Sensory Support Service Consultation

Closed 4 Dec 2019

Opened 9 Oct 2019


Bristol City Council is seeking the views of citizens, professionals and organisations on proposed changes to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Sensory Support Service.

This service provides support to children and young people (CYP) with sensory needs in education and family settings. Sensory needs include hearing impairment (HI), visual impairment (VI) and multi-sensory impairment (MSI).

Why We Are Consulting

Parent carers and CYP have told us that they would welcome changes to the way this service is currently delivered so that it has a greater impact on the long term outcomes for CYP who have sensory impairments. This service user feedback was gathered through a review of the service undertaken by the National Sensory Impairment Partnership in 2016, by service user and stakeholder survey activity, including annual service user questionnaires, and collaboration events that took place between March and August in 2018.

Bristol City Council has now drafted proposals for changes to the Sensory Support Service. This consultation seeks the views of local citizens and stakeholders to ensure the proposed changes for the service adequately address the issues raised during previous engagement exercises.

What we are proposing

Our proposals to redesign Sensory Support Service provision include:

  • To extend the Sensory Support Service to help CYP people up to age 25 years. (The service currently supports CYP up to age of 16 years in mainstream education settings and age 19 years in specialist education settings)
  • To replace 30% of one to one family learning sessions with group family learning sessions for early years, school age and post 16 parents and carers
  • To implement a joint local authority funded workforce development programme for early years, school age and post 16 education settings (e.g. colleges but not universities), including independent settings. This would form part of the core service offer to provide group meetings and training for key staff in locality areas, where appropriate.
  • To use a wider range of ways to provide information to CYP and their families 50 weeks per year; including the introduction of a hotline, telephone and video conferencing and improved local offer websites.
  • To commission a new contract with a charity for the provision of the habilitation service. This service provides training to CYP and involves developing personal mobility, navigation and independent living skills. The provision of this service will be extended to include all four joint authority areas: Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES).

Give us your views

Follow the link at the bottom of this page to read more information, and to give us your views about these proposals. This consultation will close on Wednesday 4 December 2019.

If you cannot complete the survey online, you can request alternative formats of this document by emailing or by calling 07721550902. You can also download an easy read version of this consultation at the bottom of this page. 

We are running drop-in consultation events during October and November 2019. These events will be an opportunity to ask questions about the proposals and provide your feedback. At each event there will be access to translation and interpretation services, British Sign Language Communicators, scribes and the online consultation via council laptops.


North Somerset: Wednesday 13 November 11:00 – 13:00

Town Hall


BS23 1UJ


South Gloucestershire: Wednesday 13 November 15:00 – 17:00
*Please note this is a change to the original venue.
Yate Town Council
Poole Court
Poole Court Drive
BS37 5PP


BANES: Wednesday 06 November 13:00 – 17:00 at:

Royal British Legion

Charlton Road



BS31 2JA


BANES: Wednesday 13 November 08:30 – 12:30 at:

Royal British Legion

Charlton Road



BS31 2JA


Bristol: Thursday 21 November 17:00 - 18:30 at:

Writing Room

City Hall

College Green



What Happens Next

This consultation will be open until 4 December 2019, please complete the survey and submit it before that date to ensure your views are taken into account.

All responses to the consultation will be analysed and will help inform final proposals which will be considered in late 2019/early 2020.

A summary of the consultation feedback and details of the Cabinet decision will be published on the We Asked, You Said, We Did page of the Consultation Hub website. Any approved changes to the Sensory Support Service would be implemented from 01 April 2020.


  • All Areas


  • Children / Young People
  • Expert Stakeholders
  • Parents, carers and guardians
  • Equalities group(s)
  • Service Users


  • Children and young people
  • Education and early years
  • Disability