Children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities are being encouraged to sign up to a new-look register that will help West Sussex County Council develop better services to support them and their families.
From 1 April 2022, the West Sussex Library Service will take over running the disability register for those aged under 25.
Those who sign up or renew from that date will be entitled to either a £5 shopping voucher or a Max Card, a national discount card providing hundreds of offers and valid for two years. The new register will also enable carers to access the Carer Discount Card, provided by the charity Carers Support West Sussex. The card already includes over 150 discounts and offers which is being further developed and expanded.
West Sussex County Council has a responsibility to maintain a register of under 25s who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The information helps the County Council to map, plan and tailor services to meet the needs of communities across West Sussex.
The contract with the current register provider, Amaze, known as West Sussex Compass Card, ends on 31 March. Following a review looking at a range of different options, the County Council decided to bring the register in-house within the Library Service.
Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “Our libraries already offer lots of activities and services that support families with additional needs, including sensory toys and stories, and staff at our 36 libraries are always on hand with advice and guidance. Aligning the disability register in this way will mean more families will receive direct and relevant information and support from the Council, while enjoying a host of discounts on the things they love.
“We have written to every family on the current register to explain the change and I would like to thank Amaze for operating it for the past six years.”
The saving from bringing the register in-house will be reinvested into services including an enhanced Short Breaks programme, offering subsidised leisure and social activities for children and young people with SEND.
From April 1 2022, anyone consenting to have their details transferred from Amaze will be automatically part of the new-look register. Anyone new to the register will be able to sign up and share their information securely from April 1 by completing an online form, or by visiting one of the 36 West Sussex libraries. Before then, people should email SENDCommissioningTeam@westsussex.gov.uk for further information.