Stockport Children and Young
People’s Disability Partnership
Aiming High for Disabled Children
Stockport Children and Young People’s
Short Breaks Consultation
As part of the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme, the Government
are giving local authorities and health services significant new funding to
invest in services over the next three years. Transforming short break service
is a main element to this programme.
It is vital to consult with children, young people and their families to listen to
their experiences of short break provision in Stockport and talk to them about
their needs for further provision to offer more choice both for children and
young people and their families. The voices of children, young people and
their families need to be at the heart of the short breaks development plan
ensuring that provision is suitable, appropriate and meets the needs of
disabled children, young people and families.
The consultation methodology needs to adopt specific skills and techniques to
engage children and young people with varying disabilities and complex
needs and innovative solutions to gain their views, record what they tell us
and ensure their voices are heard by the CYPDisP. There also needs to be a
feedback loop, where we return to those consulted to let them know what they
said and what action is being taken as a result.
Standards in engagement for this piece of work include:
Being open and honest
Voices are actually heard
That children, young people and families will get something out of it
They are involved from the start of the work
It is fun
Children, young people and families are supported to make decisions.
To gain information from children, young people and their families as
citizens and customers about their changing attitudes and needs, their
views as to what constitutes quality in service provision and barriers to
To gain fresh perspectives and new ideas about short breaks services,
policies and democratic processes, helping tackle key objectives and
promoting social inclusion.
Provide analysis of findings from the consultation to contribute to the
development of the Strategic Plan for Short Breaks, in order to fulfil the
duty of the local authority ‘to help parents caring for disabled children
by giving them breaks from their caring responsibilities’ and provide
services that are more effective, better targeted and received. Thus
providing best value.
Services and policies are designed, delivered and evaluated based on
actual rather than presumed needs.
Children and young people benefit from new and better services that
have changed and improved in response to their needs.
To undertake a rigorous process of identifying the requirements of
disabled children for short breaks, building on national research.
The requirements of eligible children and young people known to local
partners whose needs are currently unmet, and the extent to which the
needs of children and young people in residential placements or
requesting residential placements could be met through short break
Population trends which will impact upon service planning. Localities
need to monitor the changing population of disabled children and
ensure that services are developing to reflect demographic change.
For example, a key requirement will be ensuring that adequate service
provision is made for the rising number of children with complex health
needs and requiring invasive clinical procedures. The assumption that
the majority of these children will die in early childhood is no longer
valid and localities need to plan for provision into adolescence and
Results of consultation and engagement with disabled children, young
people and their parents and families – including those from minority
groups and those children and young people who do not use language
or a signing system to communicate. These should incorporate the
views of a wider body of eligible individuals than those currently
Consultation Methodology – Parents and Carers
Stockport decided to make a DVD showing a variety of short breaks just a few
minutes long to both make the consultation fun and interesting, and to provide
support at consultation events with children and young people.
Through the medium of film we aimed to capture the imagination of as many
children, young people and families as possible and to encourage them to
think about short breaks in its widest sense. The film uses sound, images,
symbols, and signing to engage children and young people of differing
communication levels and disability.
Separate questionnaires for parents and carers and also for children and
young people have been developed to accompany the DVD.
These simple questionnaires are set out in sections and ask the four
What type of short break would you like to have?
Where would you like the short break to take place?
When would you prefer to have a short break?
Who would you prefer to be with?
In addition, for parents and carers, we also sought to find out:
How would you like to find out about what short breaks are available?
How would you like to be involved in improving short break services?
All sections have a selection of answers to choose from and a free text area
for any individual ideas to be added.
The consultation with adults was carried out through a range of techniques;
Visiting a number of local parent groups, showing the DVD and giving
them the opportunity to complete the questionnaire if they desired.
A parent consultation evening.
Individual interviews undertaken by a support worker as a specific study for
parents of disabled children under school age.
The DVD was also shown at a meeting of Voluntary and Community
Sector providers and copies were taken by them to use in consultation.
Parent Partnership have shown the DVD to individual parents and
asked them to complete the questionnaire
The Disability Database posted questionnaires out to a number of
parents listed on the database.
Consultation Findings – Parents and Carers
The findings from this initial set of questionnaires have been analysed as
follows and were used to help us develop the strategy for the short break
Questions on the questionnaire were multi-choice, and respondents could
choose as many options as they wished.
The questionnaire responses are set out as below through the use of charts.
The numbers are the percentage of respondents who selected that particular
‘What type of short break would be most suitable?’
16.23% Play/Holiday Schemes.
14.4% Sitting Services.
11.78% Provision of a holiday house/ Caravan / Park Home /Log Cabin
for use by parents/carers on a regular/occasional basis with
11.52% Sessional support/ Carers for inclusive leisure / Sitting service /
11.26% Supported After School / Day Care / Nursery Placements
9.16% Voucher scheme for holiday breaks.
8.38% Short Break with a family.
4.45% Swanbourne Resource Unit providing residential care at
weekends and holidays alongside weekday community
4.19% Overnight care in child’s own home whilst parents away by
1.83% Stockport Salaried Carers living in an adapted Council provided
house for holiday and weekend care.
1.83% Residential Unit
1.31% Salaried Carers providing a fostering service in their own home
1.31% Family, Aides/Diana, Nurses/ Continuing Health Care / Nurses/
Paediatric Nurses for Sitting/ Activities.
0.79% Fee paid retained foster carers with adapted houses.
0.79% Overnight working cover
0.52% Hospice care
0.26% Residential School
Where would you like the short break to take place?
32.54% Locally accessing universal provision with support e.g.
Sport, Youth Club, Play scheme etc
30.18% Away from home, Adventure holiday
24.85% At home with sitting support
10.06% Locally with specialist care e.g. Swanbourne
2.37% Locally with foster care adapted house
When would you prefer to have a short break?
33.87% School holidays
22.58% For a holiday week or two weeks
16.13% Regularly after school
Who would you prefer to be with?
24.77% Brothers and Sisters
18.35% Special Carers
18.35% Just by myself and a special carer
15.60% Lots of people
‘How would you like to find out about short breaks?’
Children and Young People’s Partnership central telephone
enquiry information service
‘How would you like to be involved in improving short break services?’
47.58% Would like to be regularly consulted
36.29% Wanted to take part in Take part in forums and discussions with
10.38% Wanted to help interview staff
5.65% Were willing to train staff
Consultation Methods – Children and Young People
It was decided to adapt the questionnaire to make it easier for disabled children
and young people to use.
This was achieved by cutting it down to focus on the four main questions,
reducing the number of pages, making the text easier to read by using Arial and
black text on a white background, and simplifying the language used, and the
The adapted questionnaire was then used across 7 group sessions in special
schools, youth clubs, and after school clubs held in Stockport in order to collate
information on the views of disabled children and young people.
In total, across the group sessions, 45 children and young people from a range of
ages and with a range of disabilities provided responses which then informed
Short Breaks delivery in Stockport.
The range of disabilities was wide, and children and young people with learning
disabilities, Autistic Spectrum Disorders/Aspergers Syndrome, sensory
impairments, and physical disabilities all contributing to the process.
The consultation DVD was shown at the start of all consultation events to engage
the interest of the children and young people (except where the children/young
people had complex communication needs), and to explain to them why they
were being consulted with.
Following the video, the consultation questionnaires were handed out, and staff
at all consultation events were engaged to support the children/young people in
working through the consultation, and to help them understand and make the
choices available to them.
Further adaptations of the questionnaire, such as Makaton symbols, photos, and
talking mat approaches, were then made to make it more accessible for those
with more complex communication needs.
Consultation Findings – Children and Young People
All questions were multi-choice, and respondents could select as many options
as they wanted.
‘What would be good for you?’
82.22% To go to McDonalds or KFC, Burger King
71.11% To do sporty things, like football, basketball, swimming
68.89% To go shopping
66.67% To go on day trips, to the Zoo or the Cinema
62.22% A Holiday Break / Weekend Trips
53.33% To play on the computer
51.11% A Youth Club
42.22% To go to the park
42.22% To sleep overnight in a fun house with special rooms for you
28.89% To stay with a family in their home
22.22% A Drama Club
15.56% An After School Club
6.67% To stay at your home with a special carer without your family
‘Where would you like to do these things?’
56.10% Lots of different places
53.66% Away from home – holiday
39.02% Somewhere not far from home
34.15% Somewhere that I can keep going back to – the same place
26.83% At home
The third question we asked was ‘When would you like to do these things?’
68.29% In the school holidays
60.98% At Weekends
31.71% For a full week
29.27% Go home from school and then go out again
26.83% After school
The fourth question we asked was ‘Who would you like to do these things
75.61% A friend or friends
58.54% With lots of people
41.46% Mum or Dad
36.59% Special Carers
31.71% Brothers and Sisters
19.51% Just by myself and a special carer
Consultation Findings – Parents and Carers
Of the responses to Question One (‘What type of short break would be most
suitable’), the most popular choice, as selected by 16.23% of respondents to this
question, was ‘Play/Holiday Schemes’, followed by ‘Sitting Services’ with 14.4%
Other noticeably popular choices were the provision of a holiday
house/caravan/park home/log cabin, sessional support/carers for inclusive
leisure/sitting service/holidays away, and supported After School/Day
The majority of the most popular choices were those where the short breaks
offered were of a shorter duration than many of the other choices, for a few
hours, such as play/holiday schemes, sitting services, sessional support, after
school/day care/nursery. This indicates that in the main, parents would prefer
short breaks of shorter duration.
Some options requiring the children/young people accessing them to have
specific needs, such as Swanbourne Resource Unit, Hospice Care, Continuing
Health Care, were not popular with respondents. However, it should be
remembered that they cater for a very specific audience, and where the need for
such provision can be measured elsewhere, such as Social Care caseloads, this
should be done.
Many of the most popular choices in Question One were for services that can be
offered by universal service provision. This suggests that parents and carers in
Stockport are interested in their children and young people being supported to
access universal provision. This is reinforced by the most popular response to
Question Two: ‘Where would you like the short break to take place?’ being
‘Locally accessing universal provision with support e.g. sport, young club, play
scheme etc’ with 32.54% of respondents selecting it.
The next most popular response to Question Two was ‘Away from home,
adventure holiday’ with 30.18% of respondents selecting it. As the most popular
choices in Question One were those relating to short breaks of a short duration
and holiday breaks, this suggests that for parents, the two main desires relating
to short breaks are those of limited duration, and those offering holidays away.
There seems to be lower support for local overnight provision with specialist care
or foster carers with adapted houses. However, again, the children receiving
these services have very specific needs, which may not be easily supported by
other Short Breaks provision, and the need for these has been identified by a
separate telephone consultation with those who are presently receiving
residential overnight short breaks.
Feedback received as part of the consultation shows that parents and carers
would like more choice on the type of provision for overnight stays and suggests
that parents with younger children 5 – 11 age group would like the opportunity for
their child to stay in a family based overnight provision, whilst some of the 12-16
and 17-19 prefer the residential unit as this often provides more social interaction
with other children and young people.
There is strong support over the first two questions for provision within the home,
such as sitting support. 24.85% of respondents to Question Two selected ‘At
home with sitting support’, the third most popular response. In addition, 14.4% of
respondents chose ‘Sitting Services’ in response to Question One, making it the
second most popular choice.
Question Three asked parents and carers ‘When would you prefer to have a
short break’, and the most popular options were school holiday and weekends.
This suggests that parents and carers would like their children to receive short
breaks outside of traditional working hours. This fits in with the ethos of
Stockport’s Short Breaks strategy which illustrates that short breaks are not for
enabling parents to work, and to give them a break away from their children.
‘Regularly after school’ was the least popular choice relating to Question Three,
but it is possible that this is a need that is already met within the
childcare/extended school market, and therefore there may not be as strong a
need for short breaks to be offered within these hours.
Parents and carers were most enthusiastic about their children and young people
having their short breaks with other children and young people, as evidenced by
the two most popular selections under Question Four ‘Who would you prefer to
be with?’ being ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and ‘Friends’. This suggests there is a
demand for group-based provision, whether it is universal or specialist.
Sibling involvement was the most popular choice however, and this suggests that
parents and carers want their children and young people to receive their short
breaks with their brother and sister to keep them company. Although the Short
Breaks Project is specifically to give disabled children and young people short
breaks, and not their non-disabled brothers and sisters, this is an identified need,
as one of the reasons behind children and young people with severe disabilities
short breaks is so that parents and carers can have a break too therefore
minimising family stress and breakdown. Although some parents and carers may
choose to spend this time with their other children and young people to give them
attention that may be diverted by the increased needs of their disabled children,
some parents and carers may wish to have some time on their own to relax or
get things done they may otherwise be unable to. Therefore, this is a need that
the short breaks project will need to meet if it is to achieve one of its outcomes of
decreasing family stress.
Parents and carers had strong emphasis on newsletters and the internet as a
means of finding out about short breaks. Although Stockport’s short breaks
strategy will need to use a variety of platforms, this suggests that these two
mediums will be the most effective way of letting parents and carers know about
Nearly half of respondents to Question Six highlighted that they would be happy
for regular consultation to take place. However, equally just over half of
respondents did not say they would like to be regularly consulted. Therefore,
although we do need to regularly consult to ensure the short breaks programme
continues to be effective, we must also be sensitive to the dangers of ‘over-
A third of respondents to Question Six suggested they wanted to take part in
forums and discussions with service providers. As a result, we will look to build
opportunities for parents to be involved in the commissioning and contracting
process which all service providers funded through the Short Breaks Project will
need to submit to.
Consultation Findings – Children and Young People
When analysing the results, we need to be mindful that sometimes children and
young people may not have experience of some of the options given to them, so
may not have full understanding of all the options available to them. We used
multimedia, pictures and photos as much as possible, but sometimes there is a
limit to how much the concept of each option can be conveyed to enable the
child’s understanding of the option. All children and young people did the
questionnaire with support from an adult who knew them, and if it was felt that
children and young people did not fully understand a question or were not certain
in their replies, even after repetition, we did not include that response in the
overall analysis. Therefore, these responses as recorded as authoritative as we
can reasonably conclude.
It is significant that the top four responses to Question One were all things that
non disabled children and young people may take for granted, such as eating
out, sports, shopping, and day trips. This suggests that disabled children and
young people want to have the same experiences as their non-disabled peers,
whether that be as a short break or not.
Again, the low percentage of respondents (15.56%) who said they would like to
go to an after-school club may suggest that this is a need that is currently being
largely met by extended school services.
All activities with a response rate exceeding 50% are all activities that both
universal and sessional support can also provide in addition to specialist
provision. The most popular activity which can only be offered by specialist
provision was ‘to sleep overnight in a fun house with special rooms for you’
Many of the most popular activities included in Question One, such as eating out,
sports, shopping, playing on the computer, youth clubs, and day trips, could be
combined within one service. This fits in very well with the most popular choice in
response to Question Two ‘Where would you like to do these things?’ which was
‘Lots of different places’, with 56.10% of children and young people selecting this
option.’ Away from home – holiday’ (53.66%) and ‘Somewhere not far from
home’ (39.02%) was also popular with children and young people too.
The most popular responses to Question Three ‘When would you like to do these
things’, were ‘In the school holidays’ (68.29%) and ‘At Weekends’ (60.98%),
suggesting that, similarly to parents and carers, there is a demand for short
breaks to be delivered around these times.
In addition, the popularity of ‘A friend or friends’ (75.61%) and ‘With lots of
people’ (58.54%) in responses to Question Four ‘Who would you like to do these
things with’ suggests a high demand amongst children and young people for
group-based provision. ‘Just by myself and a special carer’ (19.51%) was the
least popular choice available for this question, which would suggest there is not
as much interest from children and young people in community-based
‘The Way Forward’ – How the Consultation has influenced the Short Breaks
Strategy and Delivery Plan
Stockport’s vision for the development of short breaks for severely disabled
children, set out in the Short Breaks Strategy, states that ‘Transformation is one
made in partnership with the disabled children, young people, [and] their
In accordance with this approach, the responses to the consultation work with
parents and carers and disabled children and young people has informed
Stockport’s approach to the development and delivery of short breaks for
disabled children and young people.
The strong support from parents and carers for targeted support to enable their
children and young people to access universal leisure provision highlighted that
there was demand for such a service, and the Let Me In! Project was granted
continuation funding to enable this demand to be met. The Let Me In! Project,
delivered by Stockport CP Society, is a capacity-building initiative within universal
settings, which aims to gradually reduce the level of 1:1 support required for a
disabled child or young person until the child or young person is fully included
into the setting, with staff who are aware of and able to meet the needs of that
Equally, there was strong support from parents and carers for day, evening, and
overnight care in the child’s home through the user of sitters or personal
assistants, and as a result, the tender document for the development of a bureau
of volunteers will look to prioritise this need.
Parents and carers and children and young people were most enthusiastic about
receiving short breaks as part of a group of other children, and as a result, the
Short Breaks Project will aim to deliver a wide range of group based short
breaks, both within universal and specialist provision. In addition, children and
young people were particularly enthusiastic about a wide range of activities that
could theoretically be delivered within one service, and as a result, a tender
document will be created that links these activities together within one service
delivering out of school and youth work provision, weekend delivery, and school
holiday schemes, which could potentially be linked to the development of the
As highlighted earlier, the consultation should not be the only source of
information which Stockport uses to analysis the market for short breaks and
identifies what types of short breaks it needs to commission in order to meet the
needs of parents and carers and children and young people.
Some short breaks, such as residential overnight stays, or hospice care, have a
very specific group of users, and in some cases this group of users may not be
large. Therefore where the consultation appears to show low demand for these
services from service users as a whole across Stockport, it should be
remembered that this does not necessarily suggest that there is not a need for
these services. Where there is a need for these services, this should be proven
through the use of other data, such as Social Care caseload, Foundation Trust
caseload, and statistical data and so on.
‘The Way Forward’ - Ongoing Engagement
The effective participation of children and young people and their parents and
carers in the development of short breaks is an ongoing process, not a one off
We have had a parent/carer representative on the Aiming High Steering Group
from the beginning. This parent/carer is a member of the Disability Provider
Panel meeting with parents to look at requests around overnight short breaks
and allocation of these, giving her an excellent overview of current demand and
We also have a group of parents that have come together to bid into the AHDC
parent participation programme. These parents represent a wide experience,
representing parents/carers of disabled children, young people in mainstream
provision, disabled children and young people in our special schools and parents
and carers from specific disability support groups such as our ASD parents group
and ABC parents group (around autism). We also have representation from our
parents’ forum group within our parent partnership.
Through our parent participation programme, parents will receive training in a
variety of areas to ensure they can fully participate in the overseeing and
development of the short breaks programme. From this group, parents are being
drawn to sit on task and finish groups concentrating on particular aspects of the
work from data collection and publicity to the development and management of
the capital programme. A parent and carer conference will be held every 6
months where information can be shared, feedback gained and development
work undertaken and new parents/carers can be elected onto the various groups.
In addition, a Facebook site has been set up for all parents and carers of
disabled children and young people in Stockport.
In addition, a representative group of young disabled people is being set up in
partnership with the Youth Service, Children’s Fund, and other services across
Stockport, and this will enable disabled young people to advocate on an ongoing
basis the needs of their peers and have strategic input in the delivery of the Short
Finally, through our contracting process, we are placing a responsibility on
providers to include parents and carers and children and young people in the
planning, delivery and review of provision funded through the Short Breaks
Project. In this way, a wide range of parents and carers and children and young
people will affect the continued development of short breaks for disabled children
‘The Way Forward’ – Ongoing Communication
Communicating the aims and intended outcomes of the programme, how the
strategy is developed and delivered is critical to the success of delivering
services that will meet the needs of the people of Stockport. The consultation
supported this priority by seeking to identify how parents and carers wished to
receive news and information about short breaks.
As an outcome of the consultation, regular news and information will be provided
to parents, carers children and young people this will be available in a variety of
places and accessible in a variety of formats. A specific Aiming High webpage
will host consultation questionnaires, publicise any new short break activities and
receive feedback about the provision. Regular updates will be reported in
frequent newsletters, distributed to professionals, voluntary and community
provider services, and families through the Disability Database, the Parent
Partnership, the Parent Forum and the twice yearly conferences. In response to
the consultation findings the development of a highly visible one stop shop where
information can be given, received and shared will provide a much needed
Consultation Analysis by: Julie Kilroy/Paul Jamieson
Date: Oct 2009