What law should I quote to press local authority to issue late plan
We have a really vulnerable child going into secondary school in September. We were sent a draft EHCP in mid July and we sent in our comments as parents on the draft within 15 days.
We received a two line acknowledgment of receipt but no real response to our comments asking for amendments to the draft Plan and naming a school. We are really worried about him going into a secondary school without a plan.
We know we should write to the local authority to press for the plan to be finalised and we are way off the original timetable. The final plan was actually due in early July (deadline in place after an appeal).
I’ve been told to also refer to the fact that the local authority are outside the 15 days they are allowed to look at our comments. I’ve gone on to the IPSEA website and can’t see any reference to this 15 days. Am I missing something and do I need to say this 15 day deadline has passed?
- 1 Yes
- 0 No
- 0 Other
- 13 Aug 2023
Bex - I see that you are facing a challenging situation. In cases like these, I'd recommend referring to the relevant statutory instrument specifically, r. 13 of The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, which is conveniently titled "Timescales for EHC plans," sets out just that.
The text is as follows:
13.—(1) When a local authority sends a draft plan to a child’s parent or young person it must—
(a)give them at least 15 days, beginning with the day on which the draft plan was served, in which to—
(i)make representations about the content of the draft plan, and to request that a particular school or other institution be named in the plan; and
(ii)require the local authority to arrange a meeting between them and an officer of the local authority at which the draft plan can be discussed; and
(b)advise them where they can find information about the schools and colleges that are available for the child or young person to attend.
(2) A local authority must send the finalised EHC plan to—
(a)the child’s parent or to the young person;
(b)the governing body, proprietor or principal of any school, other institution or provider of relevant early years education named in the EHC plan; and
(c)to the responsible commissioning body,
as soon as practicable, and in any event within 20 weeks of the local authority receiving a request for an EHC needs assessment in accordance with section 36(1) of the Act, or of the local authority becoming responsible for the child in accordance with section 24 of the Act.
(3) The local authority need not comply with the time limit referred to in paragraph (2) if it is impractical for any of the reasons set out in regulation 10(4)(a) to (d)
You can access the above at this link: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1530/regulation/13/made
In essence, the maximum timeframe for issuing an EHC plan is 20 weeks, subject to some exceptions. This means that r. 13 of The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 is the relevant legal reference to cite when using the local authority's complaints procedure to press for the issuance of a delayed plan.
If you want a fuller account -- please look at pages 151 – 154 of the SEN COP 2015 – there is useful diagram on page 154:
I hope this assists and I would very much like to read contributions from others.
2 This is helpful