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When is 'we have no money' an OK defence for LAs to use?

(5 Posts)
schmollandresident Tue 25-Oct-11 13:32:50

Interesting view put forward by my LA this month: as they are poor these days, they have got to consider efficient use of resources when reviewing Statements - therefore, they think it's OK to try to reduce hours in children's Statements without recommendations that they should do so, in order to save money.

I think 'efficient use of resources' is only a consideration when considering placement. If a child's needs have been assessed as, for example, needing 20 hours support, it is not OK to then give that child 10 hours; equally, it is not OK to reduce a children support from 20 to 10 after Annual Review unless evidence support this. They surely can't be allowed to arbritarily reduce/ limit hours on the basis of cost?

Any ideas gratefully welcomed!

yomellamoHelly Tue 25-Oct-11 13:43:24

Have had this line too with regard to wanting to reassess my ds halfway through the year. My view is that it's illegal, but will not be surprised if we're taking them to tribunal again come review time to stop them doing exactly what you describe. Good luck!

schmollandresident Tue 25-Oct-11 21:56:14

I can't think how it's legal - otherwise, presumably every LA could give every Statemented child 30 mins 1:1 in mainstream per week and shrug and say 'that's all we can afford, sorry'. But I can't find anything that makes it illegal !

AgnesDiPesto Tue 25-Oct-11 21:58:30

This is exactly where we are since AR last week. LA are forcing reassessment / massive massive cut in provision for a child who won specialist provision at tribunal only 1 year ago. No evidence emerged from the review that suggested provision needed to be changed or that there was significant change in my son's condition. EP argued strenuously against change. He was ignored.

The answer is in SEN Code of Practice 8:14:
"LEAs should, of course, arrange for the provision specified in a child’s statement to be made in a cost-effective manner, but that provision must be consistent with the child’s assessed needs"

we are in the situation where no evidence to reduce support, so they are sacking the existing professionals from the case and going shopping for new ones.

It is important to know that LAs have an absolute statutory duty to meet a child's SEN and every one of their SEN.

This is from cemented to the floor in law (also see free legal guide on same website)

"In R (N) v North Tyneside Borough Council (IPSEA Intervening) the Court of Appeal recently re-asserted the absolute nature of the duty to ‘arrange’ (in practice fund) the provision set out in parts 3 and 4 of a child’s SSEN. Lord Justice Sedley reminded local authorities that ‘there is no best endeavours defence in the legislation’ in relation to any failure to implement the provision specified in a statement So once a parent has obtained a SSEN, ensured that Parts 2 and 3 accurately describe the child’s educational needs and the provision required to meet them and obtained a suitable placement for the child in Part 4 (a process which may well involve one or more appeals to the Tribunal), then the local authority cannot escape its duty to arrange this provision by pleading a lack of human and financial resources"

I have a feeling there is going to be alot of us in this particular boat.

SNM Wed 26-Oct-11 08:57:17

I think Agnes may be right about hearinf more of this happening and as she says, it's an illegal practice. I'd love to add something about this to my www.specialneedsjungle.com site. Any offers, ladies? No names mentioned, of course. Tania (info@specialneedsjungle.com)

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