If you have made an initial application for an EHC needs assessment there are two possible outcomes. Either the council will say it will conduct a full assessment, or it will refuse to conduct a needs assessment at this point.
The legal deadline for this decision is on or before six weeks from the date your application was received by the council. For this reason, it’s a good idea to send your application by registered or recorded post.
If your LA has decided not to proceed with a full EHC needs assessment for your child or young person, we would always advise you lodge an appeal at the First Tier SEND Tribunal.
A refusal to assess does not mean that your child does not have needs that should be met within an Education, Health and Care Plan. LAs are well-known for refusing at this first step because they know most parents do not appeal. However, latest Tribunal figures show that parents who do appeal, succeed over 92% of the time against an EHCP decision. Therefore it is well worth an appeal.
However, before you can do so, you must either go through a mediation process, or obtain a mediation certificate saying you don’t wish to participate in mediation. The local authority will include information in their letter to you about how to do this.
If you do not feel you have the time or knowledge to handle your own appeal, we can help.
There is no reason you cannot launch an appeal for refusal to assess yourself, after trying mediation or obtaining a mediation certificate if you feel mediation will not work. Read more about this in our FAQs. However, often parents do not feel they have the knowledge, the time or the energy available to find out everything they need to know. This is where we can help.
The team at Education Lawyers are highly experienced in handling refusal to assess and all types of appeals to the SEND Tribunal. We will have an initial discussion with you about your child’s application and explain how we can assist. We will explain every aspect of working with us and answer any questions you have as well as will set out our costs in a clear and transparent way.
If you engage us to help you, you need to send us all the documentation you have about your child, to enable us to prepare your appeal. We will advise on any additional expert assessments we think you may need.
As well as lodging your appeal for you, we will be able to speak to the local authority on your behalf and can often secure a change of decision before a date for Tribunal arrives. This saves you time, energy, and further costs of going to a hearing.
After a favourable decision, we can, if you wish, continue to assist with ensuring the draft EHC plan is adequate and lawful.
Take the first step today and get in touch.
Please note, we are NOT legal aid lawyers and so are not able to take on these kinds of cases. We do offer payment by stages, however, which can help with affordability.
If you have been refused an EHCP after a needs assessment, read our page here on how we can help you.