SEND Tribunal - Health and Social Care Provisions
Following a 2017 pilot trial involving 17 Local Authorities, the SEND Tribunal has agreed to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care sections of a child or young person’s EHC Plan. The Tribunal will be able to make these recommendations to all Local Authorities as of March 2018, and will require Local Authorities to address the EHCP process in a collaborative manner with health commissioners and providers.
The Tribunal initially ran the pilot scheme to bring greater clarity to the necessary amendments that are commonly raised during EHCP appeals to the Tribunal. Currently, the SEND Tribunal can only comment on amendments to Sections B, F and I of an EHC Plan; this only covers a child or young person’s special educational needs, the provision to meet these needs and the school placement the child or young person will attend. However, in a significant number of cases, there are also amendments that are needed to the health and social care sections of the Plan, as identified in Sections C and G for health and D and H for social care respectively.
The CEDAR Report published in March 2017 details the findings of the pilot trial and recognises that in order for a wider range of parents to benefit from this new process, the pilot should be implemented across all Local Authorities.
Whilst the recommendations the Tribunal can make are non-binding, it is anticipated that Local Authorities will still act on these accordingly, and this has been evidenced in findings from the initial pilot in 2016. Ultimately, the aim of this trial is to encourage Local Authorities to address the EHCP process in a more joined up manner with all of the relevant health and social care authorities and providers. The EHCP process, which follows the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014 from 1 September of that year, aims to make the process for parents and young people as collaborative as possible. We look forward to receiving the first set of outcomes and decisions following the nationwide trial and hope it brings about fewer delays for parents of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and greater access to services and provisions.