Cumbria short break service statement

Why do we need a short breaks statement?

As part of the new short break duty, each local authority is required to publish a short break services statement so that families know what services are available, the eligibility criteria for these services and how the range of short breaks are designed to meet the local needs of families with disabled children. 

Local authorities are required to publish the statement on their website by 1 October 2011. The Cumbria short breaks statement has been prepared by the Children's Services Commissioning team with input from the Children's Social Care team. It is still at an interim stage and awaits further feedback from our partners such as parents forums, disabled children, and young people, professionals and practitioners from social care, health, education and the community and voluntary sector.

The annual review of this statement is due in October 2012.

Who is responsible?

The lead officer at Cumbria County Council currently responsible for preparing this statement is Senior Manager Complex and Additional Needs John Barrett.

We want to ensure that as many families as possible have a chance to comment on the statement and wider consultation will be undertaken through our parent forums, Learning to Change steering group, children and young people and partners.

What is Learning to Change?

There is a Learning to Change - parent participation model in Cumbria and they cover the whole county across a wide age and disability range of children and young people.

Learning to Change is a parent led group who meet on a regular basis with representation from each of the local parent forums. They want to work as equal partners in this process and have lots of local knowledge and experience about what works for their disabled children and themselves in their area, they also fulfil the governments desire to use the money available as effectively as possible, only commission providers/services that families will use and get benefit from.

Parents and disabled children and young people are invited to contribute to the statement by contacting the Learning to Change parent group administrator via email at They will be running a number of events to consult and review the statement on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

Children's Services also have a nominated representative on the Learning to Change group - Joanne King. T:01228 226939

You can also contact your Parent Partnership Co-ordinator through the Children's Services Parent Partnership Service

Karen Hull  -Barrow and South Lakeland

Celia Jones -Barrow and South Lakeland

Phyllis Bowler -Allerdale and Copeland

Janette Baines - Allerdale and Copeland

Emma Stephenson -Carlisle and Eden

What is the Shortbreaks statement for?

The statement links to our Children's Services Directorate Service Plan 2012-2013 and will provide the basis through which our commissioning plans for short break services are delivered. This will ensure that we provide the range of short breaks that families need and value. We will continue to fully involve parents and carers and children and young people in this process to ensure that we continually provide what families need and help us to decide what we change and what we keep.

The aim of the Service Plan is to ensure a much greater focus on prevention and support to parents when it is first required and prevent crises.

Publication and Review

We will ensure that our Short breaks service statement is published on the local authority website. We will also widely distribute it to parents and carers through parent forums, support groups and partners in education, health and social care.

The statement will be reviewed annually as an emerging document in partnership with our parents' forums and stakeholder groups and with the Learning to Change group to ensure that it is up to date and reflects the views and choices of local families. We will use the on-going consultations and surveys to make changes and improvements and to ensure that our short breaks continue to reflect the needs of different families living in Cumbria who have disabled children.

  • As we know more about evolving activities we will build them into the plan with the support of parents and other stakeholders (this includes taking into account the fact that Cumbria is a large rural county and issues of rurality need to be considered).

  • We will be working with a wide range of partners like the NHS, youth services, Active Cumbria and so forth to inform the delivery of the service.

Below is an outline of how the services will be designed to meet the needs of parents, carers, children and young people:

  • Contract monitoring: The County Councils Children's Services Contract Management Team will lead on the monitoring of the short breaks contracts on a quarterly basis in partnership with other CCC officers.  This will ensure that service delivery is meeting the needs of children and young people with disabilities and will take into account the views of parents, carers, children and young people in the planning and development of service provision.  We will also monitor the impact of service delivery on children, young people, their families and/or carers and the local community.
  • Commissioning- involvement in process 
  • Consulting -we will consult throughout the lifetime of the statement
  • Training opportunities will be explored with Children's Services workforce development team
  • Publicity -the Local Authority will work in partnership with the Learning to Change Group and short breaks providers to ensure effective marketing and publicity of the provision.
  • Mapping provision and identifying gaps

FEEDBACK - some of the questions and issues

  • Where are the gaps in information? Feedback so far suggests that it's 'who you know' that determines whether or not you get good information about what short breaks are available.
  • Do families want to see a distinction between short breaks which are primarily a social activity for the child and those which are a break for the carer?
  • Anything else we are missing?