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East Sussex Supported Employment Forum Terms of Reference

Aim of East Sussex Supported Employment Forum

The East Sussex Supported Employment Forum is the strategic body for supported employment, with the key aim of ensuring all young people with special educational needs, adults with a learning disability and autistic people in East Sussex have the opportunity to secure meaningful paid employment.

Main responsibilities

Purpose of the East Sussex Supported Employment Forum:

  • To develop a strategic approach aimed at improving employment outcomes for young people with SEND, adults with a learning disability and Autistic people through supported employment pathways.
  • Work collectively to agree priorities and an East Sussex Supported Employment Forum action plan.
  • To bring together all the local partners who can develop and deliver pathways to sustainable employment and promote collaborative working.
  • To create good quality routes/pathways that will support more young people and adults with SEND/learning disabilities/autistic people into paid employment.
  • To identify, develop and promote training and resources that schools, colleges, training providers and employers can access to make meaningful paid work a realistic outcome for all young people and adults with SEND/learning disabilities/autistic people.
  • Horizon scan and identify change, challenge and issues arising, and where appropriate seek to address such issues locally and/or nationally where they impact on learners, employers, or training/support providers.
  • Share intelligence about the effectiveness of different interventions and approaches and good practice examples.
  • Where appropriate develop a co-ordinated approach to maximising funding opportunities to support employment opportunities for those with SEND/learning disabilities/autistic people across the county.
  • Champion better and more effective employer engagement across East Sussex
  • To provide partnership strategic support and challenge to the implementation of the national Internships Work* (see Appendix 1) grant funding and action plan.

How East Sussex Supported Employment Forum will work

The East Sussex Supported Employment Forum will act as the strategic body for supported employment in the county and will:

  • meet 3 times per year with additional workshops/training to meet the requirements of the national Internships Work programme (where needed)
  • ensure agenda and background papers are sent to members at least five working days prior to meetings
  • circulate minutes of actions and decisions to members for approval no later than ten working days following each meeting, and actions will be monitored as a standing item at subsequent meetings

Membership, decision-making and secretariat


Members of East Sussex Supported Employment Forum will include representatives from the following areas (see Appendix 2 for organisations)

  • County wide supported employment providers
  • Local education providers – to include schools, colleges, training providers.
  • Voluntary and Community Sector • Employer Champions
  • Local Authority – to include Children’s Services, Adult Social Care, and Skills & Employability
  • Employment Support Services e.g., DWP
  • Careers related services/Information Advice & Guidance
  • Parents/Carers*
  • Service Users*

*To promote collaborative planning, wider engagement and effect change locally, specific forum events and workshops will be aimed at parent/carers and young people/adults and with employers. Acknowledging that these key stakeholder groups may need a targeted approach and a different method and means to securing effective engagement/participation.


Members of the East Sussex Supported Employment Forum will show commitment to:

  • attend meetings where possible and if not able to attend, send an appropriate representative and/or apologies with any updates to share.
  • input in to and agree the annual SEF action plan in line with aims and priorities set out above which will incorporate the Internship Works objectives.
  • input in to and agree agenda items for each meeting.
  • bring forward issues and ideas for discussion and decision.
  • feed in and out from the organisations that they represent to ensure relevant input to the meeting.
  • share provision updates to ensure this is reflected in the Local Offer and to support appropriate signposting/mapping of services.
  • share data regarding numbers of young people and adults accessing provision and destination/ employment outcomes, which will help inform and shape good practice, as well as identify gaps.


The Secretariat for the East Sussex Supported Employment Forum will be provided by Little Gate Supported Employment. Its main responsibilities will be to:

  • organise East Sussex Supported Employment Forum meetings, in partnership with ESCC Post 16 Team, including agreeing dates and venues, and providing agendas and background papers and gaining prior agreement to dates, venues and papers by the Chair and Co-chair before circulation.
  • produce the minutes of meetings and once these are approved by the Chair and Co-chair ensure that these are circulated in accordance with these terms of reference.
  • gather ongoing feedback from the members to shape and inform the Forum and to agree future agenda items.
  • Regular standard agenda items to include:
  1. Internships Work initiative, Supported Employment for Young people with SEND and Adults with a Learning Disability
  2. Supported Employment for Autistic People
  3. liaise with the Skills East Sussex Chair and members on other matters as required.

The Chief Executive Officer of Little Gate Supported Employment will chair meetings, with support from the Co-chair (ESCC Post 16 DSM or SM).

The Chair will:

  • ensure each meeting is planned effectively, conducted accordingly and that matters are dealt with in an orderly and efficient manner.
  • Ensure that all members of the SEF, and the provision they represent, are valued and that members are courteous and respectful of each other and each other’s provision.
  • chair meetings, introduce objectives and, together with the Co-chair, ensure clear decisions are reached.
  • Ensure all agenda items are discussed and that the meeting starts/finish on time.
  • Summarise key points, outcomes and actions at the end of each agenda item so members are clear.
  • ensure that all representatives have a fair and equal opportunity to contribute to the discussions.
  • together with the Co-chair, agree all East Sussex Supported Employment Forum papers and minutes before circulation.

Appendix 1 - Internships Work

In 2022 the Government reinforced its commitment to supporting more young people with SEND into employment. The Department for Education is funding a three-year programme to strengthen Supported Internship provision in England.

The programme, titled Internships Work, is delivered by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE) and DFN Project SEARCH and includes the follow key elements:

1.Support to local authorities
NDTi will be supporting Local Authorities to establish and develop SEND employment forums, as well as administrating and monitoring Section 14 grants to support them with this programme.

2.Engaging & supporting employers
DFN Project SEARCH will lead on engaging employers and support them to offer high quality work placements by providing information, advice and training that enable growth in internships and job opportunities.

3.Establishing a Supported Internships Quality Assurance Framework (SIQAF)
BASE will be lead on establishing a sustainable process to improve the quality of Supported Internship provision, using a Quality Assurance framework. The Supported Employment Quality Framework will provide organisations with support on completing self-assessments and auditing so that they can work towards achieving the proposed quality kitemark that shows that they are providing true Supported Internships that lead to real jobs.

4.Investing in training
BASE will also lead on delivering Job Coach & Systematic Instruction training to over 700 job coaches. The bespoke training has been developed in line with the Supported Employment National Occupational Standards (NOS) and reflect the key principle to training job coaches in the latest Supported Internships Guidance.

Appendix 2 - East Sussex Core Members

(To be reviewed and updated annually)

  • Little Gate Supported Employment
  • East Sussex College Group
  • Plumpton College
  • St John’s College
  • The Oaks Specialist College
  • The Parchment Trust
  • Steps To Work (ESCC)
  • Team Domenica
  • Glyne Gap School
  • Saxon Mount
  • The Mount Camphill Community
  • ISEND Post 16 & INMS (ESCC)
  • British Association for Supported Employment
  • Adult Social Care Learning Disability Commissioning (ESCC)
  • Amaze
  • De La Warr Pavilion
  • DFN Project Search
  • DWP
  • Youth Employability Service (CXK)
  • East Sussex Careers Hub (Careers Enterprise Company & ESCC)
  • Participation & Skills – Education Division (ESCC)
  • NDTi