Outcome of Brighton & Hove SEND inspection by Ofsted and the CQC

A few months ago, we shared that preparations were underway for a local area SEND inspection of arrangements for children and young people with SEND, in both Brighton & Hove and East Sussex. The Brighton & Hove inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was completed in March 2023, and the outcome report was published on May 31 2023.

Read the report: Area SEND inspection of Brighton and Hove local area partnership [pdf 171kb]

[box title=”What were the aims of the inspection?” box_color=”#4dac40″ title_color=”#f6f3f0″]

  • to evaluate the impact of the local area partnership’s SEND arrangements on the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND
  • to evaluate how the partnership works together to plan and develop the SEND system
  • to recommend what the local area partnership should do to improve arrangements

A local area partnership refers to those in education, health and care who are responsible for the strategic planning, commissioning, management, delivery and evaluation of arrangements for children and young people with SEND who live in a local area.

Brighton & Hove was the eighth area to be inspected under the new inspection framework.[/box]

PaCC: stronger togetherPaCC’s blog shares details of their involvement in the inspection, and reflections on the process from the perspective of a Parent Carer Forum (PCF). You can also read all the comms updates which PaCC shared during the inspection process, and their feedback on the process to Ofsted, CQC and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF).

[box title=”How was Amaze involved in the process?” box_color=”#4dac40″ title_color=”#f6f3f0″]


  • …submitted data
  • …met once with inspectors as providers of the SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)
  • …was invited to a session on co-production to contribute to discussions
  • …supported three young people from Amazing Futures to meet with inspectors to talk about their experiences[/box]

Working within the new framework

thank youHeartfelt thanks go to PaCC staff and reps for working so hard to represent parent carers as best they could, within the constraints of the new inspection framework. It was a very difficult and long three weeks, with many hours’ work clocked up.

Overall it was frustrating that opportunities for parent carers to input directly to the process were reduced, limited mainly to the online survey which ran for just six days, and that there was little chance for ‘a right to reply’ from PaCC on the issues which came up during the inspection.

We unfortunately don’t know what the 1,000 responses to the survey said, but we do know that was a strong response rate and we’re grateful to everyone who took time to share their story. We hope that PaCC’s feedback on the process improves the inspection experience for PCFs who go through this in the weeks and months to come and that they find the process less challenging.

The positives

The inspection report recognises the strengths of the local area partnership, including that co-production with PaCC is more advanced in Brighton & Hove than elsewhere. The positive feedback about services and staff who work hard to support positive outcomes for children and young people is also to be celebrated, and learning shared across education, health and social care will further improve outcomes.

Looking ahead

Most importantly, the report doesn’t change what we already knew, that not all families are accessing the support that they need and that gaps in provision persist.

We know that not all families are experiencing the typically positive outcomes reflected in the report. We are 100% focused on the areas for development highlighted by the inspection – these are some of the priorities which PaCC and Amaze have been raising with partners for some time, as evidenced in PaCC’s position statements and reports, SENDIASS data, and records of copious meetings. That the pace of change is too slow is a message we consistently flagged and which inspectors heard. We also recognise that Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) and NHS Sussex face significant challenges beyond their control, not least a lack of consistent national strategy for SEND and inadequate funding given to local areas to meet local need.

Although resources are lacking, needs are rising and more complex, and the inspection spotlight has now passed, we will continue to bring challenge and work with BHCC, NHS Sussex and other partners to drive forward the service improvements our children and young people need.

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