This report outlines a proposal to enable a chargeable element to be introduced to the West Sussex Educational Psychology Service.

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1 Cabinet Member for Education and Skills West Sussex Educational Psychology Service Development of a Chargeable Element of the Service Report by Executive Director, Care Wellbeing & Education and Interim Director of Education & Skills Ref No: ES11 (15/16) Key Decision: Yes Part I Electoral Division(s): N/A Executive Summary This report outlines a proposal to enable a chargeable element to be introduced to the West Sussex Educational Psychology Service. The proposal is to advertise and recruit to two Educational Psychologist posts which are additional to current establishment numbers. This would then enable chargeable discretionary services to be offered to schools and other partners from Educational Psychologists. This would enable working across different areas of the County Council, for example with colleagues in children s social care and to support early intervention and training work across the County in line with the County Council s core priority of giving children the best start in life. Recommendations (1) Educational Psychologist posts to be established, advertised and recruited to which will enable a charged element of the service to be available to schools, settings and other partners. (2) To initially establish two posts. This will be reviewed on a quarterly basis and consideration will be given to increasing the number of posts if the income generated enables this. 1. Background and Context 1.1 The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) in West Sussex is funded through core Local Authority (LA) funding to undertake statutory work on behalf of the LA. It does not receive any additional funding from alternative funding streams, for example the Dedicated Schools Grant. Statutory work will continue to be provided without charge to schools and settings in West Sussex if this proposal is accepted. The service manages other teams who provide specialist support to children and families; Portage, Social Communication team, Learning and Behaviour team and the Sensory Support Team. 1

2 1.2 The service is made up of 23fte, including maingrade and senior Educational Psychologists (EP) and the Principal Educational Psychologist. There are national difficulties in recruiting EPs and this has been evident in West Sussex. There are also difficulties with retaining EPs. Information from exit interviews indicates that the range of work undertaken by West Sussex EPs is perceived to be narrow and does not allow for early intervention with children, families and schools or for other offers of support, for example the delivery of training to be undertaken. 1.3 The move towards the development of a chargeable element to the service will enable EPs more scope and opportunities to provide discretionary services, e.g. early intervention and support to schools, parents and families and other partners, through the purchase of EP time. This will support schools in their graduated approach to supporting learners with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) and may impact favourably upon the amount of statutory work that is undertaken by the SEN Assessment Team, e.g. Education Health & Care Needs Assessments. It will also enable joint work to be undertaken between teams within the County Council, for example with the Virtual School for Children Looked After and the adoption and fostering teams. 1.4 This increased scope will enable a greater contribution to be made to the County Council s core priority of giving children the best start in life and is in line with the Policy Agreement for Education in West Sussex Consultation 2.1 All schools and maintained settings in West Sussex were asked as part of a survey at the end of the last academic year to comment on the service provided to them by the EPS. Feedback was received from 68 schools. 2.2 When asked about the quantity of the service provided, 49% of respondents reported this as being poor or unsatisfactory. In contrast, when asked about the quality of the service provided, 70% of respondents reported this as being excellent or good. Many schools commented about their need for more support from the EPS including the provision of training, increased face-to-face meetings with EPs and school staff and time available to meet with greater numbers of parents/carers. Schools have communicated that they would welcome the opportunity to purchase additional EP time. 2.3 A recent workforce survey undertaken by the National Association of Principal Educational Psychologists (NAPEP) indicates that 66% of EP services who responded to the survey (n=75) are part funded through income generation streams. Within the South of England Principal Educational Psychologist (SOEPEP) group, consisting of representatives from 30 Local Authorities, West Sussex is the only EP service which has no current income generating activity. Comparisons with other shire authorities indicate that services employ Educational Psychologists (EP) for non-core service delivery. For non-core service delivery Hampshire EPS have 23.9fte, Kent EPS have 8fte and Warwickshire EPS have 13fte. 2

3 2.4 Informal market research has indicated that there is demand for a chargeable EP service. In addition to the survey mentioned above, recently there have been a number of requests made directly to the service for work that could be considered to be non-core. This includes requests from partners within the Local Authority such as the Virtual School for Children Looked After (CLA) and the adoption and fostering team. Multiagency teams have also approached the service in order to purchase EP time including the Assessment and Treatment Service, which works with young people who are displaying worrying or harmful sexual behaviours. 2.5 In addition, schools have contacted the service directly in order to request additional services, for example 0.1 EP time to undertake project work in a secondary school with pupils at risk of permanent exclusion. Some schools in West Sussex are currently engaging with private providers in order to access additional EP support, procured through individual or small company providers. However research indicates that many schools would prefer to purchase this from the Local Authority. 3. Proposal 3.1 The proposal is for the service to commence activity for which a charge is made, through setting up and recruiting initially to two additional permanent, full time maingrade Educational Psychologist posts to be funded through that activity. However all service EPs will deliver both statutory and chargeable services therefore the chargeable element will be spread across the service. 3.2 The appointment to these posts will enable approximately 400 chargeable days to be made available to schools, settings and other partners for purchase. This will enable EPs to be able to provide their considerable knowledge and skills in order to support these groups in the way in which they have indicated would be helpful and supportive to their work. The cost of a day of EP time will be The daily rate of 400 is based on the actual costs associated with the two requested additional posts plus additional monies which would enable ongoing Continuing Professional Development and equipment costs to be met. The daily rate is less than most other Local Authorities charge and is also less than private practitioners charge for EP time. However, other Local Authorities such as those mentioned above have substantially more EP chargeable days available to their schools and settings. This enables them to set a pre-pay rate according to a Service Level Agreement and a higher pay as you go costing. The ability to respond very quickly to requests for EP time is also more challenging with the limited number of chargeable days being proposed and this is reflected in the lower unit cost outlined. 3.4 In order for the service to break even 300 days of EP time would need to be sold to schools and other partners. Given the level of interest from internal partners outlined above, this figure is achievable. 3

4 3.5 This change will enable the EPS to have increased visibility within West Sussex school environments and also enable their work to support that undertaken by other County Council services. This arrangement will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. The review and associated action will be undertaken by the Principal Manager (SEN & Inclusion) and the Principal Educational Psychologist. 3.6 The West Sussex County Council Budget approved on 19 th February 2016 includes a savings target of 50,000 in 2017/18 in respect of trading income for EP services. It is anticipated that, initially, projected income will cover the additional costs although further work is required to determine how the service will be developed to deliver the 2017/18 savings target. At this stage, the financial implications of the proposal can be summarised as follows: 2016/17 Salary costs 119,000 Equipment 1,500 Total costs 120,500 Projected income 120,500 Projected surplus - 4. Other Options considered 4.1 The other option available to the service is to remain as it currently is only undertaking statutory work on behalf of the Local Authority. 4.2 As noted above, this is not an option which would enable a sustainable EP service given the narrowness of function that this results in for staff. Given the on-going challenge of recruitment and retention this option would further compromise the ability of the EPS to attract and maintain quality staff. 5. Resource Implications and Value for Money 5.1 The proposal requires recruitment outside current establishment numbers which are 23fte. Recruitment will be undertaken in the usual manner as it is envisaged that the chargeable elements of the function will be delivered by all EPs. 5.2 The proposal demonstrates value for money: The costs associated with recruitment are substantially less than utilising agency support within the EPS (through Manpower for example) The costs for schools and other partners to commission support from within West Sussex will be less than utilising independent providers Commissioned support from West Sussex EPS will ensure that quality assurance is in place for the work undertaken which places the Local 4

5 Authority at less financial and reputational risk in the event of parental appeal. 6. Impact of the proposal 6.1 Equality Duty: An Equality Impact Report is not required for this decision for the following reason: It has been assessed against the criteria in the EIR template and, for the reason that it will not have a differential impact on people from protected groups, no EIR is needed. 6.2 Social Value: Increased accessibility to the EPS will result in greater opportunity for parents and carers to access EPs, through face-to-face contact in schools or through training opportunities which will be available to support them and their families. 7. Risk Management Implications 7.1 Risks that have been identified in relation to this proposal are: The monies required to support the two EP posts are not generated through commission of the service to schools and other partners. If there is insufficient income to finance the two additional posts, the EPS will cease its charged element. The EPS will redeploy the staff within their service or fund redundancy costs. Recruitment to two EP posts is unsuccessful. Issues with retention of EPs and difficulty in securing backfill when EPs are on extended leave makes fulfilling the statutory and chargeable elements of the service at risk. 7.2 Indications from other, benchmarking Local Authorities indicate that demand for the EP service is likely to exceed availability. It is likely that at least one of the proposed posts will be recruited to. The service will attract more recruitment interest once non-statutory work is available which should stimulate interest in the other post available. Retention of EPs will improve when the range of work that they are able to engage in broadens, thus reducing this risk. Avríl Wilson Executive Director, Care Wellbeing & Education Jay Mercer Interim Director of Education and Skills Contact: Cate Mullen, Principal Educational Psychologist x

6 Jon Philpot, Principal Manager (SEN & Inclusion) X Background Papers none 6

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