I have had a real nightmare with my son’s transition from school and respite to College and respite. I started this process well over a year ago choosing a college and a place for respite. I have spent so many hours with visits from social worker visits to College, phone calls to transport, sorting out his day of as college is only 4 days a week and now at the last minute I am told that transport has not been sorted - they still had him going to his old school even though the person I spoke to last week said it was all sorted out. Respite has fallen through as they won’t put a secure lock on the front door to prevent my son from getting out and there is a main road nearby. My son can exhibit challenging behaviour when he is anxious which he will be at changing his respite setting. The manager refuses to email me and answer my questions and will not guarantee that he will be safe so it is obvious to me that the respite place do not want my son. Has anyone else experienced safety issues in this way?
I dont like it that the respite manager ‘refuses to talk to you or answer emails’ that’s not right! Maybe you need to get hold of an advocate to smooth the way? Not sure how but I think they exist. Transition is a really difficult time.
Hi, Please, you are not alone. We are hearing a lot of feedback from parents about transport. Please contact www.oxpcf.org.uk as we are working with the local authority on SEN transport and would like to include your experience.
Thanks for your mail. Welcome to LDOX. Sorry to hear that things have been so stressful.
I suggest that you contact your county councillor or MP to ask if they can help raise these issues for you to resolve matters.
You can also use the formal complaints process at OCC about the issues about the safety and refusal of the manager to engage with you about your concerns. In the past, I have found a letter of complaint addressed to the Director of Social Care Services can help get matters addressed.
I presume your son is still using children’s services? IPSEA have some useful information on their site about resolving transport issues, and set out clearly what your rights are in this situation.
Do come back if you have any further comments or queries about any of these suggestions.
Thanks for this Julia.
Can you please keep us updated as to the progress that OXPCF makes on this issue
P.S. Welcome to LDOX.Org
Sorry to hear you’re having such a difficult time. I hope you have got the transport sorted; transitions often still seem to be glitchy, despite the amount of research and literature out there about how to do them well!
Regarding the respite situation, I have a suggestion that may help you move forward with that problem. The respite centre may be reluctant to put a secure lock on the front door because of the Mental Capacity Act and specifically the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. The law says that everyone must be assumed to have capacity to make their own decisions unless they have been assessed and found not to be able to make the specific decision in question. There is also a legal requirement that people are not deprived of their liberty - or, if they need to be deprived of their liberty for their own safety, this is decided and recorded in the right way.
Putting a secure lock on the front door would affect the liberty of all people using the service, which might be the reason the manager is unwilling to do it. There may however be other ways to solve the problem. It’s possible to put sound alarms on bedroom doors and other doors so that staff are alerted when a person leaves a room. They might also need to increase the staff support your son has, so that a member of staff knows where he is at all times. And his positive behaviour support plan should look at the triggers (reasons) he might leave the building and how to help this happen safely.
If the above measures don’t work and your son does require a door to be locked, the manager will need to look at how he can protect everyone’s freedom of movement, for example making sure other people using the service know how to use the lock so they can leave if they want to.
I know as a parent these things can be frustrating because it seems obvious that solutions you use at home should also be used in other places, but there might be more to it than meets the eye. I hope that helps open a dialogue to resolve things.