What happens during an EHC needs assessment?
We are going through the needs assessment process. My child is also on a waiting list for an ADHD assessment. Should the LA commission an assessment as I have reasonably requested?
As part of an EHC needs assessment, the LA must obtain advice regarding needs, provision and outcomes from specific professionals and services as set out in Reg 6(1) of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 (“SEN Regs”):
- the child’s parent or the young person;
- educational advice (usually from the head teacher or principal);
- medical advice and information from a health care professional;
- psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist;
- advice and information in relation to social care;
- advice and information from any other person the local authority thinks appropriate;
- where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living; and
- advice and information from any person the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests that the local authority seek advice from.
As you can see, Reg 6(1)(h) allows parents to make reasonable requests for other professionals/services that are not listed, including speech and language therapy, occupation therapy or CAMHS, for example. However, there is no guarantee that any particular assessment will be carried out, just that they will provide a report identifying needs, provision and outcomes. A professional can choose to use different ways to gather the information they need to compile their report, such as speaking to the child’s parents and/or school, observing the child or reading reports from other professionals. Of course, in many situations the professional will choose to carry out an assessment of some sort, but this will not always be the case. If a professional chooses not to carry out an assessment, they would need to explain why they chose to do this.
We would suggest that you request the assessment from the relevant service as part of the EHC needs assessment explaining why it is needed and why it is ‘reasonable’ but remember that the service does not have to carry out a full assessment and may choose other ways to determine their advice.
It is also worth noting that an ADHD assessment is unlikely to meet the criteria of identifying needs, provision and outcomes for an EHC needs assessment. There is also no requirement for a diagnosis to be made for an EHC plan and the individual needs that would be part of an ADHD diagnosis must each be specified within section B of an EHC plan.You can find more information about EHC needs assessments on the IPSEA website: