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Specification and the LA's responsibilities - FREE Template

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Specification and the LAs responsibilities;
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Dear LA
In regards to your comments around the lack of specification in reports. I would like to remind the LA that it is your responsibility to ensure the reports meet the standard set out in Law. If this is not happening then you will need to retrain the professionals sending you reports, report repeat offenders to their governing bodies and look at internal ways of managing this, but it ultimately must not impact the EHCPs for children in your authority. These must as you know follow the law.
Please see Law below;
Paragraph 9.61 of the Code of Practice issued under the 2014 Act, provides that: “EHC Plans should be clear, concise, understandable and accessible to parents, children, young people, providers and practitioners. They should be written so they can be understood by professionals in any Local Authority.”
Paragraph 9.69 states that Section F:
“provision must be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type, hours and frequency of support and level of expertise, including where this support is secured through a Personal Budget”.
Any provision within Section F must be so specific and clear as to leave no room for doubt as to what should be delivered (L v Clarke and Somerset County Council (1998) ELR 129).
IPSEA v Secretary of State for Education and Skills 2003 EWCA Civ 7, (2003) ELR 393 the Court of Appeal held:
“Any flexibility built into the Statement (now EHC Plan Section F) must be there to meet the needs of the child and not the needs of the system.” The decision of the Court of Appeal concluded: “It remains the case that the statements (now EHC Plan Section F) which do not specify the provision appropriate to the identified special educational needs of the child will not comply with the law.”
Please also see the Code of practice which states in regards to reports in section 9.51;
"The evidence and advice submitted by those providing it should be clear, accessible and specific. They should provide advice about outcomes relevant for the child or young person’s age and phase of education and strategies for their achievement. The local authority may provide guidance about the structure and format of advice and information to be provided. Professionals should limit their advice to areas in which they have expertise. They may comment on the amount of provision they consider a child or young person requires and local authorities should not have blanket policies which prevent them from doing so"
As well as this, further evidence that it is your responsibility to ensure a plan is clear can be found here;
C v Special Educational Needs Tribunal and London Borough of Greenwich [1999] ELR 5: An LA must make decisions about provision when writing a Statement (now an EHC plan), and cannot delegate this responsibility to someone else, such as a school. (For example, the EHC plan should not say anything like “Support to be determined by the setting”.)
In conclusion- You have failed in your obligations and I request you improve the specification and quantification, by speaking with the professionals involved and respond to me with an updated draft EHCP within 5 working days.
Kind Regards

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