Should the LA specify the needs and provision in an EHC Plan?

Parent Asks:

In my son's draft EHCP it is poorly written, with provisions not addressing each need and with no quantification. This is not to mention errors, the inclusion of comments as needs. The SEN officers say they are not responsible for the content and we need to discuss with the school if we are not happy. But if the LA finalises and issues the EHC plan which is legally binding for them, how come they are not responsible for the content? In our case, the school staff and the SEN officer do not have the required expertise and wiliness to update the provisions, that would meet my son's evolved needs, therefore they just push it to each other.

IPSEA Answers:

The LA is responsible for compiling and maintaining the EHC plan, rather than the school. Section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014 states that where it is clear that an EHC plan is necessary, the LA must issue a plan and this must specify the child’s SEN, outcomes and special educational provision, as well as health care and social care needs and provision where required. It is clear in the Children and Families Act that this is the LA’s responsibility, not the school’s.

The information for the contents of the EHC plan must come from professional reports obtained as part of the EHC needs assessment and/or gathered at annual reviews. If the reports are not appropriately specified and quantified, then this will lead to an EHC plan which is difficult to legally enforce, and this will need to be challenged. Reg 6 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 states that when an EHC needs assessment is being carried out, the LA must obtain advice regarding needs, outcomes and provision from a list of professionals, as well as the parents or young person. Again, this is the LA’s duty rather than the school’s duty.

There is some useful case law and information regarding this on the IPSEA website which you may find helpful, which explains the need for the contents of an EHC plan to be specific and quantified, including a piece of case law which clarified that special educational provision in an EHC plan can not be left for a school to determine: What should be in the sections relating to education (Sections B and F)? | (IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice

If the contents of the EHC plan are not appropriate or sufficient, then you can consider appealing to the SEND Tribunal. You can find more information about this here: Appeals about the contents of an EHC plan | (IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice