Professionals, Committees & Groups

Essex Family Forum is the parent carer forum for the large and diverse county of Essex. Our membership is made up of parents, carers and families with children and young people aged 0-25 with disabilities and/or additional needs.

The forum’s purpose is to work with the local authority, education settings, health commissioners and other providers to help bring about improvements in services for children and young people aged 0-25 with disabilities and/or additional needs.

Parent Carer Representation & Co-Production

The Children and Families Act 2014 places a legal duty to involve parents and carers in how services are delivered.

Evidence demonstrates that working directly with people who use and access services to plan, commission and evaluate them leads to services that are:

  • targeted where they will have the best impact
  • better quality
  • fit-for-purpose, and will
  • improve outcomes for children and families.

By working in partnership with Essex Family Forum, together with our parent carers, you can make the services you plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children, young people and their families.

Please take some time to read through and take into consideration the information below about working with Essex Family Forum and our parent carer representatives.

If you would welcome the opportunity to explore how we might work together, then email us at and we’ll be happy to help.

Working with Essex Family Forum and our parent carer representatives

Practical considerations:

  • Essex Family Forum will, where reasonably practicable, aim to respond within two weeks of receiving your request.
  • Wherever possible two or more forum representatives are invited onto any planning or decision-making group. This provides participants with support and is more likely to ensure consistent representation.
  • Appreciation that forum representatives have other commitments, timetables and give their time voluntarily.
  • Meetings are to be held at family friendly times starting after 10am and finishing by 2.15 pm, unless pre-arranged. These should not be in school holidays unless mutually agreed and must be held in accessible venues.

For meetings forum representatives must be provided with:

  • Clear, comprehensive, jargon free and timely information to enable them to participate and make informed decisions and choices.
  • The opportunity for a brief introduction or to meet with the chair/group beforehand.
  • The responsibilities outlined and information about the current issues being raised at the group.
  • Copies of previous minutes or relevant documents.
  • Given the same courtesy and information as professionals and all other members of the group.
  • Explanations of any jargon or terminology.
  • Opportunity to raise any concerns about the role or place of the forum representative on the group.

Our parent carer representatives will;

  • Have an awareness of and the ability to represent other parent/carer views.
  • Will express the views of Essex Family Forum, wider groups and families of children and young people with disabilities and additional needs living in Essex.
  • Have a willingness to contribute to discussions.
  • Attend regularly and send notification/apologies if unable to attend.
  • Have an understanding of meeting etiquette/protocols
  • Come prepared, e.g. having read minutes and/or any relevant documentation the group has provided in advance.
  • Feedback progress and issues to the Essex Family Forum.