to go back to the same person to not have to ‘retell’ the story may be seen as a positive valuable experience for a parent. Another sub theme to the services working well would be that the service was knowledgeable. Parents felt that with further information they had ‘more strings up their bow’. Where parents may find it ‘difficult’ to find appropriate and relevant information for their CYP there is an appreciation of ‘finding out about stuff’ they hadn’t known about otherwise.

    The expansion of knowledge also is invaluable, it has better ‘equipped’ parents, has built resilience, empowered and built confidence within parents.

    Parents reported around the Education, Health and Care Plan that it was important for them to make informed decisions about their choices and options.


  • 4. Parent Carer Wellbeing

    Parents recognized and commented on the importance of some service giving parents a break which was much needed and some time for them to relax.

    Parent carers relate to ‘knowing our son is having fun’ as being an important factor in them being able to relax.

    "Our son accessed the CCPS for the first time this year and he loved every day. Such a great range of activities available to all abilities. It was great for all of us to have a break too knowing our son was having lots of fun and being so well cared for. Highly recommended." Comment as posted on Chanctonbury Play Scheme


    5. Knowing your CYP is happy

    Parents reflected that they “know their child is happy”.

    Mentions of this theme included:

    • The fact that their CYP loves going,
    • ‘can’t wait to go back’,
    • ‘loves it there’,
    • ‘is a highlight of his week’

    This is also met with families by a sense of feeling ‘lucky’ .

    "Just want 2 say a huge thanku 2 everyone who worked the East Grinstead holiday club at St Mary's School, my 8yr old Son had the best time ever 2day and he can’t wait 2 do it again! You guys made a boring, stressful half term and every fun and exciting 4 my Son!” Extratime