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Change in the remit of the Tribunal Service

As part of a two-year trial, the Government has extended powers of the First Tier (SEND) Tribunal. This means that if a decision about your child's Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan was made on or after the 3rd April 2018, you will be able to request consideration of their health and social care needs as well as those related to education when making an appeal. 

Prior to these changes, the First Tier Tribunal was only able to hear complaints related to educational aspects of the EHC Plan. However, it was recognised that this complicated the process by making it difficult to raise all your concerns about an EHC Plan in one place. You will now be able to use a First Tier Tribunal to appeal for non-binding reccomendations relating to health and social care provision, so long as there is also an ongoing complaint related to your child's education. 

If you wish to make an appeal that includes reference to health and/or social care needs, you should follow the normal procedure for brining a case to the Tribunal and tick the box on the form relating to health/social care appeals.

For more information on the changes please click on the questions below, or alternatively visit the Government's advice page.   




What changes will be made?

The Government are 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 (EHC) Plans as part of a two-year trial.

The trial gives you new rights to request recommendations about health and social care needs and provision are specified in the EHC Plan, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal.  This gives you the opportunity to raise all your concerns about an EHC Plan in one place.

Do the changes apply to me?

The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC Plans issued/amended from 3rd April, 2018 and will run for two years. If your child had an EHC Plan decision made on or after this date, you will be eligible to make appeal requests under the new SEND Tribunal powers. 

It is only possible for the Tribunal to consider the health and/or social care aspects of the EHC Plan where you are already making an appeal in relation to the education aspects of the EHC Plan and the education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.

You can ask the Tribunal to make non-binding recommendations on health and/or social care aspects of the EHC Plans as part of an appeal relating to:

  • A decision by the Local Authority not to issue an EHC Plan
  • A decision by the Local Authority not to carry out a re-assessment for a child/young person who has an EHC Plan
  • A decision by the Local Authority not to amend an EHC Plan following a review or re-assessment
  • A decision by the Local Authority to cease to maintain and EHC Plan
  • The description of the child/young person’s special educational needs in an EHC Plan
  • The special educational provision specified in an EHC Plan
  • The school or other educational institution named in an EHC Plan

How can I make an appeal relating to health and/or social care?

If you wish to appeal against a Local Authority decision related to the educational components of your child's EHC Plan, and want to request the Tribunal also considers your concerns about the health and/or social care aspects of the Plan, 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 is available from the https://www.gov.uk website.

How will the trial be evaluated?

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.  It is important that the evaluation is based on robust evidence and the evaluators are therefore strongly encouraging participation from parents and young people through telephone or online interviews.  Parents and young people that take part in the trial will receive a letter from the Tribunal explaining more about the evaluation and how their personal data will be stored confidentially and how it will be protected.

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