Please note: Annual Reviews must still be conducted even if a Tribunal appeal is under way.
The LA tell heads which pupil’s EHCP must be reviewed in the coming term: Where a child is attending a school or other institution the LA will ask the headteacher or principal to conduct the meeting, ensuring that the overall process takes place, including completing the review by making a decision and notifying this to the parents or young person is the LA’s responsibility and duty. The LA should provide the list of names at least two weeks before the start of each term. The list should also go to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and LA Officers responsible for Social Care for children or young person (C/YP) with SEND.
2 weeks prior to the end of each term.
The head or delegated person requests written advice from all professionals concerned in the child or young person’s life which impacts on the EHCP: The School obtain written advice and information about the C/YP from all the relevant professionals and the parents and the C/YP themselves. These people would also be invited to the meeting too. It would include:
- The SEN Case Officer
- A health care professional identified by the CCG
- An officer of the LA exercising the social services function.
The head invites all concerned to the Annual Review meeting, circulating the advice obtained above. School or institution circulates the reports received along with the invitations to attend the Annual Review meeting. It will include the date, time and location.
At least 2 weeks’ notice must be given prior to the meeting and the advice obtained above must be circulated.
Meeting is held at least 2 weeks after the letter mentioned above: The Annual Review meeting will consider:
The C/YP’s progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in their EHCP:
- Whether the outcomes still remain appropriate
- If their aspirations have changed
- Review and set new short term targets
- Whether any changes need to be made to the provision including if the placement is still appropriate.
- If a C/YP is in year 9 or beyond, the meeting must consider what provision is required to assist the C/YP in preparation for adulthood and independent living.
Following the meeting the school (or host) must prepare a report that includes recommendations for amendments to the EHCP including details where reviews differ. This must be sent to everyone invited to the meeting including the LA within 2 weeks. The report must include all the advice and information obtained under step 2.
Please note: if parents feel the meeting was misrepresented or have other comments about the report they can make their views known to the LA in writing. This must be done as promptly as possible because the deadline for the LA is four weeks from the meeting. Within 2 weeks.
The LA has 2 weeks (4 weeks from the date of the meeting) to decide:
a) to leave the plan unchanged
b) amend it*
c) cease it*
AND to tell the parents, the young person and the school/setting of its decision in writing: a notice of decision.
Please note: Failure of the LA to confirm their decision in writing is in effect frustrating the parent’s right of appeal and this can be particularly prevalent when the LA’s decisions is to do nothing, which is a refusal to amend. 2 weeks.
*If the LA decides to do nothing, i.e. refuses to amend the Plan, there is a specific right to appeal.
If the LA decides to amend the Plan it must first issue a proposed amended Plan and the right of appeal will arise when the amended Plan is finalised.
Following representations from the child’s parents or the young person, if the LA decides to continue to make amendments, it must issue the amended EHCP as quickly as possible and within 8 weeks of the original amendment notice. If the LA decides not to make the amendments, it must notify the child’s parent or the young person explaining why within the same time limit. (Code of Practice, 9.196).
As quickly as possible and within 8 weeks of the original amendment notice.
Only when the parents/young person are informed of the decision in writing is the process complete and completion MUST take place within 12 months of the issue of the final Plan or the completion of the previous annual review (section 44 of the Children and Families Act 2014).
Appeal Rights: Legal framework gives parents (and young people) the right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal where the LA’s decision is to not amend the plan or the cease to maintain it. The LA must inform parents of their right to appeal in the notice of decisions. This means that parents have the right to appeal on an annual basis as in respect of each of the three options outlined in step 6. (If the LA decide to cease the plan they will issue a cease to maintain notice and the parents/young person will be entitled to appeal).
IPSEA’s Model letter to request an Annual Review to be completed
[Your address and contact details]
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 the Director also send by email and add here:] And by email to: [insert email address]
For the attention of [insert name of the Director of Children’s Services]
Dear [Sir or Madam],
Potential breach of duty under section 44 Children and Families Act 2014 [Child or young person’s name], DoB [date of birth]:
I am writing [as the parent of the above child / on behalf of the above young person], who has an EHC plan.
I am writing as the parents of the above child/young person who has an EHC Plan. [Child]’s EHC Plan was the subject of an annual review meeting held on [date] but I/We have had no decision in writing from the local authority.
Section 44 of the Children and Families Act 2014 states the obligations of a local education authority with regard to the time limit when reviewing an EHC plan:
“(1) A local authority must review an EHC plan that it maintains— (a) in the period of 12 months starting with the date on which the plan was first made, and (b) in each subsequent period of 12 months starting with the date on which the plan was last reviewed under this section.”
Regulation 20 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 sets out the procedure in detail, making it clear that the review is complete only when the local authority records its decision in writing:
“(10) The local authority must then decide whether it proposes to—
(a) continue to maintain the EHC plan in its current form;
(b) amend it; or
(c) cease to maintain it,
and must notify the child’s parent or the young person and the person referred to in paragraph(2)(b) within four weeks of the review meeting.”
I am sorry to inform you that you are in breach of this duty. I therefore expect to receive a letter from you [commencing the annual review process / containing your decision and recommendations] as soon as possible but in any case within 5 working days. As you are no doubt aware, there is a right of appeal for [parents / young people] following the review of an EHC plan. If, however, you delay in issuing the letter, I will regard this as frustrating this right of appeal and will seek immediate legal advice. Yours faithfully
[Your name] [Or if on behalf of a young person:] [Your name] on behalf of [name of young person]