What to do when you are concerned that you or your child is not receiving the special educational needs provision that is written in their Education Health and Care plan.
Special Educational Provision in Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan
The local authority (“LA”) has a legal duty to ensure that the special educational provision specified in an Education, Health and Care (“EHC”) plan is delivered to you and your child (this is set out in section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014).
The only exception to this duty is if suitable alternative arrangements have been made. For example, you have made arrangements for you or your child to attend an independent school or college or education has been arranged at home through Elective Home Education (EHE) arrangements. In this situation the local authority stops having a duty to secure special educational provision in the EHC plan.
However, before this can happen, the local authority must satisfy itself that the alternative arrangements are suitable. This means considering whether the arrangements will support you or your child to make progress in achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC Plan and/or, if it is realistic that you can fund this arrangement for a reasonable period of time.
If you or your child is attending a nursery, school or college, the setting will make the arrangements for organising the special educational provision in Section F of the plan, which may include provision or support from other services, such as specialist outreach teachers or speech and language therapists, as necessary. This would usually be overseen by the Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCo) in the education setting.
If for any reason the education setting is not able to do this (for example, because they do not have the resources, money or expertise) then the LA must take steps and ensure the provision as set out in the EHC plan is made.
This will be set out in Section F of the EHC plan. Provision must be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of times, frequency and who will deliver this provision. Section F provision may include provision delivered by health or care services if it educates or trains you or your child.
In some cases, flexibility will be required to meet the changing needs of you or your child but it should be clear how this may change.
What do we do if we are worried about the provision/support that has been arranged or that the provision is being removed or reduced without the EHC plan being amended?
It is best to discuss any problems with your or your child’s teacher, SENCo or head teacher first, because often solutions can be found by working together. In some cases, just sharing further information about the support that is being provided will reassure you.
You might want to ask about when and by who the provision is being delivered during the school day or week, and if funding is reported to be an issue for the education setting, whether they receive additional funding to support you or your child.
However, if this is not possible, or you believe you or your child is still not receiving the special educational provision specified in Section F of their EHC plan, contact should be made with the local SEND Family Service Team. If immediate contact is not possible, then someone will return your call within 3 working days or respond to your email within 5 working days.
The SEND Family Services Team will record your concerns and ask what discussions have taken place and whether any actions have already been agreed.
They will then contact the education setting and discuss the reasons why the provision/support is not in place. This may include questions about whether settings are accessing the high needs funding available to them, whether specialist advice, guidance and training is needed for staff, whether there are staff sickness or recruitment issues impacting on the delivery of support or whether equipment is required. In addition, if the concerns relate to speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or physiotherapy which are set out in Section F usually provided by the NHS, an understanding as to why this provision is not being delivered.
We expect to have an initial response from the education setting within 5 working days.
Resolving your concerns may depend upon the involvement required but you will be informed of the actions that the LA will take within 5 working days.
These are some of the possible outcomes:
- Advice is given about High Needs Funding arrangements to support the delivery of provision
- Inclusion Specialist Education Services provide advice and guidance to the setting and if they are not already involved, advise how the setting can request support with you or your child
- Contact will be made with Designated Clinical Officers (DCOs) regarding heath related therapy provision or Social Care Managers as appropriate to discuss how this can be provided, which may include securing this in a different way, or by the LA arranging this from another provider
- An annual review meeting is arranged at an agreed time with you to include attendance from Family Services Team and other practitioners involved with you or your child to review progress, provision and/or placement as appropriate to the concerns.
- Involvement of the LA’s Standards and Excellence Team, who support whole school development, or a request for support from the Regional Schools’ Commissioner
Following discussions with the education setting and liaison with any necessary services that are required to resolve your concerns about the special educational provision specified in Section F of the EHC Plan, the SEND Family Services Team will confirm any actions that are being taken, who is taking those actions and the deadline for the actions to be completed. These will be confirmed in writing.
What do we do if we are worried that the support arrangements that have been identified in the EHC Plan from Health (Section G) and/or Social Care (Sections H1 and H2) are not being made available?
As a first step, discuss the concerns with the practitioner who usually supports you or your child or you could ask for details of their manager and contact them too.
However, if this does not resolve matters and you or your child is not receiving the health and/or care provision specified in the EHC plan, contact can still be made with the local SEND Family Service Team. They will make contact with the service provider to make them aware of the concerns you have raised with the LA and ask that someone contacts you to discuss this further. This may be a manager within Social Care or the Designated Clinical Officer for the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The Local Authority has a duty to provide the social care provision specified in Section H1 and the local CCG is responsible for Section G provision.
What do we do if, after the LA has investigated and implemented the actions agreed, we are still not satisfied that the special education, health or care support specified in the EHC Plan is being delivered?
You should follow the relevant formal complaints process for the service or if you have already done this, you can bring your concerns to the attention of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).
Further information about formal complaints is available through SENDIASS: https://www.suffolksendiass.co.uk/education/raising-concerns
These are not the only options, as you could apply for Judicial Review if the matter is serious or urgent. The Local Authority’s duty is to you or your child and can be enforced by mandatory order of the court following an application for judicial review. (R v London Borough of Harrow ex parte M  ELR 62.