7th September 2020
Important message from Jo Hill, Service Manager, SENAT:
SENAT continue to work from home with some office-based working where tasks need to be completed on-site and are ‘business critical’. All emails and phone numbers remain operational and although physically posting documents is not the best way to contact us (emailing is preferred) there is also a process in place to collect and distribute post.
Panels and decision-making processes are continuing to run remotely.
All Covid-related exceptions to timescales for statutory processes will be removed as of 25th September 2020. SENAT are working hard to manage the implications of this and will engage directly with families impacted by these changes.
We anticipate high demand on the service, particularly during September, some of which will be ‘additional’ work associated with these unprecedented circumstances. However, we continue to operate fully, albeit remotely, and will keep families up to date if the process they are part of has been impacted in terms of completion time etc.
SENAT do not intend to return to face to face meetings in any setting for the foreseeable future. Whilst schools will be fully operational the guidance remains that visitors to settings should be minimised as far as possible. SENAT do not work directly with learners so it is the view of the Local Authority that staff who directly support learners (advisory teacher teams etc.) should be prioritised for attendance in settings. SENAT can continue to contribute remotely to meetings.
Where face to face is requested relevant staff in SENAT will conduct an assessment of risk regarding their attendance/ability to complete the process remotely and engage with relevant parties about this risk assessment. Meetings in family homes will not be available for foreseeable future. We will be reviewing meeting attendance/visits to schools/other settings in the event of changing Government guidance or around October half-term (whichever is sooner).
We thank all families for their patience and understanding during these last few months. We appreciate entirely that lockdown was tough for all but particularly tough for families who also needed to support their child’s additional needs. We hope we are emerging out of this crisis now, however we also have appropriate preparation in place should a local lockdown impact on our service delivery.