The working document is an important part of a contents appeal. It is a Word version of the EHCP which will be amended by both parties in the run-up up to the hearing – it will go back and forth, back and forth.
As parents you should be given a Word version of the final EHCP. If you don’t get one you must contact the LA to be sent one. If you do not have access the internet, do ask for a copy to be posted to you.
Deadlines for the working document
The SEND Tribunal directions will include a deadline for when the working document with both parties’ amendments needs to be submitted to the SEND Tribunal, although you can continue to negotiate it after that date. (The date is in the Key Dates on the letter that had your hearing date in).
It makes sense to wait until all of the evidence has been filed by both parties and then work through the evidence to see what amendments are needed.
Suggesting amendments to the working document
You should use the table below to mark your suggested amendments to the EHCP on the working document. You then send it to the Tribunal Officers Team – firstname.lastname@example.org (Do look at our ‘Checking a Plan’ for help if needed).
The LA should then come back to you accepting anything that they agree with or it may be that they suggest other amendments (again using the table below).The Working Document then goes back and forth between you and the LA before the hearing date. The idea is that the key issues which you and the LA disagree about are narrowed down to make the hearing much more efficient:IMPORTANT:
The LA will also state:
“Please adhere to the key above:
- Please ensure that you clearly reference all requested changes using footnotes (at the bottom of the page where the requested wording occurs), e.g. “Smith, EP, 28/02/2019, p.1, para. 5”
- Please do not use embedded comments or track changes.
- Please only use black type and Arial 12 pt for changes within the WD, though you can use a dark colour for any comments.
- NB: Footnotes and other comments will be removed from the amended EHCP”
See ‘Check a Plan’ – you need to look at the changes you feel are needed in the plan. You need to go through all the evidence making note of the SEN (special educational needs) identified and the SEP (special educational provision) recommended. Make sure that all of this is in the EHCP and it is in the right sections. It needs to be clear and specific.
You only need to use quotes or even highlight the key points which show the relevant needs or provision. There is no need to copy large sections from professional reports.
If you are asking for a particular School or College placement do think about how the child or young person’s needs and provision can show that this placement is needed. If you are not able to reach agreement with the LA about the contents of the EHCP, the case will proceed to a hearing.
A tribunal bundle
Local Authorities in every EHC appeal must prepare a ‘tribunal bundle’. The bundle includes all documents that were sent by either you or the LA as evidence in the appeal. (It’s all the evidence that has already been sent to the other party and the tribunal).
The Bundle can be a large document and may be sent in a few separate emails with zipped files attached. The local authority cannot choose which evidence from the other party to include in the bundle or leave out. There will be a summary at the beginning with all the attachments listed under Sections.
The tribunal bundle deadlines
The tribunal will tell the LA what the deadline is for sending its bundle to the tribunal in the Key Dates box within the letter you get when your hearing is registered.