SEND Tribunal Single Route of Redress

In line with Schedule 2 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 all local areas in England are required to publish details on their local offer for notifying parent carers and young people of their right to appeal a decision of the local authority to the SEND Tribunal and this includes their extended rights as part of the single route of redress national trial.

Single Route of Redress – National Trial

 

What is the National Trial?

The Government is extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), sometimes referred to as the 'SEND Tribunal', to make non-binding recommendations about the Health and Social Care aspects of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) as part of a two-year trial. The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC plans issued/amended after 3 April 2018.

To date, young people and families have only been able to appeal the Educational aspects of EHCPs. The trial gives them new rights to request recommendations about the Health and Social Care needs and provision specified in EHCPs, in addition to the Educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal.  This gives individuals the opportunity to raise concerns about all aspects of an EHCP in one place.

It is only possible for the Tribunal to consider the Health and/or Social Care aspects of the EHCP where young people or parent carers are already making an appeal in relation to the Education aspects of the EHCP and the Education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.

 

Aims:

  • To ensure Tribunal more holistic view of the child or young person’s needs

  • To further encourage authentic collaboration and joint working across the Local Area (Education, Health and Social Care

  • To bring about positive benefits and improve long term outcomes for children and young people with SEND

    What does this mean for parent carers and young people?

    After an EHC Needs Assessment has been conducted and you are unhappy with the decision not to issue an EHCP, the wording, the special educational content (including specification and quantification of needs, provision and outcomes) or placement in the plan, you can make an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. 

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

HM Courts & Tribunals Service

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates’ Court,

Parkgate, Darlington, DL1 1RU

Telephone: 01325 289 350

Email: sendistqueries@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

 

This trial now gives you the opportunity to request recommendations about the Health and Social Care content of the plan at the same time. It will also mean the Tribunal takes a more holistic, person-centred view of the needs of a child or young person. 

The new trail does not prevent you from making a formal complaint about other aspects of your disagreement through usual complaints procedures.  You should seek advice about the different routes available, including from your local Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS).

If you would like impartial information and advice:

In Bristol, you can contact Supportive Parents, the local SENDIASS (SEND Information, Advice and Support Service). They provide free, confidential and impartial advice for parent carers and young people aged 16-25 about SEND.

Supportive Parents can be contacted on:

Telephone: 0117 989 7725 (10:00 – 2:00pm, Mon, Wed, Fri, Term time only)  

Email: Support@supportiveparents.org.uk 

Website at http:www.supportiveparents.org.uk/contact 

 

If the SEND Tribunal makes a recommendation about Health or Social Care elements of an EHCP after 03 April 2018, the Local Authority and/or Health Commissioner is generally expected to follow such recommendations, but at this point they are not legally binding. Where any recommendations from the Tribunal are not followed, the reasons for this decision must be explained and set-out in writing to you and to the Department for Education through the evaluators.

If the Tribunal’s recommendations are still not followed, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) or Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) or seek to have the decision judicially reviewed. Further information on the roles of these bodies can be found on their websites.

When can a parent or young person request recommendations about the Health and Social Care elements of an EHCP?

You can request that the SEND Tribunal makes recommendations about the Health and/or Social Care aspects of EHC plans after 03 April 2018 as part of an appeal relating to:

  • The description of the child/young person’s strengths and special educational needs in an EHCP (Sections B, C and D)

  • The special educational provision specified in an EHCP (Section F, G and H)

  • The educational setting named in an EHCP (Section I)

  • A decision by the Local Authority not to issue an EHCP following an EHC Needs Assessment

  • A decision by the Local Authority not to carry out a re-assessment for a child or young person who has an existing EHCP

  • A decision by the Local Authority not to amend an EHCP following a statutory EHCP Annual Review or re-assessment

  • A decision by the Local Authority to cease to maintain an EHCP

 

What does this mean for Local Areas?

The Trial places responsibility on the Local Area (Education, Health and Care) to:

  1. Inform parent carers and young people of their new rights through decision letters and the local offer

  2. Provide evidence to the Tribunal from the Health and Social Care bodies in response to any issues raised within the timeframe set by the Tribunal, seeking permission to bring additional witnesses to the hearing as necessary

  3. If a recommendation has been made, send the Health and Social Care response letters to the evaluators at SENDletters@IFFResearch.com.

It also places responsibility on Health and Social Care Commissioners to:

  1. Respond to any request for information and evidence within the timeframe set by the Tribunal

  2. Send a witness to attend the hearing as required

  3. Respond to the parent carer, young person and the LA SEND Casework Team within 5 weeks of a recommendation being made, setting out the steps they have decided to take or giving reasons why they are not going to follow the Tribunal’s recommendation.

How can a parent carer or young person request a Health or Social Care recommendation?

If you wish to appeal against a Local Authority decision on any of the grounds above and want to request that the Tribunal considers your concerns about the Health and/or Social Care aspects of the EHCP, you should follow the normal process for bringing an appeal to the Tribunal and tick the box on the form relating to a Health and/or Social Care appeal.

Advice on making SEND appeals to the Tribunal and the appeal form is available on the GOV.UK website and further guidance can also be found in the trial toolkit of support.

Taking part in the evaluation:

There will be an independent evaluation of the trial to inform a decision on whether the new tribunal recommendation powers should be continued after the trial. The evaluation will run alongside the trial, from January 2018 to March 2021.

 

It is important that the evaluation is based on robust evidence, and the evaluators are therefore strongly encouraging participation from parent carers and young people. This could include taking part in a telephone or online interview just after an appeal hearing (or when the appeal process has been completed, if earlier), and then a follow-up interview 6 months later.

These interviews will help the evaluators to gather the views of parents and young people on the appeal process, as well as identify how recommendations have been implemented and what the (early) impact has been. 

 

Parent carers and young people that take part in the trial will receive a letter from the SEND Tribunal explaining more about the evaluation, how their personal data will be stored confidentially and how it will be protected under GDPR.

 

Under GDPR, the SEND Tribunal must:

  • Comply  with the enhanced rights for individuals given to them under GDPR including the right to have data sent in machine readable format to another organisation in certain circumstances

  • Comply with subject access requests within the reduced time frame of 30 days

  • Always use an alternative basis for processing other than consent where possible, consent can no longer be gained by the use of 'opt outs', an individual must now 'opt in' to give consent

  • Provide extra information to individuals when collecting their data in a privacy notice

  • Demonstrate compliance with data protection laws by keeping records of our processing activities

  • Appoint a statutory Data Protection Officer if the organisation is a public authority, or processes sensitive data or personal data on a large scale

  • Report data breaches within 72 hours to the ICO where there is a risk to the rights or freedoms of individuals

 

As a parent carer or young person, do I have to consider mediation as part of the trial?

 

Before you can register an appeal with the Tribunal, you must contact a mediation adviser within two months of the LA decision you wish to appeal and consider whether mediation might be a way to resolve your disagreement with the LA. If you want to appeal only about the education setting named in the EHCP then you do not have to contact a mediation adviser.

 

Bristol City Council can offer you a free, Independent Disagreement Resolution Service, provided by Global Mediation. To find out more about the service, discuss or request mediation advice and meditation please contact Global Mediation on:

Telephone: 0800 064 4488

Email: sen@globalmediation.co.uk 

Website: www.globalmediation.co.uk/our-services/education/special-education-needs  

 

You can go to mediation about the Health and Social Care elements of an EHCP, but this is not compulsory. You can request recommendations about Health and Social Care issues without having to receive mediation advice or attend mediation about those issues, provided there is also an Education issue about which you are also appealing.

 

Once a mediation adviser has been contacted, or once you have taken part in mediation, you will be issued with a certificate.  This will be necessary if you are still unhappy and wish to progress to an appeal with the SEND Tribunal. An appeal to the Tribunal must usually be made within two months of the decision about which the appeal is being made or one month following the issuing of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later. 

 

If mediation resolves the Educational issues, you will not be able to appeal to the Tribunal on any Health and/or Social Care aspects of the EHCP.  However, mediation provides an opportunity to resolve disagreements and it can be completed more quickly than an appeal.  It does not affect your right to make an Educational appeal, and some aspects of the disagreement can go to appeal even when others are resolved. 

 

Help and further information:

 

  • A guidance document on the National Trial is published as part of a toolkit of support

     

  • Supportive Parents (Bristol’s SENDIASS) can be contacted on:

    Telephone: 0117 989 7725 (10:00 – 2:00pm, Mon, Wed, Fri, Term time only)  

    Email: Support@supportiveparents.org.uk 

    Website at http:www.supportiveparents.org.uk/contact 

     

  • You might also like to get in touch with KIDS, a national charity that provides a wide range of support services to disabled children, young people and their families. KIDS offer support to the whole family, with the aim of giving disabled children and young people aged 0-25 a brighter future.

    KIDS South West can be contacted on:

    Telephone: 0117 947 6111

    Email: IS.SouthWest@kids.org.uk

     

  • You may also be interested in contacting Bristol Parent Carers (BPC) Bristol's funded participation forum for parents/carers of children/young people with disabilities, special educational needs and life-limiting conditions (Birth to 25 years).

    BPC is run by parent carers for parent carers and they can be contacted on:

    Telephone: 0117 939 6645

    Email: info@bristolparentcarers.org.uk

    Website: www.bristolparentcarers.org.uk 

     

  • The evaluation of the trial is led by IFF Research working with Belmana. For any questions or to get involved please contact them at SENDtrial@IFFResearch.com Freephone: 0800 035 6051.

https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/first-tier-tribunal-special-educational-needs-and-disability