Section 44 of the Children and Families Act 2014 stipulates that a Local Authority must review an Education, Health and Care Plan every 12 months. There is also the opportunity to secure a re-assessment, which may be vital if an EHC plan is produced on out-of-date evidence. In some cases, children and young people's EHC plans still rely on evidence obtained during the statement process. This practice is not acceptable and creates significantly out of date documents.
What is also important to note is that the following steps must take place in an annual review:
- The LA must consult with you (and with the school or institution if there is one) and take account of everyone's views, wishes and feelings.
- An annual review meeting must take place to discuss the EHCP.
- Information must be gathered from you and from professionals about the EHC plan and then circulated two weeks before the meeting.
- Following the meeting, a meeting report must be prepared and circulated to those who either:
- attended the meeting; or
- submitted information to be discussed at the meeting.
- The LA then reviews the EHCP.
- The LA must notify you of their decision within four weeks of the meeting.
- All of these steps must be followed in order for an annual review to be completed.
The Annual Review Timeline
- Annual Review Date Scheduled
- Four weeks from the date of the annual review (if the LA agrees to amend), the LA MUST issue a proposed amended EHCP – This is a statutory timescale, and anything over this is considered an undue delay in accordance with SEN code of practice 2015.
- Eight weeks from the date of the decision letter (if the LA agrees to amend) (12 weeks from the date of the annual review), the LA MUST issue a final amended EHCP – This is a statutory timescale, and anything over this is considered an undue delay in accordance with SEN code of practice 2015.
SEN Regulation 18: Circumstances when the Local Authority must hold an Annual Review
Where a child or young person is within 12 months of a transfer between phases of education, the Local Authority must review and amend the EHCP before:
- 31 March in the calendar year of the child transfer from secondary school to a post-16 institution;
- 15 February in the calendar year of the child's transfer in any other case.
Where it is proposed that a young person transfers from one post-16 institution to another post-16 institution, the local authority must review and amend the EHC plan at least five months before that transfer takes place so that it names the post-16 institution that the young person will attend following the transfer.
SEN Regulation 19 and 20 deal with the conduct of the review
SEN Regulation 21 deals with what happens if a child does not attend school
SEN Regulation 22: Amending an EHCP following an Annual Review
Where the LA is considering amending an EHCP following a review, it must:
- send you a copy of the EHCP together with a notice specifying the proposed amendments, together with copies of any evidence which supports those amendments;
- provide you with notice of your right to request the LA to secure that a particular school (or other institution) is named in the plan
- Give you at least 15 days (beginning with the day on which the draft plan was served) to:
- make representations about the content of the draft plan;
- request that a particular school or other institution be named in the plan;
- request a meeting with an officer of the Local Authority if you wish to make representations.
Where the Local Authority decides to amend the EHC plan following representations from you, it must send the finalised EHC plan to:
- the child's parent or the young person;
- the governing body, proprietor or principal of any school or other institution named in the EHCP; and
- the responsible commissioning body
The finalised EHC plan must be issued within eight weeks of the Local Authority sending a copy of the EHCP, which it should do four weeks after the Annual Review when notifying that it is going to amend the plan.