Complaints about education, health and care (EHC) plans
You have a right to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (SEND), also referred to as the SEND Tribunal, if the local authority refuse to carry out an EHC needs assessment or to issue an EHC Plan.
You will need to contact an independent mediation adviser to discuss whether mediation may help before considering an appeal. Whether or not you choose to take up mediation, you will need to obtain a mediation certificate to confirm you have considered this option before going to appeal.
You don't need to consider mediation if your appeal is solely about the name or type of school, college or other institution named on the EHC Plan.
Warwickshire has contracted three independent companies to provide this mediation service for you:
Charles Horn Mediation Services
KIDS SEND Mediation
You can appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (SEND) if you disagree with your local authority's decisions about your child's special educational needs - for example, if they refuse to:
- carry out an assessment of your child's education, health and care needs
- create an EHC Plan after an assessment has been carried out
- change/amend what is in your child's EHC Plan following an annual review
The Tribunal must receive your appeal within 2 months of you receiving the letter about the local authority’s decision.
Up until recently, the Tribunal has only covered the educational aspects of EHC Plans. However, the Government has extended the powers of the First-Tier Tribunal (SEND) to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social aspects of EHC Plans as part of a national trial (single route of redress national trial). The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC Plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018 and will run until August 2020, when a decision will be made on its continuation.
It is only possible for the Tribunal to consider the health and/or social aspects of the EHC Plan when you are already making an appeal in relation to the educational aspects of the EHC Plan and the education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.
If the Tribunal makes a recommendation about health or social care elements of the EHC Plan, this is non-binding. This means that the local authority is generally expected to follow such recommendations but they are not legally binding. Where they are not followed, the reasons for not following them must be explained and set out in writing to you and to the Department of Education. If they are not followed, you have the right to complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) or seek judicial review.
For more detailed information about the single route of redress national trial see Send Delivery Support.
You can also appeal to the Tribunal if a local authority has discriminated against your child or someone else because of your child's disability.
The Tribunal is independent of government and will listen to both sides of the argument before making a decision.