The NAS has launched a petition calling on the Government to amend the Children and Families Bill to create a single point of appeal for challenging provision in Education, Health and Care Plans.
This change is essential if the Government are to deliver on their commitment to “ending the agonising battle many parents fight to get the support for their families, as they are forced to go from pillar to post between different authorities and agencies”.
The NAS welcomes the replacement of education-only statements with joint Education, Health and Care Plans. However as currently drafted the Bill does not provide a joined up system of accountability and redress. Parents will have to go through separate appeals processes for each element of an Education, Health and Care Plan to challenge inadequate provision.
They will continue to battle the system on multiple fronts.Parents tell the NAS that social care and health complaints procedures are difficult to navigate, can take months and sometimes years to resolve disputes and are unable to offer the robust remedies currently provided by the First Tier Tribunals in relation to education statements.
The solution is to enable the First Tier Tribunal to hear appeals and offer remedies for all elements of Education, Health and Care plans. Despite debates on amendments to this effect during the Commons stages of the Bill, the Government has resisted this change, claiming existing routes of redress for health and social care are sufficient.
This flies in the face of parent’s own experience and the Government’s own ambition to create a joined up and family-centred SEN system.Time is running out for the Government to deliver on their promise to end parent’s battle for support.
The Children and Families Bill is expected to pass into law in early 2014. It is vital that the changes are made during the remaining stages of the Bill on the House of Lords.
Take action today by signing their petition.Please note the SEN changes introduced in the Children and Families Bill will only apply to England.
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SNJ are supporting this petition. The Children and Families Bill is supposed to make life less complicated for parents and having three appeals systems is in no way, by any possible definition, less complicated. Nor is it line with the "joint" approach that the whole reform system is supposed to be about. Sign now and show your support.