The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, has highlighted that 80% of the EHC plan complaints received by his office have been uph

The Ombudsman's report, from October 2017, identifies a number of issues which may arise during the local authority assessment process. Delay in making the assessment is a particular problem. The Ombudsman reports that during the investigation period less than 60% of plans were issued within the 20 week time frame with some subject to significant delays of up to 90 weeks. The report also highlights a failure to gather a full range of evidence to support the needs assessment; not involving all relevant parties in the decision making process; and failing to name a school in a final plan.

Schools will be aware that children with Statements of Special Educational Need (SEN) should be transferred on to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans by 1 April 2018. Recent reports suggest that many transfers are still to be made, and may not be completed before the deadline. Local authorities must carry out and conclude an EHC needs assessment as soon as reasonably practicable.

Chris Billington, Head of Education at Wrigleys notes that: "If the April deadline for transfer is not met, any existing statement will have effect as if it was within an EHC plan. In the meantime, it is important that schools and local authorities ensure that provision, as set out in the SEN statement, remains in place until such time as the transfer to an EHC plan can be made."

The Ombudsman's report is available here.