FACT Bucks – Is It Working?

FACT Bucks is a charity set up and funded by Buckinghamshire Council to collect the views of parents and carers of SEND children and young people. Because FACT Bucks has such an important role in SEND education in Bucks, BuDS’ Fair4All Education project has conducted a poll asking parents and carers how well represented they feel by them. The results of this poll are summarised below – read on for more.


 

About The Poll

The poll was carried out in three large Facebook groups specifically for the parents and carers of SEND children and young people in Buckinghamshire. The Fair4All Education team identified these groups as being the best targets for the poll, as the group members were the most likely to be service users of FACT Bucks or to have worked with them. Collectively, the groups have 2,700 members, although there is significant duplication of membership across groups. Tentatively, the groups collectively have a unique membership of around 1800 individuals, of which around 500 are active participants.

The poll was designed according to Market Research Society guidance to be neutral in tone and offer a balanced range of response options. The question asked was “To what extent do you think FACT Bucks represents you and your children’s interests? Please vote below by choosing the most appropriate answer.” The following responses were offered:

  • FACT Bucks represents me and my children very effectively
  • FACT Bucks represents me and my children effectively
  • FACT Bucks doesn’t effectively represent me and my children
  • FACT Bucks doesn’t represent me and my children at all effectively
  • I don’t know enough about FACT Bucks to reply
  • I’ve never heard of FACT Bucks

The poll was first released on March 23, and ran until April 26 so that results could be adequately gathered. These results are summarised below.


 

The Results

66 individuals completed the poll, which is 13.2% of the estimated active membership of the three groups. While not a statistically significant sample, this is considered to be a sufficiently large response for the results to be indicative of opinion within the groups.

Response% of Responses
“Fact Bucks represents me and my children very effectively”0%
“FACT Bucks represents me and my children effectively”0%
“FACT Bucks doesn’t effectively represent me and my children”3%
“FACT Bucks doesn’t represent me and my children at all effectively”18%
“I don’t know enough about FACT Bucks to reply”32%
“I’ve never heard of FACT Bucks”47%
 

Analysis

Nearly half (47%) of the respondents had never heard of FACT Bucks. A further third (32%) had heard of FACT Bucks, but didn’t know enough about the charity to be able to say whether or not it effectively represented them and their children. These are deeply troubling responses, given that the poll was conducted in Facebook groups specifically for the people who are supposedly represented by FACT Bucks. Almost 80% of parents of SEND children and young people had a very low or no knowledge of FACT Bucks. This is an unacceptable position for a charity with a statutory remit to represent this very group.

A fifth (21%) of respondents had heard of FACT Bucks, and knew enough to offer an opinion about whether or not the charity effectively represented them and their children. No respondents (0%) said FACT Bucks effectively or very effectively represented them and their children. On the contrary, all of the respondents that knew enough about FACT Bucks to offer an opinion said that the charity did not represent them effectively (3%), or did not represent them at all effectively (18%). These are also deeply troubling responses, suggesting that FACT Bucks does not enjoy the confidence or support of any parents who have experience of their work.

The results of elective polling must always be treated with some caution. However, this poll was sufficiently large and targeted to be indicative of the opinion of parents of SEND children and young people, and the results are sufficiently stark to give confidence to their interpretation.


 

Next Steps

The BuDS Fair4All Education project will raise the results of this poll with both FACT Bucks and Buckinghamshire Council. We will also send them to the Local Offer for SEND Inspection team, as well as sharing them in the groups that were polled.


 

Finally

To learn more about FACT Bucks, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/fact-bucks-who-are-they/

If you’d like to know more about this poll, its results, or find out anything else, please contact us at fair4alleducation@buds.org.uk, or by visiting our contact page. Thank you.