Why things changed

During 2016 we reviewed our Short Breaks Personal Grants Scheme, this review which included consultation with parents, showed that:

  • Families did not know what short breaks activities or services were available in the borough so were unsure of what to spend the money on
  • Most families did not send in the receipts to the council, this could have been because receipts were misplaced or they forgot to get one
  • Sometimes the money was used for things like food shopping or towards general household bills instead of short breaks activities

We also found that:

  • Managing the scheme is very time consuming and expensive for the council – and that it is also hard work for parents sending in receipts
  • The council didn’t know what the money was being used for and how it was benefiting families

So we looked at different ways to manage the scheme from April 2017.

One option was to stop giving out the grants and to go back to having a few providers on a framework with activities booked through the council.

But we did not want to restrict families’ choice. We wanted families to still have the flexibility to do the activities that they want to do.

So instead we looked at ways for families to still get their own budget - and still have choice and control over where that money is spent.

After extensive consultation with families and providers, we decided to launch this Short Breaks website in April 2017.

We have had a successful first year of testing this site and positive feedback from parents, in particular around the application process being less time-consuming and much easier. We always look for ways to make improvements. Next year when submitting applications, it will no longer be a requirement to provide DLA evidence. We always look for ways to make improvements are excited about the next year of funding starting in May 2019.

For those parents who need assistance with using this online system, there are council staff at our computer hubs across the borough who are able to help you. So if you don’t know how to use a computer, or if you don’t have access to a computer or the internet, then there is a plan in place to help with this. You will also be able to use the website on your mobile or tablet device.

You will also be able to use the website on your mobile or tablet device.