Transfers from Statements to EHCPs Transfers from Statements to EHCPs
9th March 2018
As the March 31st Department for Education deadline for transfers from statements to EHCPs approaches we are getting increased numbers of calls from parents concerned about the deadline. The Department for Education have put out some useful clarification of the legal position of statements after the 31st March deadline, attached below (in brief, Yes they will still be valid). We have also had a meeting with the SEN team at AfC where we discussed how parents should expect their cases to be handled in the coming weeks. These answers are based on meetings held between AfCâ€™s SEN team, SFV and Ruils. (acronyms are explained on page 5)
Frequently Asked Questions 1. I have received my draft EHCP, but I am not happy with the contents, AfC have given me only 15 days to respond, what should I do? The 15 day deadline is part of the statutory process and not defined by AfC. If you are unhappy with what is written in the draft, you should respond in writing with the changes that you want within the 15 days. Remember that changes to sections B, C, D (needs) and F, G, H (Provision) need to backed up by a report from school or professional (or be part of the existing statement). If you wish, you have the right to request a meeting with your case officer to discuss the draft, however they may say that there is insufficient time before the deadline to arrange a meeting. In this case you may be happy to accept a final plan, but we suggest that you ask for confirmation in writing from your case officer that the plan will be reviewed by them, by a particular date, with respect to whatever it is that you disagree with. Or you can continue to push for a meeting. 2. I have received my draft EHCP, but there are significant pieces of advice missing (e.g. speech and language therapist input), what should I do? We understand from the SEN team that draft EHCPs are being issued for some transfers even though advice is missing. This can happen when the service providing the advice is unable to complete a proper assessment before 31st March. Critically, AfC have assured us that if this is the case the accompanying letter sent out with the draft should make this clear and provide assurances that as soon as the advice does become available it will be incorporated into the plan. If you are happy with this approach (and you have this in writing) then you may wish to go ahead on this basis. If you are not happy for a plan to be finalised with some advice missing then you should communicate this to your case officer and request an extension. A more complex issue arises when there is a disagreement with AfC over which advice should be included. Hopefully your case officer discussed with you at the start of the process which professional advice they would be
[Type here] seeking during the transfer review and which additional advice you may wish to submit as a parent. If this did not happen and some key advice has been missed then we suggest that you raise it with your case officer as soon as possible and request an extension to the deadline. If AfC do go ahead and finalise the plan then you have two options – see below. 3. I have been issued with a final EHCP but I am not happy with the content, what should I do? Once you have a final plan there are two options: 1) All plans are subject to review at the Annual Review meeting, and at the meeting you can discuss changes, or ask the school or local authority to conduct additional assessments. EHCPs should not be set in stone, they should evolve with the child, and the annual review process is the way to do this. You might feel this approach is acceptable if the plan covers what your child or young person needs in the short term and you are happy with the placement (school) named in section I. Additional information on the annual review is available in the Golden Binder https://5f2fe3253cd1dfa0d089bf8b2cdb6a1dc2999fecbc372702016c.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/uploads/ckeditor /attachments/2178/07_GOLDEN_BINDER_Annual_Review_v3_300417.pdf or, if you prefer, in video form (from the Council for Disabled Children) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9n5EzYIwKA&feature=share 2) If you believe that immediate changes must be made to the plan then you can request mediation or seek redress at the SEND Tribunal. If you wish to take this route then you may want to request advice and support, we can provide a range of contacts if you need them. There is some additional information on this in the Golden Binder: https://5f2fe3253cd1dfa0d089bf8b2cdb6a1dc2999fecbc372702016c.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/uploads/ckeditor /attachments/2012/10_MAGIC_BINDER__010_GOLDEN_BINDER_What_to_do_if_you_disagree_with_a_decision.pdf 4. I haven’t yet received a draft. What should I do? First of all check that you received a so-called “trigger letter” from Achieving for Children (many of these were sent out around October and November). This explains that your child’s statement will be transferred to an EHCP and will request that a call or meeting (the transfer review meeting) will be arranged to discuss the transfer process. If you did receive this letter, then AfC have a duty to provide you with a finalised EHCP within 18 weeks of the date of the meeting they scheduled (even if the meeting did not go ahead). If you are within 2 weeks of the 18 week deadline then you should have received a final Transfers from Statements to EHCPs. Published 9th March 2018
[Type here] draft by now and if you haven’t then you should raise this with your case officer. If you didn’t receive a “trigger letter” then you should contact your case officer or the general the SEN team number (020 8547 5872) immediately to find out what the status of your transfer is. 5. I have reviewed the draft, but no final plan has been issued. What should I do? If you have already had the chance to feedback your comments on the draft and you are simply waiting for the finalised plan then it may be that AfC are following up internally on approvals (changes in provision need to be reviewed at Panel, some provision needs to be signed off by other organisations e.g. health). It may be this slowing up the process, or it may just be sheer volume of paperwork. You may want to email your case officer to get an update on status. As the March 31st deadline approaches, AfC will be aiming to get as many final plans sent out as possible, however sometimes things do get stuck in the system. The bottom line is that there is a duty on the Local Authority (AfC) to finalise a plan within 18 weeks of the transfer review call / meeting. 6. I still have questions. What can I do? If you are having any difficulty with any of this do get in touch with us as we have agreed with the SEN team that we can contact them on behalf of any parent who is unhappy or has a problem. T: 07469 746 145 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.sendfamilyvoices.org
Clarification from the Department for Education on the Legal Status of EHCPs post March 31st Source: DfE March newsletter, published on the CDC website: https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/help-resources/resources/departmenteducation-send-newsletters This link takes you to a page with all the newsletters; go right to the bottom of the page to find March 2018
Transfer deadline of 31 March 2018 As you know, all local authorities are under a statutory duty to complete transfer reviews of statements of SEN by 31 March 2018. We have been gathering information, every month, from local authorities to assess their progress. We understand the pressures on local authorities and recognise that this is a challenging
Transfers from Statements to EHCPs. Published 9th March 2018
[Type here] task, and are grateful for the hard work and commitment that everyone is putting into it. It is important that all local authorities meet this deadline, and achieve it in a way that ensures good quality assessments are undertaken and high quality plans are in place. In the event that any local authority is unable to meet the 31 March 2018 deadline for all its statement transfers, the Department will contact each LA in this situation and consider what actions are needed to ensure all remaining transfers are completed in a timely and accurate way. It is also important to note that for any statement of SEN for which a transfer review has not been completed by 31 March 2018, the special educational provision and the placement described in the statement will continue to remain in force until a transfer review has been completed and a decision is made about future provision. Local authorities must communicate, as soon as possible, with the families of children and young people whose transfer review will not be completed by the deadline, in order to provide reassurance about their provision and placement. We have prepared the attached (Annex A) advice and clarification for families whose child or young person’s transfer review has not been completed by the deadline. Annex A: Advice and clarification for families for specific situations around transfers from Statements to Education, Health and Care Plans 1) (a) My child has a Statement and is transferring from school to FE in September 2018 but his/her EHC needs assessment hasn’t been concluded. Will his/her Statement lapse when he/she leaves school? Transition provisions set out in the transition regulations (SI 2014/2270) enable existing statements to continue in place under the Education Act 1996 until an EHC needs assessment is concluded. This applies regardless of whether the Statement would have lapsed under the previous system. This ensures no child or young person with a Statement will lose support because their review has not been completed by the deadline. For any child or young person in that position, local authorities will remain responsible for ensuring that the provision and placement in their statement continues to be made. 1 (b) I have a Statement and will have turned 19 years of age by the end of August. My transfer review is under way but it hasn’t concluded. Will I still be able to access provision and an educational placement in September? As in 1a above, local authorities are under a duty to complete the transfer review as quickly as possible. In this scenario, the local authority is expected to plan for the following academic year, in line with expectations set out in the 2015 Code of Practice, and to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for September, pending completion of the transfer review. 2) I’m moving to another area in April and my child’s, transfer review has not been completed, which means that he/she still has a Statement. What will happen and how can I guarantee a new special school place near my new home?
Transfers from Statements to EHCPs. Published 9th March 2018
[Type here] If your child has a Statement of SEN and moves to a new local authority, the transfer will be governed by the SEN Code of Practice 2001, which states, in paragraph 8:115, that the receiving local authority may bring forward the annual review of the Statement or conduct a new assessment, but they are not obliged to do so – they may decide to accept and implement the Statement in its current form. The authority must inform parents of their decision within six weeks of the date of transfer of responsibility between LAs. If the receiving authority decides that a new assessment is necessary, it would be open to them to carry out an EHC needs assessment with a view to issuing an EHC plan. 3) What will happen to local authorities that have Statements outstanding on 1 April 2018? Where LAs have Statements of SEN remaining beyond the end of March, they will be in breach of a statutory duty. There will be follow-up, by DfE, with every LA in that position. Our focus is on getting high quality provision in place for children and young people, underpinned by high quality EHC plans. We want everyone to benefit from the new system as soon as possible but that cannot come at the cost of quality. Our actions will be proportionate to, and dependent upon, the position each LA is in.
Some Acronyms explained AfC AfC’s SEN team CDC DfE EHCP LA Ruils SFV
Achieving for Children (providers of children’s services for Kingston and Richmond) The team responsible for managing children and young people’s Education, Health & Care Plans and, in this context, the transfer of Statements of SEN to an EHCP Council for Disabled Children Department for Education Education, Health & Care Plan Local Authority. In Kingston & Richmond, this role is taken by AfC Richmond based charity supporting families and adults with additional needs SEND Family Voices
Transfers from Statements to EHCPs. Published 9th March 2018