Nottingham City Parent Carer Forum

NCPCF History

Nottingham City’s parent carer forum (NCPCF) was set up under the governments’ transformation programme ‘Aiming High for Disabled Children’ (AHDC) in 2009. This programme led to the landmark reforms in the UK – Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014). Part 3 of the Act relates to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Section 19 particularly provides the legal requirements of local authorities “to have regard to supporting a child or their parents to achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes.” in part (d) of Section 19.

The forum was set up under the Parent Partnership Service and was hosted alongside a parent support group that met monthly at the Children’s Development Centre at the City Hospital. The hosting support group became Rainbow Parents Carers Forum and supported families from both Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire to be heard and achieve better outcomes. The forum is part of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) made up of 152 forums – one for each local authority. 

The Department for Education (DfE) funds the forum and the forum is mandated to be the voice of families in Nottingham City and to shape and influence local decision making by being a critical friend to the local authority. The ideal at the start of our journey was to get to the top of the participation ladder and more recently to be genuine equal partners and co-produce the services and support our community receives.

The reforms

Steering group

The forum has a steering group of volunteer parent carers who are the eyes and ears of our community and often members of other support groups across the city. They meet every second month to discuss what’s working well and less well and represent the views of the wider  community. Additionally, some steering group members are paid to be parent representatives and attend local authority education, health and social care steering groups and work streams.


Ladder of participation

Co-production workstreams

These can be local, regional or national and in October 2023 included the following:

  • SEND accountability board 
  • Keyworker project steering group
  • Learning disability & autism steering group
  • Neuro diverse website steering group
  • ARFID – Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder
  • HAF – Holiday activity & food steering group
  • SEND regional forum
  • Short breaks steering group
  • Education health & care plans quality assurance
  • SEND employment forum
The blobs meet the squares

Annual events

Rainbow PCF has hosted 9 annual events since 2010 and guest speakers have included heads of local authority services, SEN specialists, including Stephen Broach SEN Barrister, members of our community and Maggie Atkinson, the Children’s Commissioner for England.


Annual event

Genuine partnerships

In 2019, Nottingham City Council adopted the ‘Genuine Partnerships’ values and this was launched at our annual event. The four cornerstones of ‘Genuine Partnerships’ can be applied to any setting and should form the baseline for how services interact with our community.   Outcomes are improved when parents and professionals work together, recognising each other’s expert knowledge, to design, develop and improve services for children and young people with SEND in the local area.

Genuine Partnerships

Get involved

We are still on our journey and welcome new members that share our goals.  

If you’d like to receive more information please contact   

For Nottinghamshire County families please see Notts PCF

Nottingham City PCF

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