Q:

We were issued an EHCP over the summer for my 7 yr old daughter which left out SALT and OT input, even though we supplied very detailed private assessments in both these areas - these are the two largest areas of need. The LA told us they would update the EHCP when the NHS OT/SALT had seen our daughter. As the time was running out for mediation or appeal to be triggered and we still had an EHCP that was not fit for purpose, we initiated mediation. Mediation is now December, the OT and SALT reports have just been done. Yesterday, through the mediator, the LA sent the NHS OT and SALT reports with a word version of the current EHCP, and asked us to mark up what changes we want. Are parents really expected to write the EHCP's with no qualifications, having no idea of what a good EHCP should look like? I'd like to know what should happen in the process, and what's the most practical thing for us to do now - if the best shot at getting what we need is to go back and pay a private EP to review and make changes, then I'll have to take it, but seems unbelievably unfair. Doubt they will do it in time of our December mediation date, in which case we will have to move the mediation date. Any advice would be really appreciated! Thank you.

R

Rob .
26 Nov 2021
Watched by 7

A: SenseCheck

  • 2 Yes
  • 0 No
  • 2 Other

Newest Answer Oldest Answer

  • 03 Dec 2021
  • Yes

    Other

    A couple of starter points

    Marking Changes

    It's fair enough to ask you what you disagree with and mark it onto the word document.

    That said, it looks like there's a missing step. That's because it's also fair enough for the OT & SALT reports to have been added in to the EHCP by one of the LA SEN caseworkers before asking you to make detailed comments.

    At the heart of this question seems to be this missing step.

     

    The rest of this answer is based on my understanding of your dilemma. If I misunderstood anything, feel free to comment and I'll amend.

     

    Three Ideas

    1. Change it as requested:  I'd call up SEND IAS for my local area. I'd ask if I can meet with them to talk about what goes where and how to articulate the changes you want. They are free. This avoids the costs of a private EP.

    If you search on the local Facebook groups, SEND IAS sometimes get criticised. People who are happy with SENDIAS don't post as frequently as people who are disappointed. There's often a negativity bias to internet reporting on the quality of SENDIAS (and sometimes this is jolly unfair on some fabulous SENDIAS workers who did their very best). If you do read some negative comments, these don't necessarily reflect the service as a whole.

     

    2. Don't change it: Reply and say:

    "We are worried that we're being asked to mark detailed changes but that a key step has been missed out here.

    "That key step is the SEN caseworker adding the detail from the two OT & two SALT reports into the EHCP for us then to consider. Until these have been used to draft the EHCP, we can't really track changes.

    "It seems unfair, with the skills and expertise of plan writing that the LA have, that we, as people who haven't ever been through this process before, are being asked to comment on the document when the key step to merge in the OT & SALT reports has not been done.

    "We'd prefer to resolve via mediation (or even before mediation if possible).

    "Rules on time limitations mean that we couldn't not trigger mediation or that door would have closed were we unable to reach agreement. That said, it feels like the next step is for a trained SEN caseworker to amalgamate the reports into the EHCP, at which point we can then take a look at the finer detail.

    "So - to the next step...

    "Both the private and NHS assessment reports (OT and SALT) detail the needs and the provision. Please can the specific provision from these reports be added to Part F (Provision) and, perhaps Part G (but I think you'll have the know-how re what goes in Part F vs Part G). Also, please can any needs, identified in these reports, be combined into Part B - Special Educational Needs?"

    "We are happy to try to find agreement but need the reports merged into the EHCP so we have a complete draft to then fine tune."

     

    3. Both #1 and #2: Send something like the above email but also contact SEND IAS and ask for a meeting to help understand what should be in an EHCP and how it works as more knowledge on this might help in future.

    Aaron King

    Aaron King
    9000 Lives SEND Consultancy

  • Comment

  • 02 Dec 2021
  • Yes

    Other

    From a parent's perspective, I had to completely rewrite my daughter's EHCP once received from the LA. It went from 10 pages to 24! It is unfair as we are not experts but as Laxmi and Guv have said, it does give you control. I used a SEND consultant to help me and I also wrote the needs and provisions outlined in both my private EP and OT reports word for word,  and pasted them in to the EHCP - hopefully your reports have been outlined in a similar fashion?  All the OT provisions were accepted but I had to go to Tribunal over some of the EP provisions, which have now been accepted.  There are some other questions on here re Section F and advice on outlining it which might help too. 

    See also: Are you willing to share your answers to EHCP section F? If yes, please make sure you remove personal data, such as names.

    L C

    L C
    Parent of a beautiful autistic and ADHD girl

  • Comment

  • 29 Nov 2021
  • Other

    Simple

    Can't answer yes or no.:

    Hi 

    I would agree with the advice provided by Laxmi. It is unfair for parents to be expected to draft changes to the EHC plan, however, this can be of benefit too, as you can take control of the content of the plan in respect of sections B and F, in particular, by clearly stating the changes you wish to request (supported by professional reports), and, it also focuses the mind as to what you are seeking. This will then help to identify any disparity as to what you are seeking and what the council are. 

    Guv Samra

    Guv Samra
    Shoosmiths

  • 1 Comment

  • 29 Nov 2021
  • Other

    Complex

    Can't answer yes or no.:

    I agree this is not fair and puts you in a difficult position. The EHCP should be drafted by the LA but sometimes it is easier for you to put together the amendments you are seeking. From what you say, it appears  that the current EHCP has little/no OT and SALT input so you would be starting from scratch. You would need to take the description of SEN from both reports, together with any recommended provision and outcomes and ask them to be set out in the Plan. 

    The EHCP has to be drafted in a particular way; a full description of your daughter's SEN in Section B and provision to meet those needs in Section F.  Provision should be set out very precisely - quantified and specified. 

    Ultimately, the mediator needs to know what you want to achieve through mediation. 

    The mediator will have strict timelines to adhere to and may not be prepared to change your mediation date. 

    I suggest the following: 

    1. You could ask the LA to make the changes - but they will likely defer to the advice of the NHS therapists; or
    2. Rather than a working document, you could provide a comparison document. You could compare the advice in both NHS and your private reports and set out areas where you do not agree eg level of SEN and level of recommended support. This will help to identify the differences and areas that need to be agreed at mediation.  The LA could agree to write up the EHCP in line with agreements by a certain date (making sure you have time to appeal if you do not agree with the amendments); or
    3. Find someone to help you draft up the EHCP.  This does not have to be a private EP. SENDIASS may be able to assist; solicitors can also assist.  

    My advice would be to go with (3), time permitting. A good write up of the EHCP can assist with negotiations going forward. 

    Laxmi Patel

    Laxmi Patel
    Boyes Turner Solicitors

  • 1 Comment