Template letter: Complaining when the local authority does not seek the correct advice during an EHC needs assessment:

It is important that you tell the LA as soon as possible when it fails to obtain the correct advice during assessment

All of the parts of this letter in bold will need to be changed or deleted so that they are relevant to your situation.


[Your address and contact details]

Area SEN Manager or Director of Children’s Services [or other title if different]

[Name of local authority]

[Address of local authority]

[If you know the email address of who you are sending this to then also send by email and add here:]

And by email to: [insert email address]

[Date]

For the attention of [insert name or names]

Dear [Name],

[Child or young person’s name], DoB [date of birth]: Failure to seek advice and information as part of an EHC needs assessment

I am writing [as the parent of the above child / on behalf of the above young person] who is currently undergoing an EHC needs assessment under the Children and Families Act 2014. I understand that the local authority is required by law to seek advice and information about [child/YP’s name]’s needs, the provision required to meet those needs and outcomes from a specified selection of professionals. This duty is contained in Regulation 6 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 which states the following:

Information and advice to be obtained of EHC needs assessments

6.—(1) Where the local authority secures an EHC needs assessment for a child or young person, it must seek the following advice and information, on the needs of the child or young person, and what provision may be required to meet such needs and the outcomes that are intended to be achieved by the child or young person receiving that provision—

(a)     advice and information from the child’s parent or the young person;

(b)     educational advice and information—

(i)      from the head teacher or principal of the school or post-16 or other institution that the child or young person is attending, or

(ii)     where this is not available, from a person who the local authority is satisfied has experience of teaching children or young people with special educational needs, or knowledge of the differing provision which may be called for in different cases to meet those needs, or

(iii)    if the child or young person is not currently attending a school or post-16 or other institution and advice cannot be obtained under sub-paragraph (ii), from a person responsible for educational provision for the child or young person, and

(iv)    if any parent of the child or young person is a serving member of Her Majesty’s armed forces, also from the Secretary of State for Defence;

(c)     medical advice and information from a health care professional identified by the responsible commissioning body;

(d)     psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist;

(e)     advice and information in relation to social care;

(f)      advice and information from any other person the local authority thinks is appropriate;

(g)     where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living; and

(h)     advice and information from any person the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests that the local authority seek advice from.

You are in breach of this duty on the grounds that

[Delete as appropriate: either:]

you have not obtained the required advice and information from [list the professionals].

[And/or:]

on [date], I requested that you seek advice and information from [type of professional – e.g. a speech and language therapist]. This request was reasonable because [e.g. my child’s school has identified that he has communication difficulties and recommended that he is seen by a speech and language therapist, for which he is currently on a waiting list]. Therefore, advice from this professional is relevant to the EHC needs assessment. Despite my request, you have not obtained this advice.

[And/or:]

the requested advice from [state professional from the list] states “not known to this service”. This is not advice and information about my child’s needs, outcomes and provision.

[And/or:]

the requested advice from [state professional from the list] is not sufficient because [e.g. it outlines my child’s needs, but does not contain any advice and information about the provision required to meet those needs, or the outcomes which that provision would aim to achieve]. Under Regulation 6(1), advice obtained as part of an EHC needs assessment must cover needs, outcomes and provision.

Bearing in mind the statutory deadlines which apply in the case of an EHC needs assessment, it is not appropriate to apply the usual complaints process timescales. Therefore, please reply to this letter as soon as possible, but in any event within 5 working days of receiving it, confirming the steps that you will take to ensure that the remaining assessment required by law for my child’s EHC needs assessment will, in fact, be carried out.

I look forward to an early reply and trust that it will not be necessary to take this matter further.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

[Or if on behalf of a young person:]

[Your name] on behalf of [name of young person]

Taken from IPSEA’s website