has revealed the failings in Hertfordshire’s special needs service for children.

The Special Advice & Support, known as SENDSAS, is the specialist advisory teacher service that provides specialist teacher advice and support to children and young people.

It is part of a broader service provided by the Integrated Services for Learning. This is a team of specialists working with children and young people in Hertfordshire who have additional special educational needs of disabilities, known as SEND.

A damning report released by Hertfordshire County Council revealed that SENDSAS’ management structure is too complex – and is a barrier to effective service delivery.

The report said: “This has impacted the agility and responsiveness of the service around decision-making.”

In an assessment of its core elements, only the service delivery to parents was rated any better than fair. The culture, structure, capability, purpose and strategy were all rated as weak, the lowest category.

County Councillor Mark Watkin, Lib Dem spokesperson for Children’s Services and Education, said: “I am shocked but not surprised by the depth of issues this report reveals.

“I have had numerous parents of children with special educational needs approach me because they have felt excluded from having a say in their children’s support and have been swamped by the sheer bureaucracy of the service.”

Mr Watkin added that recommendations made in the report addressing the “failings” needed to be acted on.

These include a shared budget management by specialism for greater accountability and to provide an equal mix of staff across specialisms to attend workstreams and strategic working groups.

This would create an inclusive culture where all staff views can be considered.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, cabinet member for children, young people and families at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “The Specialist Advice and Support review is a small part of the work being undertaken as part of the SEND transformation to meet our priority of ‘transforming local delivery networks to provide clearer pathways to effective help’.

“The review highlighted the areas for improvement and an action plan, alongside a formal consultation with staff and stakeholders, is being put together.

“This will guide the reconfigure the service so that it works more closely with schools, parents and other agencies to better meet the needs of children and their families.

In May, Hertfordshire County Council announced it will invest approximately £3 million over the next two years to transform the SEND local offer. The transformation aims to deliver services more effectively to children and young people and their families.