EPIC - Former Young People's Advisory Group to the DfE

EPIC was the Department for Education’s (DfE) young people’s advisory group on the SEND reforms. EPIC convened in October 2012 to advise, challenge and support the government about how the SEND reforms would affect disabled children and young people directly.

EPIC stands for Equality, Participation, Influencing, Change. In the words of the members they describe themselves as:

"A national advisory group of young disabled people aged 13-25 years old. We support and advise the DfE on the Children and Families Act to make sure young people’s views are taken into account and young people feel they can use us as an access point to the DfE. We discuss issues that affect us and other disabled young people; we advise from our own experiences. We believe that young disabled people’s opinions are valuable and young disabled people should be supported to get their views across and be heard equally with other members of society by professionals and politicians."

EPIC met regularly over three and a half years to discuss particular issues posed by DfE on how the reforms would affect young people. They began with social model of disability training, then training to understand parliamentary process and also learned how to work with a range of stakeholders. Each meeting focused on one or two policy areas and latterly included local participation champions to understand implementation issues and how local areas could better support and develop young people’s participation in their reforms agenda.