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Has anybody experienced this (statutory assessment)?

(44 Posts)
JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 11:12:02

Our son has ASD and starts school next September. We had made a request for SA which was turned down. When I inquired as to the reasons - we were told that the panel want us to re-submit in the new year as they want to see how DS responds to nursery.

Has anyone been asked to do this?

Put that in writing to them and clarify that those are the reasons.

Lack of evidence is not a good enough reason to refuse. Bear in mind that you have the right to appeal this decision and tbh I would get a move on with it if you think you have a chance of winning as things will change in Sept and I suspect that is the main reason LA's are trying delaying tactics.

Oh and also remind them that they must not hide behind their panels and that the responsibility of the decision lies with your ds' case worker.

TOWIELA Mon 14-Oct-13 12:02:48

the panel is more likely one single all powerful power crazy person who at the stroke of a pen can decide your DC's future.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 12:39:22

All of the panel agreed that DS needed a statement - but they want to give it to January to see whether he settle into nursery and have asked us to resubmit then.

DS is non verbal; non toilet trained; non sleeping. He was in the 0-11 months in the council report for all except motor skills. He has recently had a MTA and attended an engagement and interaction group. There was lots of evidence (psych report, SALT, paediatrician, portage, council early years team, IEP) and he's on EYFS action plus. He also received DLA HRC (I know this is not relevant to SEN but it gives an idea about where he is at).

Hang on a second.

How did you get the information that all of the panel agreed that he needed a statement?

I think you're being taken on a merry ride tbh.

armani Mon 14-Oct-13 12:57:15

if I were you I would be appealing that decision at tribunal. sounds like you have enough evidence to warrant SA. I bet as soon as you file for tribunal the LEA back down, they sound as though they are trying to fob you off.

The only criteria that can be applied to carrying out a statutory assessment is the probable need for a statement.

Your child meets this criteria. To not issue a child with a statement who needs one is illegal.

I would write to them immediately clarifying their position, their comments that all on the panel agree he needs a statement, that there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that, that the 6 weeks they have to do their assessments will take you until January anyway and that you expect them to therefore to get a bloody move on.

Download the appeal forms and begin filling them in regardless. It helps you formulate your arguments and means you can send them off immediately if your response is negative, which you must. Currently you have time to appeal twice (for the statement and then for contents) before the legislation changes and confuses everyone, but if you leave it until January you will not.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 13:19:39

I spoke to the area SEN co-ordinator for the council who went and asked for clarification from the Inclusion Team - they all agree DS has needs which require a statement but they need more evidence. So the SENCo has sent forms to DS's nursery and is arranging for the LA EP to come and visit.

nennypops Mon 14-Oct-13 13:46:37

I don't follow this. They want more evidence, and they're getting the EP to come in? Surely they can do that as part of the process of statutory assessment? Get that appeal in today!

chocnomore Mon 14-Oct-13 13:46:53

OP, seems you already have loads of evidence.

the "we need more evidence" is nothing but a delaying tactic.

I would not waste more time in collecting more evidence but appeal.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 13:54:17

I've just spoken to IPSEA and they say that asking us to resubmit in ten weeks time is suspect as that takes us out of our time-scale to appeal.

chocnomore Mon 14-Oct-13 14:01:19

IIRC, you only have 8 weeks to submit your appeal.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 14:08:03

Yes, it is eight weeks. I'm going to chase up the statement of reasons today and then get the appeal in ASAP.

Thanks for all of your help.

Yes. Get as much as you can about what they are saying and their reasons in writing. Where you haven't got it from them, send their quotes to them from you for 'clarification' that you understood correctly.

This will help you if at any point you do need to appeal or present the situation in front of a judge.

And whilst this might make you anxious and cross, know that it isn't personal. Why do you think so many of us here know the law?

Good luck.

babiki Mon 14-Oct-13 14:26:22

Aren't you in Essex? They did exactly the same thing last year to us! Don't believe it...

The same arguments: ds can change too much in the meantime before he goes to school and they need more evidence and are sending out EP...It's all time delaying tactics.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 14:49:04

No, we left Essex two years ago thank god-

I know it isn't personal - but it feels like it - a positive education experience would have an amazing impact on my son's future.

I agree that some children can make progress but I don't think my mute son is going to develop speaking skills in the next ten weeks.

Spoke to DS's case work and she was really quite rude especially when I asked for the statement of reasons. I don't care that the decision maker is not in today - they have to let me know within six weeks.

wetaugust Mon 14-Oct-13 19:41:25

You are being lied to by your LA.

The Case Officer (not this 'so-called' Panel) is the person who has the responsibility of deciding whether an assessmnet that may lead to a Statement is carried out or not. This probably the 'decision-maker' who you tried to contact today.

You need to understand that the LA will be underhand, will lie, will mislead and will obfuscate - it will do things you wouldn't imagine a oublic body capable of. All designed to save themselves money by denying your child an assessment that may lead to the expense of a Statement.

You should keep a detailed diary of who you spoke to, about what, when and where.

You also need to be very aware of the deadlines for appealing etc. All correspondence with the LA should be in writing - even if you initially phone them, always follow-up with a confirmatory letter.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 11:39:49

Ok, we have the statement of reasons from the LEA and there is only 1:

Local Authority's Panel were of the view that the request had been submitted too early and advised that the request should be re-submitted in January 2014. This will then enable the assessments to take place in time for DS to start School in September 2014, and will indicate what his up to date needs are and where the appropriate placement would be, to meet his needs.

They quote SEN Code of practice 7.35-7.45.

Has anybody experienced this situation?

wetaugust Thu 17-Oct-13 11:42:28

View of so-called 'Panel' is totally irrelevant as it's the Case ~Officer (not this 'Panel') who has legal duty to decide whether or not to Statement.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 11:44:14

Yes, the Case Officer has decided to refuse statutory assessment - but has anyone else been told that it is too early to submit?

Yes. I have heard it before and I was told to expect that outcome myself.

They are trying it on. With the amount of evidence you have no tribunal panel coukd ever agree that waiting was in the best interests of the child.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 12:06:58

We are aware that they are trying it on - I'm really trying to find out if it is a common practice.

babiki Thu 17-Oct-13 12:09:25

Yes, they use it quite often. It's bullshit.

TOWIELA Thu 17-Oct-13 12:15:18

LAs will try any method they can find to not SA. It feels very personal when it happens to you and your DC but it is the LAs not fulfiling their statutory duties.

This is rubbish The request should be re-submitted in January 2014. This will then enable the assessments to take place in time for DS to start School in September 2014

If you have to appeal anything then this is cutting it very fine for a September 2014 start. As they are saying that you should resubmit in January, then your timeline/clock starts ticking from the very beginning. So, when you resubmit in January 2014, the LA has another 6 weeks in which to make a decision whether to assess or not.

IF (and it's a big IF) they decide to assess, they have to

- Undertake and complete the SA within 10 weeks
- Within 2 weeks notify the parent if they are going to issue a Statement or a Notice in Lieu. If they are going to issue a Statement, then they have to send the Proposed Statement
- Within 8 weeks of the Proposed Statement, they have to Finalise it.

So, for argument's sake, lets say you send in your new request on Wednesday 1st January.

- 12 February - deadline for LA to decide if they are going to assess.
- 23 April - SA finishes
- 7 May - Proposed Statement issued
- 2 July - Final Statement issued.

If you then appeal it, the Tribunal won't be until late 2014/early 2015, and of course no provision will be in place whilst you appeal - and that's if you're even allowed to appeal it because during your appeal process you will be under the new Children's and Families Act.

Of course, if in January 2014, they again turn down your request, then you'll be back on the old SEN Merry Go Round ago and start all over again.

I requested SA in January 2012. My son finally had his Statement in place in September 2013. Nearly 2 years.

Appeal their refusal to assess.

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