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Delivering Better Value in SEND

The Department for Education acknowledges the current challenges which local systems are experiencing in delivering special educational needs and disability services (SEND). The Delivering Better Value in SEND programme (DBV in SEND) is aiming to support local authorities and their local area partners to improve the delivery of SEND services for children and young people whilst working towards financial sustainability.

Visit the Delivering Better Value in SEND Programme website to watch a video about the programme and find out more information. Delivering Better Value in SEND Programme (

Why was the DBV in SEND programme created?

The Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) green paper identifies three key challenges facing the SEND system: poor outcomes for children and young people with SEND and in AP; low parental and provider confidence; and financial unsustainability.

The Department for Education recognises that change is needed but that this will take time. It is therefore currently providing three support offers to local authorities and their partners in relation to funding challenges and High Needs budget sustainability. The aim of all three programmes is to facilitate sustainable management of local authorities’ high needs systems, with support and intervention tailored to the problems areas are facing. The programme will not ‘write off’ any High Needs budget deficits.

map shows Council's in DBV .

The three programmes are:

The Safety Valve Intervention

Introduced by DfE in 2020-21 for those local authorities with the greatest financial challenges. Additional Safety Valve agreements have been made since the programme started.

The Delivering Better Value in SEND Programme

Introduced in 2021-22 as an optional programme providing dedicated support and funding to 55 local authorities – chosen based on those facing the greatest financial challenges after those authorities that have already been invited to join the Safety Valve Intervention Programme.

Education and Skills Funding
Agency Programme

Tailored support and challenge depending on the financial position of the local authority. All local authorities who are not on the Safety Valve or DBV SEND programmes will be contacted by the ESFA. Advice from the ESFA will draw on learning from existing programmes and relevant research conducted by the department.

The content and images on this page were originally published on Delivering Better Value in SEND Programme (

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