Universal, targeted and specialist services explained

Universal, targeted and specialist are terms applied to services available for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) 

Universal services

These are services which all families can access without needing any extra support or resources. Universal services are provided by a range of different agencies, including health and education. Health visitors, GPs and school nurses are all examples of universal services as are leisure centres and parks in the community. These services are expected to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that children and young people with SEND have no barriers to accessing them.

Targeted services

These services are for children and young people who may need additional support to access services or may need groups or services that are specifically designed to meet their needs. Targeted services can be accessed directly without being referred through the children’s disability team.

Specialist services

These services are for children and young people with severe, profound and / or complex needs who are likely to need even more support than is available either through universal or targeted services. These services can include access to specialist weekend and holiday clubs and may also include support through direct payments (PDF - 348.19 KB).or personal budgets (PDF - 299.07 KB) and overnight short breaks.

This level of service will require an assessment of need from the children’s disability team.  If you are not already known to the childrens disability team, please complete our short breaks assessment form which will be reviewed by one of our team or you can request a social work assessment, which is a more in-depth assessment completed by a social worker.