The Marketisation of #SEN

SENDirect is a project being developed by the SEND Consortium which is made up of several national charities: Ambitious about Autism, Contact a Family, Dyslexia-Action, Mencap, Scope, ICAN, KIDS and the National Autistic Society.

SENDirect will be a National Online Brokerage Service providing a range of services
including information and support for parents and carers of children and young people with SEN and disabilities.  You can read more about it here but essentially under the new SEN reforms due to be implemented next  year we will be landed with a new brokerage service that aims to “create a sustainable marketplace of provision”.

Yes you heard right, a sustainable marketplace of provision which basically means that special educational needs is to be opened up to market forces.  How exactly this will work I don’t know but I’m guessing that just like social care the LA will contract out services to private providers who will compete on services and cost.  As a special needs mum a competitive system is not reassuring and leaves me with many questions not least.

  • What services will be available?  What services won’t?
  • Who are the brokers?  Will they charge for their services?
  • Is the service optional?  Do we have to use it?  If we opt out can we access providers ourselves?

Personally the thought that friends of Cameron a group of people are going to make a profit out of SEN and disability is not right.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of how people are being treated in care homes and only recently we’ve heard how carers are spending less and less time with the elderly in their homes.  Now I appreciate there is good practice going on but its the principle of the thing that bothers me and that can be summed up in one question.

Should a small group of people be exploiting the vulnerable for financial gain?

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2 Responses to The Marketisation of #SEN

  1. “Should a small group of people be exploiting the vulnerable for financial gain?” …. I cannot understand how anyone can answer anything except ‘no’ to that. I have read a little about SENDirect, but had not realised that private provision was part of it. Am very disappointed x

    • Aspie in the family says:

      I spoke to someone who recounted the case of disabled man using some of his direct payments to pay for a room in which he would meet service providers and organise a package of care. How commonplace this practice is I don’t know but it is concerning that disabled people have to use their money like this. Baring in mind employment and poverty is high in this group I am not comfortable with a system that takes money off them for the profit making interests of others. Whether something similar will happen in #SEN I don’t know but the word “marketplace” is troubling.

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