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Devon’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer

What to do if you are not happy about an EHCP decision

If your request for an assessment or an EHCP is refused then we must inform you.

If after a needs assessment request, we decide not to complete an assessment, we must inform you within six weeks of the request.

If we decide, following a needs assessment, not to issue an EHCP, we must inform you within 16 weeks of the request for an assessment.

Children without an EHCP will typically be educated in a mainstream nursery, school or college. The educational setting may have funding allocated to them to support children and young people with SEND.

What to do if you’re not happy with a decision

If you are not happy with either of these decisions, then you will have two months to make an appeal to a tribunal.

Most disagreements about special educational provision can be resolved by talking with us, the education setting or professionals who work with the child. If you need help with this you can contact DiAS who offer impartial information and advice to parents/carers and young people.

It can, however, be difficult to reach an agreement sometimes, so we must make arrangements for both disagreement resolution and mediation services. These services are free, confidential and independent.

Disagreement resolution

Disagreement resolution uses a trained and independent mediator to help resolve disagreements and find a solution in a quick and informal way. The use of this service is voluntary and has to be agreed on by everyone involved.

This service is available to help resolve disagreements about:

  • how the early years setting, school, college or local authority is carrying out its education, health and care duties for children and young people with SEND – this can include any of the SEN duties, not just those concerning EHC Needs Assessments or EHCPs.
  • the provision that the early years setting, school, or college is making – this applies to children and young people with any kind of SEN, not just those going through an EHC Needs Assessment or with an EHCP.
  • the health or social care provision during an EHC Needs Assessment, while EHCPs are being drawn up or reviewed, while awaiting an appeal or when children or young people are being re-assessed – in these cases, the disagreement will be with us or the Clinical Commissioning Group, rather than the education setting

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process for parents/carers and young people, which can be used if agreement cannot be reached about matters related to EHCPs. It is provided by an independent, trained and accredited mediator.

A request for mediation must be made within two months of the date of our decision notice.

If you decide to go to mediation, Global Mediation will make all the arrangements for you. The mediation will take place within 30 days and will be at a time and place that is convenient to you.

When is mediation available?

Mediation is available if there is a disagreement about our decision to:

  • not carry out an EHC Needs Assessment or re-assessment
  • not draw up an EHCP after an EHC Needs Assessment has been done
  • not amend an EHCP after an annual review or re-assessment
  • cease to maintain an EHCP

Mediation must also be available if parents/carers or young people disagree with:

  • the parts of the EHCP that describe the child or young person’s special educational needs
  • the special educational provision set out in the EHCP
  • the health and social care elements of an EHCP

Further information on mediation

Appeal to the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Tribunal

Parents, carers and young people can register an appeal to the SEND Tribunal about concerns relating to SEND provision and decisions about EHCPs. The independent, first-tier tribunal hear and decide on appeals against our decisions in relation to special educational needs.

How to register an appeal

To register an appeal you must first contact an independent mediation adviser and obtain a certificate to show that you have done so. The mediation adviser will provide you with additional information, explain what is involved and answer any questions you may have about mediation.

Once you have contacted the mediation adviser you can choose whether you wish to go to mediation or not.

You will need a certificate from the mediation adviser before you can register your appeal with the SEND Tribunal. This will be issued within three days of you concluding mediation or telling the mediator you do not want to attend mediation.

You do not need to have a certificate from a mediation adviser before you register an appeal with the SEND Tribunal if the appeal is:

  • solely about the name of the school, college or other institution named on the EHCP
  • about the type of school, college or other institution specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named
  • solely about the health and social care elements of an EHCP

From 3 April 2018, Devon will be part of a national trial which gives you the opportunity to request recommendations about the health and social care content of the plan alongside education content. You can read more about this in the EHCP Tribunals: Single Route of Redress Guide.

More information

  • The government provides information about appeals to the SEND Tribunal.
  • DiAS can also give you more information and advice about what is involved and the options that are open to you.

Making a complaint

In the first instance, you should always try and solve any problems directly with the provider, whether this is a school, social care or health service, or a private company. If it is not possible to solve the problem in this way you may need to submit an official complaint.

If you don’t feel confident doing this by yourself you can ask DiAS for help and support.

Early years settings, schools and colleges will have complaints procedure available which should be available on the website or from the office.

The government website also has more information about making a complaint.

Contact the SEN 0-25 Team

Devon’s SEN 0-25 Team carries out EHC Needs Assessments and maintains and reviews EHCPs. They also co-ordinate the writing of EHCPs using information gathered from education, health and care professionals.

If you have further questions, you can contact the SEN 0-25 Team by calling 01392 380434. Phone lines will be open weekdays, 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm.

You can also email the SEN 0-25 Team at specialeducation@devon.gov.uk.


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