At the same PWP workshop, Simon Oliver, Deputy President of Care Standards Tribunal and judicial lead for SENDIST management team gave a presentation about the new SEND rules. He wanted to set minds at rest about the changes, particularly to the notion that all evidence had to be in by the two-month deadline. He said as long as you appealed by the deadline and told them when the evidence would be available, that was okay.
He also spoke about Case Management - the process intended to provide clarity at an early stage about what needs to be done and by whom, to ensure the Tribunal has all the information required. These include telephone hearings where it might be possible for the sides to be heard by the judge over the phone and the matter to be resolved before a Tribunal hearing.
Among many others, he made the following points:
- At Tribunal, parents must set out in as much details as possible what it is they want from the LEA and for their child.
- Appellants should note the new 5pm deadline for appeals, rather than one minute to midnight as previously.
- The Tribunal is not bound by LEA policies, but by the law governing SEN education.
- The views of the child concerned will be taken into account
- Trainees would now be allowed to be observers, as long as permission is sought.
Simon Oliver said that he firmly believed the new rules meant that fewer cases should actually end up at Tribunal and fewer cases would have to be adjourned because of missing documentation. Updates on the process changes canbe found at http://www.tribunals.gov.uk/Tribunals/News/news.htm