National Network of Parent Carer Forums

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Annual Conference and AGM 2018


2018 marks the 10th year of funded participation of parent carers through parent carer forums. Parent participation was initiated in 2007 through the “Aiming High for Disabled Children” programme to support the development and ongoing improvement of Short Breaks for children with disabilities. This programme was very successful in many ways, but crucially it demonstrated the positive impact of engaging with parent carers at a strategic level throughout service design and commissioning, as well as through the policy development process. This led to the creation of the ‘Parent Carer Participation Fund’ in 2008, which saw the foundations of parent carer forums being developed in each local authority area across England.

This year the NNPCF have shared some of the successes of parent carer forums and highlighted the journey we have travelled so far, reflecting back on some of the challenges we have overcome as well as some of the achievements we should celebrate. To find out more about what happened throughout this years conference, please take a look at our Conference Overview pages.

Engage, Empower, Enable

This years conference is sponsored by Seashell Trust and partnered with Department for Education, NHS England, and the Department of Health.

Who is this event for?

This conference is for Parent Carer Forum representatives only and is not open to the general public. Invitations to book places will be extended to forums via the NNPCF and Contact central administrators. Invitations may also be extended to regional and national partners where appropriate.

All parent carer forums will be allowed to book two places for their forum to use up until one month prior to the conference. Any unallocated places will then be offered to anybody on the waiting list (extra places can then be offered to forums where they have more than two individuals wanting to attend). These will then be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Each attendee who has successfully booked a place will be allocated a Unique Reference Number. Until you receive this, your place at the conference is not guaranteed, so please do not book any required travel or accommodation until you have your URN.

How can parent carer forums get involved?

This year, as well as being able to attend the conference and participate in the discussions, we are once again inviting our member forums to shape the agenda. You can do this in several ways:

  • Share your achievements with us, tell us about your WOW moments or your highlights
  • Tell us about the ‘Best Practice’ in your local area, we are especially keen to hear about good joint commissioning experiences
  • Share some of your Case Studies to show us how you have made change locally, no matter how big or small
  • Tell us about the challenges you have overcome as a forum in your area
  • Inform us of your local ‘Hot Topics’
  • Let us know what areas you would be interested in hearing about at the conference this year by completing the workshop survey which is open until 22nd October 2018.

You can do this by emailing your Regional Steering Group Member. 

Please feel free to be as creative as you want. We are aiming to produce materials to be used throughout the conference as well as before and afterwards; video clips, photos and written submissions are welcomed and encouraged. Please contact your regional steering group member or our Communications Lead if you have any questions.

Conference Partners

We will be working closely with our conference partners again this year to make it as informative and comprehensive as we can for our member forums. We will also be inviting stall holders to attend the day to share information and resources with our member Parent Carer Forums. If you are interested in being a stall holder, or know an organisation that may be interested, please request a stall holder information form via email before Monday 22nd October. Please email


AGM and Conference activities

The event will take place on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd November at Doubletree by Hilton nr Coventry.

Day 1

Wednesday will be host to the NNPCF AGM & PCF workshops, offering parent carer forum representatives a range of opportunities to network and share ideas and experiences with each other.

Workshop 1 – PFA 16-25 Support Pathways

Focus on pathways into PFA and how PCFs can help to develop these locally, which teams to connect with, what pathways exist and could be developed within the SEND area frameworks, and what PFA can offer to help.

Workshop run by Preparing for Adulthood and supported by our national representatives team and a member of the Contact Participation Team.

Workshop 2 – NHSE & Coproduction opportunities in Transforming Care

The North East region has developed an innovative and effective approach to delivering the Transforming Care Programme. This workshop explains what is being done, how this was done, how can this be replicated and where will it go next?

Workshop run by Sarah Thomas, Contact Associate and NNPCF National Representative, and supported by our national representatives team and a member of the Contact Participation Team.

Workshop 3 – the Principles of Coproduction

A workshop looking at the journey of coproduction and the ongoing need for moving the goalposts of what coproduction looks and feels like. Discussing the legislation and areas of legal guidance that can be used to support the argument for coproduction, understanding where coproduction exists without the use of the word (such as consultation) and how to challenge to bring this up to the same standards.

Where should coproduction feature and why? When is it okay to coproduce a consultation? How do you demonstrate the value of coproduction to your community?

Workshop run by our national representatives team and a member of the Contact Participation Team.

Workshop 4 – Whole School SEND

What is Whole School SEND Consortium currently doing, how their regional activity is progressing. How can PCFs engage with the whole school SEND, what value can this bring locally, who to connect with?

Workshop run by Whole School SEND and supported by our national representatives team and a member of the Contact Participation Team.

Workshop 5 – Demystifying SEND Funding

The Department for Education Funding Policy Unit will run a workshop aimed at explaining funding systems that have an impact on provision for children and young people with special educational needs. In particular, the workshop will describe how the following work:

  • Funding for all schools and colleges, including for pupils/students with SEN
  • SEN funding for specialist provision
  • High needs budget for local authorities  allocations and use

Workshop run by the DfE Funding Policy Unit who are also interested in hearing from parent-carers on the issues they have with SEND funding. This workshop will be  supported by our national representatives team and a member of the Contact Participation Team.

Day 2

On Thursday the joint conference with Contact will focus on partnership working with a range of guest speakers joining us to reflect on the journey through participation. We will be hosting a panel Question & Answer session with representatives from the DfE, NHS England, DoH, and more answering questions posed by parent carer forums.

Regional and national partners will be joining us on day 2 of our joint conference to hear messages from senior officials and partners with SEND.

Booking and Facilities Information

All parent carer forums are allowed up to two places to be used on each of the event days. This means two people could attend two days or four people could attend a day each. It is entirely up to you how you want to use the places to best meet the needs of your forum, however it is essential that you book to secure your places. Any unallocated places will be offered to the waiting list after 21st October if there are places remaining.

The Doubletree by Hilton has overnight accommodation as well as a range of facilities to occupy any time you may have outside of the conference schedule. There are a range of hotels and restaurants nearby also, details of which are included within the FAQs document.