Martin Ford 03 October 2019

Nine in 10 complaints about SEND provision upheld by Ombudsman

Nine in 10 complaints about SEND provision upheld by Ombudsman image

The Ombudsman is receiving more complaints about education, health and care plans (EHCP) than ever before – and the vast majority are being upheld.

The situation was described as ‘exceptional and unprecedented’ by Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King.

A report published today revealed that the Ombudsman has upheld 87% of the EHCP cases it has investigated, compared to 57% of all other cases.

In addition, the number of complaints about EHCPs has soared in the past two years, increasing by 45% in 2018/19 compared to 2016/17, with the Ombudsman carrying out 80% more detailed investigations.

Mr King said: ‘Two years ago when the system was bedding in, we were concerned we were upholding around 80% of investigations. That we are investigating and upholding significantly more complaints two years later suggests a system in crisis.

‘I am now particularly concerned some authorities may be putting in place extra barriers to ration scarce resources, rather than basing support on children’s needs.’

Among the most common complaints are those around delays in assessing children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) for EHCPs – some lasting up to 90 weeks.

Common causes of complaints also include reviews not being carried out, a lack of communication when support has changed or ended, and whether the correct tests for eligibility are being applied.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has pointed out that 354,000 pupils currently have EHCPs, an 11% increase since last year.

The chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, Cllr Judith Blake, said: ‘This report supports our long-term concerns that councils are in danger of being unable to meet their statutory duties for children with special educational needs.

‘This is why we are also pleased the Government plans to review the system, and will work with them to get a clear picture of what more can be done to make sure vulnerable children can get the best support possible.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Principal Clinical/Counselling Psychologist

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Principal Clinical/Counselling PsychologistPermanent, Part Time£51,510 to £55,000 per annum (Pro Rata)The Divisional Based Intervention Team (D-BIT) a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director of Housing

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205 per annum      
This is an excellent time to work within Rotherham. We are passionate about the place and the people who live, work and visit here. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Joint Assistant Director – Commissioning and Performance

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205
As the Assistant Director, you will be passionate about achieving excellent performance and determined to... Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Social Workers - Family Support and Protection - North Essex

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Social Workers and Senior Practitioners- Family Support and Protection - North EssexPermanent, Full Time£32,065 to £49,183 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

School Attendance Lead

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
This is a multi-layered role, in which you'll both be a trusted advisor, and you will be representative of the legal need for... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue