Special Needs Action Panel – SNAP
SNAP's purpose is to improve the services that are provided to children and young people with additional needs or disabilities, aged from birth to 25 years, who are living in Central Bedfordshire.
SNAP is a pro-active group of parents who all have children or young people with additional needs or disabilities. We have come together as a group of parent carers to work with other individuals and organisations to help influence and improve the local services that are provided for our children and young people within Central Bedfordshire. We focus on helping to raise the standard of social care, education and health services within the county, to ensure that these services are provided in a way that meets the needs of all disabled children and their families in the county.
As parents of disabled children and young people, we bring a real-life perspective and experience to the planning and development of the services that our families use. We constructively challenge decisions that are taken by our local council and health authority about the future planning of services. As we work in partnership with our local council and health authorities to make decisions about services, we call this ‘Co-production’. Co-production happens when those providing services and those that use them, work together from the start to make sure that the services provided are what children and families actually need. SNAP recognises the benefits of working in partnership with local authorities when planning, developing, implementing or reviewing a service. Through SNAP’s work, parents of disabled children and young people are part of the decision-making process from the very beginning of an idea. Parent carers are involved as equal partners with local authorities to:
- Design and develop the new services that families need.
- Review existing services and recommend improvements.
- Work with the local council and health authority right from the start of any new program of change, providing a strong parent and family voice at all levels of decision-making throughout the process.
SNAP strongly believes that ‘consultation’ is not the same thing as ‘co-production’. The traditional model of canvassing parents and families for their opinions in one-off surveys or forums before local councils then go away and make the decisions themselves, often does not produce the necessary change in services that children and families actually need. By continuously working closely with local authorities and ‘co-producing’ any change, parent carers are much more successful at securing the changes that are needed to benefit all children and young people living with additional needs or disabilities in the county. Local authorities can also be more confident from the outset that the services that they are designing or providing are what families actually want and need.