Introducing the Ministers for Accountability

As Theresa busily dishes out new roles to her Ministers, we look at the real role of responsibility when it comes to children and young people with SEND.  The Ministers for Accountability.

Ministers for Accountability v MPs/Government Ministers

  • Our MPS and Government Ministers apply for their role
  • Unfortunately the Ministers for Accountability are given this role without any planning or preparation.
  • Our MPs get £74,962 and the Ministers get £135,527.  That is £1,441 per week for MPs or £2,606 per week for Ministers.
  • Unfortunately the role of Minister for Accountability is unpaid.  There is sometimes an option of Carers Allowance at the generous rate of £62.10 per week.
  • MPs and Governmental Ministers can claim expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London and in their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency.
  • Unfortunately the role of Minister for Accountability does not offer this option – our salary of £62.10 also has to cover additional costs.
  • Our MPs and Government Ministers have access to a team of legal staff within the Government.
  • Unfortunately Ministers for Accountability need to find out what the law says and what it actually means in practice by themselves.  Not all Ministers for Accountability have the ability to do this.
  • Our MPs and Government Ministers have a team of people to write standard responses to correspondence.
  • Unfortunately Ministers for Accountability have to respond to all correspondence without any team of letter writers.
  • Our MPs and Government Ministers have Personal Assistants and Secretarys to help them with the administrative aspect of their role.
  • Unfortunately Ministers for Accountability need to keep paperwork filed, calendars filled, appointments kept by themselves.
  • Our MPs and Government Ministers can sleep at night with the occasional need to stay up to sort out an issue.
  • Our Ministers for Accountability rarely get a full night’s sleep and may be lucky enough to meet the criteria for an occasional night of respite.
  • Our MPs and Government Ministers have an important role but when they mess it up (as we know, this is not an uncommon occurrence), they can be moved to another department and someone else picks up the reins.
  • Our Ministers of Accountability have an important role but when they mess up (because they are exhausted, & emotionally drained), there is rarely anyone else around to pick up the reins.

Ministers for Making Things Happen

Working alongside the MPs and Government Ministers are a number of Local Authority staff, teaching staff, NHS staff, ATU staff and a variety of other service providers.

  • Again, the Ministers for Making Things Happen are generally paid more than the Ministers for Accountability.
  • Again, the Ministers for Making Things Happen will have access to legal advice and support.
  • Again, the Ministers for Making Things Happen will have access to some admin support.
  • Again, the Ministers for Making Things Happen will generally get a better night’s sleep.

So what does the Minister for Accountability do?

When you are gifted with a child with SEND, the text books you have read become irrelevant.  To become the expert your child needs, you suddenly have to undertake the equivalent of a Doctorate, in the shortest time possible, without knowing which books to read, which lectures to attend and with a small child attached to your hip.

When you find out which books or lectures are of use, you then have to find out where they are kept.  Often this information is held by Gatekeepers – people who know but don’t really want to share.

As you are working your way through this intensive course, you also have to change the way you think.

First and foremost, you must accept that common sense will no longer be a feature of your life.  Common sense is sadly missing within our system.

You must also accept that “we know this doesn’t work but it’s what the system says/how we have always done it” will become a regular feature in future conversations with Ministers for Making Things Happen.

You must prepare yourself to make informed decisions without actually being informed.

You must be prepared to be treated with disdain if you challenge any of the other Ministers.

However, the biggest thing you will need to learn is that just because the law says something must happen, this does not mean it will.

If you expect the Ministers for Making Things Happen to always comply with the letter of the law, then just ask any parent of a child with SEND if this is the case.  If you expect there to be a department overseeing the Ministers for Making Things Happen to ensure that things do happen, as per the huge quantity of legislation saying it should, then sadly, you will be hugely disappointed.

The people ensuring these things happen are the Ministers for Accountability and guess who they are?  Yes, they are the parents of children and young people with SEND because obviously that £62.10 is tax payers money and the Government Ministers have to ensure that they are getting as much value out of that as possible.

Campaigns:

One of the thing Ministers for Accountability do well is campaign to raise awareness.

  • There is currently a campaign on social media to raise awareness of the fact that LA staff are not complying with the time scales or content of EHC Plans (add your support to this campaign here)
  • There is a campaign to introduce new legislation to ensure support for young people is offered in their community rather than in an ATU (Assessment and Treatment Unit) 300 miles away. Find out more here
  • There is a petition to ensure all children and young people with autism can access education. Show your support here.
  • There is a petition to say no more school penalties and to return the 10 day absence at Head Teachers discretion.  Show your support here
  • There is a petition to release people trapped in ATUs.  Show your support here
  • There is a petition to make British Sign Language part of the curriculum.  Show your support here
  • Bringing Us Together also have a project called Justice Together where people can offer support or find support for their families.  Find out more here.

Let us know (by commenting on the post) of the campaigns and petitions you know about so we can all show support.

Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN.
Transplanted from the NW to the SE.
Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together

Debs Aspland

Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN.
Transplanted from the NW to the SE.
Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together

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3 Responses

  1. Lisa Thomas says:

    Brilliant!
    Much needed laugh at the system that drags us down.

    This week, two very late EHCP transfers for Sept school transitions, one not even had meeting yet due to admin errors at first abandoned meeting (at great expense) two weeks ago. Other, the school now re- contesting their suitability in late transfer (second) consultation, even though school already consulted/named in Feb.

    A first EHCP fails to name any place and specifies nothing in provision but can be ammended later. Yeah, right! Lets Make-Things-Happen: mediation>apppeal.-Maybe then we’ll get ‘accountable’.

    My own 20 week transfer is 10 month in, not even a pre-pop yet. Draft outcomes sent three weeks ago, still no reply. I know the email hasn’t been checked, as no one has asked for the password yet!

    But don’t mind me, while caring with no respite for six weeks, I’ll do my EHCP follow up, I if I ever get the LA contribution, while trying to sit on the beach if my child isn’t drowning or having and autistic interlude with a stranger pushing a pram and pulling a dog. Then, I’ll finish it off at night while waiting for the first ever night of respite in 14 years to arrive.

    The LA, is Nothing to me. Ministers are Nothing to me. All preside over administration of Nothing. Small provision only realised after fights, if at all. Specificity is clearly required in law, but Nothing is more specific than before. Nothing is specific at all.

    How apt the name; Local AUTHORITY = law-un-to-self. It deregards law lest parent should choose to appeal and holds out to bored end forcing families through grueling appeals. It is increasing strife through none compliance amidst supposed reform despite a head start as pathfinder.

    I hold my LA accountable for Nothing – they are rendered untouchable by a system of accountability that is accountable to no one. Nothing is being done. Nothing has changed. Nothing will change without accountability.

    My daughter is doing well because of her family and her school, but college Looms. That’s really important for all of us. So was pleased to be invited to open day. Shame, we saw Nothing. We got lost in an autistic moment as the group kept moving on, moving on, moving in, moving on……and we never saw our group again. Left in empty college to flounder. No one missed us. We went home in distress, could bare Nothing more. A sign of things to come I wonder.

    Post reforms, our ‘simple’ transfer to EHCP has achieved nearly Nothing in 10 months to date, not even a pre-pop plan to work on yet. And I’m an EHCP trainer. In fact, things have actually got worse (how could they, I know). Nothing happens without chasing. More chasing than ever. Time wasted. My time. My time is Nothing!

    And at work too, not a single example of good practice, Nothing! Stacks of evidence, but who wants to see it? Not inspectors!

    Thank heavens my daughter and her siblings are amaaaaazzzzzing.

    ‘Nothing’ will never change that.

    No doubt LA will be keen to assure onlookers all is actually well. All the while, it can be proud of Nothing!

  2. Lisa Thomas says:

    Spec needs jungle code of conduct?

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