Special Educational Needs – legal expenditure

1. What was your total legal expenditure as a Local Authority for each financial year, 1st April ‘ 31st March, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019?

For the following financial years, we can confirm the following information:

2013/14: £2,067,775
2014/15: £1,677,524
2015/16: £2,983,412
2016/17: £2,970,477
2017/18: £2,345,212
2018/19: £2,687,243

*Note, 2019/20 has not been provided as we have not reached the end of the financial year and thus data is incomplete.

2. How much did you spend on outsourced legal services and external counsel for handling and contesting appeals to the Special Educational Needs First-tier Tribunal in each of the years above?

We do not hold the specific costs for outsourced legal services or external counsel costs, in relation to SEN cases. However, by way of advice and assistance we have listed below the number of SEN Tribunal cases that have been referred to the legal department since 2013, where we have instructed counsel:

Number of cases
2013 2
2014 1
2015 1
2016 0
2017 3
2018 0
2019 2

3. What was the internal spend on the council’s legal team for handling and contesting appeals to the Special Educational Needs first-tier Tribunal for each of the years above?

We do not specifically time record for the legal team on SEN cases, therefore we do not hold this information. However, we can estimate that the time spent by the legal team will be minimal for each because of the instruction of counsel, so we would anticipate no more than each case costing us £750 to £1,000 worth of internal staff costs.

4. If no estimates are recorded, please provide the number of hours recorded by in-house solicitors related to work on the Special Educational Needs tribunals for each of the years listed above?

Please refer to our response to question 3 above.