Refusal to Assess for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)
Appeals against the Local Authority’s (LA) decision not to carry out an EHC needs assessment are considered on the papers without the need for the parties (LA and parents/carers) to attend a hearing. You will send in all your evidence and explain your arguments in writing. The Tribunal will consist of 2 or 3 professionals/SEND specialists on the Panel, including 1 Judge and an expert in SEND related matters.
Within ten working days of submitting your appeal you will receive a confirmation email from the Tribunal Service that your appeal has been successfully lodged. At this point the Tribunal service will also make the LA aware you that have lodged your appeal against them.
The email will have some attachments to it, namely the ‘parent registration letter’ and advice on how to communicate with the Tribunal Service and will explain the Tribunal process and give dates by when actions need to be taken by yourself and the Local Authority (LA).
There is a summary of Key Dates at the bottom of the ‘parent registration letter’ which are in a box. Please note that these dates are not in order and it is important to note that some have a time next to them to e.g. by noon by such a date.
It is important to remember that the Judge and professionals/SEND specialists will only have the evidence in front of them (in the Bundle) and will not be able to ask you any questions, so it is important to ensure that every piece of evidence or report has been emailed to Tribunal to be contained within the Bundle. Don’t assume they will ‘read between the lines’, it’s all about the evidence in front of them.
There will be a window of time between two dates, around ten days apart and your appeal could be heard anywhere between these two dates. Approximately 2 weeks before the hearing date you will receive a’ Notice of Hearing’, which will advise you on which date your appeal will be heard.
You will receive the Tribunal decision (and reasons for the decision) ten working days after the hearing.
Note: You may make a written request to the Tribunal for a refusal to assess hearing to be heard orally and your reasons will be considered by the Judge. The date for an oral hearing may be set later than that for a paper hearing. In most cases there would appear to be no advantage in asking for an oral hearing and it is likely to simply increase the time taken to reach a decision in your case (rather than it results in a different outcome).