Decision to carry out an EHC needs assessment

If the local authority decides to carry out an assessment, they will let you know in writing. 

If the local authority decides an EHC plan is not necessary they must notify you or your young person, the educational setting and health provider within 16-weeks of the original request for assessment.

If the local authority decides an EHC plan is necessary, they must prepare a draft plan and allow enough time for you to respond to the draft so that they can finalise the plan by the overall time limit of 20-weeks.

What can I do if these deadlines pass?

These are legal timescales, and local authorities are expected to comply; however, our advice is always to keep dialogue open with the local authority.

Ask the SEN Services when you will receive the draft/final plan. If you are unhappy a timescale has not been met, you could lodge a complaint to the local authority (LA) and, if you are dissatisfied with the response to your complaint, to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Where a practitioner has recommended provision in their report, this could be put in place now ahead of the EHC plan being finalised. There may however be instances where a setting will need to discuss additional help from the local authority to be able to meet the needs.

The Local Authority should provide clear written feedback, including evidence and reports from professionals collected during the EHC needs assessment process.

This information enables support to be planned to achieve the desired outcomes through special educational provision made by the setting and other services.

I don’t agree with the ‘refusal to issue a plan’ decision, what can I do?

You have the right to mediation and to appeal this decision. 

  • You must consider mediation before lodging an appeal 
  • You have 2 months from the date of the decision letter, or one month from the mediation certificate (whichever is the later), in which to lodge an appeal against a decision.
  • Lodge an appeal to the SEND Tribunal.