What to do if a parent/carer or young person disagrees with a decision that the LA has made regarding Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs and assessments or issue of an EHC plan?
Disagreements about LA decisions usually relate to the following:
- Decision not to carry out an EHC needs Assessment
- Decision not to issue an EHC plan after a needs assessment has been completed
- Content in the final EHC plan, including the educational placement
- Decision not to amend a plan after a review
- Content of amended EHC plan
- Decision to cease an EHC plan
The LA will notify parents/carers or a young person of any decisions in writing with reasons for this and explain the actions that can be taken if there is disagreement with this decision including:
The EHCPco will be able to talk through the reasons behind the decision in more detail and answer questions or concerns that parents/carers or a young person may have.
Mediation offers opportunity for a face to face meeting with an independent trained facilitator and a representative from the LA 0-25 SEND Service. Parents and LA views can be shared and explained ensuring that the focus remains on the needs of the child or young person. The aim of mediation is to reach agreement, where possible, on a way forward that is acceptable to all.
Engagement with mediation is not mandatory. Parents/carers or young people can choose not to use the service or withdraw from the mediation process at any time.
Parents/carers or young people can also take part in disagreement resolution which operates in a similar way to mediation. This can be in addition to any mediation or appeal.
Croydon’s current provider for mediation and dispute resolution is Global Mediation, contact details and more information about this service can be found by downloading the leaflet or by following the link to the Global Mediation website (external link).
Parents/carers and young people can challenge a decision through the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal Service.
If a right to appeal to is considered then the parent or carer or young person must provide evidence that they have contacted a mediation service first.
This is a simple process whereby a mediator issues a certificate to confirm that contact has been made and that information about the services mediation can provide has been made available. Alternatively, the certificate can confirm that the mediation process has been completed.
As from 3rd April 2018, appeals to the SEND tribunal can include recommendations regarding the health and social care sections in the EHC plan as part of a two-year trial.
Prior to this only the educational aspects of the EHC plans could be appealed through this process. The trial gives new rights to raise all concerns about the content of an EHC plan in one place. Recommendations for health and social care sections can only be made if an appeal is being made in relation to education aspects of the EHC plan.
If the tribunal does agree to make recommendations for health and social care sections these are non-binding. If Croydon LA and/or local Health Commissioners decide not to follow these recommendations they will give written notification of this setting out the reasons for not doing so within 5 weeks of the tribunal decision.
The documents you need to make an appeal can be found on the gov.uk First Tier Tribunal Website
or you can request information by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents/ carers or young people considering using the right of appeal may wish to seek specialist legal advice and/or advocacy.
Free sources of legal and independent advice that can help you include:
- IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) - (external link)
(Various resources including a Refusal to Assess Pack for parents)
- Contact (Support for families with disabled children) - (external link)
(Telephone helpline, advice and information)
- Croydon SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs Independent Advice and Support Service) - (external link)
(Information, advice and support)
- Independent Supporters Family Lives - (external link)
(Telephone Helpline, advice, information and support)