Nascot Lawn: Campaign leader yet to hear how Hertfordshire County Council will involve parents

Parents belonging to the Save Nascot Lawn group protesting at Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning G

Parents belonging to the Save Nascot Lawn group protesting at Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group offices. - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire County Council has been outlining what happens next for families who use overnight short breaks.

Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Picture: Danny Loo.

Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Picture: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

Nascot Lawn parents lost trust, faith and confidence in decision-making about their children, a county council committee has found.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has taken up the reins to run overnight short breaks (OSB) for disabled and special needs children, with the help of Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) and East and North Herts CCG, after HVCCG’s decision 15 months ago to withdraw funding for Nascot Lawn, which helped parents care for the children.

Yet the leader of a Nascot Lawn parents group, Nikki Lancaster, says she does not know how families will be included in a review of OSB provision.

Nikki spoke at a specially convened day-long ‘topic group’ on OSBs at HCC, which she called “fairly positive”, adding: “I’m hopeful going forward. Over the last 15 months the parents have proved it’s the voices of service users and people who know this service that are the ones who should be inputting into decisions about what happens to it because they are the people who know what is going on on the ground.

“It was apparent in earlier meetings, and for 15 months beforehand, that parents knew more, so councillors had to listen to us.”

The topic group concluded parents had lost trust, faith and confidence as a result of the decisions taken, so recommended parents be included in the planned review of OSB provision.

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A Hertfordshire County Council spokesperson said: “A report on the Overnight Short Breaks Topic Group meeting containing the agreed recommendations will be available on our website, together with the minutes of the meeting, within the next two weeks.

“At the same time, the recommendations will be sent to the cabinet member for children, Teresa Heritage. She will respond within two months on how these recommendations will be taken forward.

“The review of OSBs has already commenced and will include a review of all providers and areas for improvement plus a parent/carer survey. A project group of professionals and parents will shortly be established and we anticipate work to be ongoing until at least Spring 2020.

“The implementation progress is reviewed by an Impact of Scrutiny Sub-Committee, held twice a year.”

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