What is it exactly that you do?  ♦  Who do you work for? ♦  Who pays you?   ♦    Aren’t you just another support group?

  • We are a co-production & participation group – brief explanations are further down the page.
  • We aren’t a support group in the traditional way, but we do support each other as parent carers.
  • We don’t ask you to leave any other support group and join only us – our aim is to work together with all the local support groups to ensure the parent carer voice is well and truly heard in Sunderland.
  • We are entirely independent of any statutory organisation such as the local authority.
  • No-one pays us, we apply for a yearly grant from the DfE for parent participation.
  • The vast majority of our events will be free for parent carers.

What can I do, I’m just a mam/dad/grandparent? How can I go to meetings with ‘professionals’?


First of all, we are moving away from the term professionals, as that assumes parent carers are not professional – we are asking everyone we work with to use the term practitioner, with great results so far.
Parent Carers are ‘Experts by experience”, you are an expert and a professional regarding your children and young people.


The SEND Code of Practice 2015 outlines its expectations of principles that underpin all legislation and guidance related to SEND:

“1.1 Section 19 of the Children and Families Act 2014 makes clear that local authorities, in carrying out their functions under the Act in relation to disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs (SEN), must have regard to:

  • the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person, and the child’s parents
  • the importance of the child or young person, and the child’s parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions, and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions
  • the need to support the child or young person, and the child’s parents, in order to facilitate the development of the child or young person and to help them achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, preparing them effectively for adulthood”

You can download a copy of the info sheet (shown below) spcf info sheet

What is co-production & participation?

Parent carer participation is when parents and professionals work together, recognising each other’s expert knowledge, to design, develop and improve services for disabled children in the local area.

Contact (formerly Contact A Family) has some good resources around parent participation for anyone wanting more information on what this means.  You can also visit HERE to see who we have participated with over the years.


Co-production – Parents & professionals working jointly together to develop, decide, design & do as equal partners.


Participation – Parents & professionals working in groups to decide what should happen to shape services.


Consultation – Parents are given options and the professionals decide what happens


Information – Parents Carers are provided with information from or about the service providers.


No engagement – Parents do not have a working relationship.

The infographic below with our aims for a charter can also be downloaded spcf coproduction_charter v1  .