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Draft SEN legislation - worrying!

(318 Posts)
AgnesDiPesto Tue 02-Oct-12 20:22:18

SOSSEN views on draft legislation here

If you have views you can submit them to Ambitious About Autism by 11 October here although probably other routes too.

SOSSEN urging everyone to complain to their MP about removing parental rights.

dev9aug Wed 03-Oct-12 16:29:49

I have also mentioned this on the Yahoo ABA group, there doesn't seem to be a mention of it there either.

perceptionreality Wed 03-Oct-12 16:31:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Wed 03-Oct-12 16:54:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

perceptionreality Wed 03-Oct-12 17:08:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Wed 03-Oct-12 17:15:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

appropriatelyemployed Wed 03-Oct-12 18:11:52

It is more than watering down - it removes statutory duties and overturns decided caselaw.

Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath for charities to take action. They will make submissions but here is nothing to stop individuals doing this too and select committees do like to hear from 'real people' too.

Also, I would not be sure about there being 'plenty of time'. This stuff will be railroaded through as evidenced by the unseemly despatch of Teather.

The DDA has been replaced by the Equality Act and proposed legislation can be (and should be) reviewed for its compliance with the human rights framework, albeit more specifically the HRA. This is, of course, different to any future legal challenge. I haven't looked at the detail of the provisions but I imagine this would be extremely difficult to achieve.

appropriatelyemployed Wed 03-Oct-12 18:13:10

Proving a breach of the Equality Act I mean..

appropriatelyemployed Wed 03-Oct-12 18:20:47

Proving a breach of the Equality Act I mean..

alison222 Wed 03-Oct-12 18:26:04

As I said below the Parliamentary committee expect any comments on it by 11th October. That is only next Friday. This is the date by which the charities will have to give their replies too so for any of our views to have any effect on what the charities comment we will have to submit to them in the next day or two.

I was also looking at replying directly to the Parliamentary committee too - the more views the better surely?

alison222 Wed 03-Oct-12 18:26:22

Above even blush - its been a long day

bialystockandbloom Wed 03-Oct-12 18:41:35

Haven't read whole thread yet so not sure if anyone's posted this already, but below is the press release re inviting submissions to the select committee. I don't know if this committee will accept submissions from just anyone - does anyone know this?

Below also contains a link of particular interest:

For further information regarding the specific questions, please refer to the Minister's letter of 3 September:

Education Committee

Select Committee Announcement

6 September 2012
For Immediate Release:



Call for evidence

The Education Committee is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the Government's proposed reform of provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

The Government published draft clauses in a Command paper (Cm 8438) on 3 September 2012. At the same time the then Minister of State for Children and Families, Sarah Teather MP, wrote to the Committee, inviting it to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny.

The Committee invites written submissions of evidence addressing the following points:


1. Does the draft Bill meet the Government's policy objective to improve provision for disabled children and children with special educational needs?
2. Will the provisions succeed in cutting red tape and delays in giving early specialist support for children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities?
3. What will be the cost?
4. What impact will the draft Bill have on current institutional structures?
5. What transitional arrangements should be put in place in moving from the existing system?
6. What can be learned from the current pilot schemes and how can these lessons be applied to the provisions of the draft Bill?
7. Is there anything missing from the draft Bill?


8. Whether it would be appropriate to move away from "special educational needs" and use the term "learning difficulties and/or disabilities" instead in the new system?
9. How the general duties on local authorities to identify and have responsibility for children and young people in their area who have or may have special educational needs (clauses 3 and 4) work with the specific duties in other provisions (clauses 5 to 11, 16 and 17 to 24)? Are they sufficiently coherent?
10. Should the scope of the integrated provision requirement be extended to all children and young people, including those with special educational needs?
11. Should other types of schools and institutions be included in the duty on schools to admit a child with an education, health and care plan naming the school as the school to be attended by the child?
12. Do the provisions for 19 to 25 year olds provide a suitable balance between rights, protections and flexibility?
13. Do the provisions achieve the aim of integrated planning and assessment across agencies?
14. How could the power given to the Secretary of State to make regulations with regard to the practicalities of the assessment and planning process be best utilised to achieve the aim of integrated support?
15. What impact will the new powers provided for in the clauses have on young people's transition into adult services?
16. Should the provisions in this bill relating to portability of social care support reflect those for adults contained in the Care and Support Bill?
17. How could the provisions in the bill be used to reinforce protections for young people with special educational needs who are in custody or who are leaving custody?

For further information regarding the specific questions, please refer to the Minister's letter of 3 September:

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines below by noon on 11 October 2012 – earlier submissions would be helpful; the Committee may be unable to accept late submissions due to tight deadlines.

Please note that submissions need not address all the questions but only those areas on which you have evidence to contribute. Where your comments relate to specific draft clauses, please identify the relevant clause clearly in your submission.

Please note
The submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked "Pre-Legislative Scrutiny: SEN". The Committee's strong preference is for submissions in electronic form, although hard copy originals will be accepted. Hard copy submissions should be sent to Caroline McElwee, Committee Assistant, at:

Education Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Each submission should:
be no more than 3,000 words in length;
have numbered paragraphs; and
(if in electronic form) be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

For Data Protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, although not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
The Committee does not normally investigate individual cases.


Committee Membership is as follows:
Mr Graham Stuart (Chair), Conservative, Beverley and Holderness
Neil Carmichael, Conservative, Stroud
Alex Cunningham, Labour, Stockton North
Bill Esterson, Labour, Sefton Central
Pat Glass, Labour, North West Durham
Damian Hinds, Conservative, East Hampshire
Charlotte Leslie, Conservative, Bristol North West
Ian Mearns, Labour, Gateshead
Lisa Nandy, Labour, Wigan
David Ward, Liberal Democrat, Bradford East
Craig Whittaker, Conservative, Calder Valley

Specific Committee Information: / 020 7219 6181

Media Information: Hannah Pearce 020 7219 8430 / 07917 488162

Committee Website:

HotheadPaisan Wed 03-Oct-12 19:01:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bialystockandbloom Wed 03-Oct-12 19:13:16

I'm a bit confused about SOSSEN press release - Part 1, section 28 (page 25) of the draft legislation does cover Appeals.

28 Appeals
(1) A child’s parent or a young person may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the matters set out in subsection (2), subject to section 29 (mediation).
(2) The matters are—
(a) a decision of a local authority not to secure an EHC needs assessment
for the child or young person;
(b) a decision of a local authority, following an EHC needs assessment, that
it is not necessary for special educational provision to be made for the
child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan;
(c) where an EHC plan is maintained for the child or young person—
Provisions about children and young people in England with special educational needs
Part 1 —
(i) the child’s or young person’s special educational needs as set
out in the plan;
(ii) the special educational provision set out in the plan;
(iii) the school or other institution named in the plan, or the type of
school or other institution specified in the plan;
(iv) if no school or other institution is named in the plan, that fact;
(d) a decision of a local authority not to secure a re-assessment of the needs
of the child or young person under section 23 following a request to do
(e) a decision of a local authority not to secure the amendment or
replacement of an EHC plan it maintains for the child or young person
following a review or re-assessment under section 23;
(f) a decision of a local authority under section 24 to cease to maintain an
EHC plan for the child or young person.
(3) A child’s parent or a young person may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal under
subsection (2)(c)—
(a) when an EHC plan is first finalised for the child or young person, and
(b) following an amendment or replacement of the plan.

Marions Wed 03-Oct-12 19:30:22

The details in the Draft Legislation issued in September are very worrying, because they appear to considerably reduce parents' rights. The fault is in part in thoroughly bad drafting that completely leaves out such matters as the parent and school right to request an assessment. It is probable that this right will eventually be there but "hidden" in subsequent Regulations or simply implicit.It should be explicit in the Draft. Equally, the potentially highly expensive and enforced Mediation with "independent" mediators appointed by the LAs does not fill parens with confidence of receiving justice.

SOS!SEN will be lobbying the Ministers responsible but there is much to be gained by getting local MPs to know what parents think of the proposals and how much they know they will affect their and their children's rights.

We would urge parents to write to as many MPs as possible and alert them to parents' concerns. Full details of the legislation, our concerns and suggested wording for a letter can be found on our website.

On Saturday 17th November we are holding our 10th Anniversary Conference "Empowering Parents", which will bring together parents and leading figures in the world of SEN to discuss key issues in an open forum. This will present an ideal opportunity for parents to raise concerns over the proposed legislation. Ed Timpson has been invited though as yet has not responded? He would find it enlightening! Full details of the Conference and how to register can be found on on the SOS!SEN website - - news and events.

bialystockandbloom Wed 03-Oct-12 19:53:20

Yes, "independent" mediators being arranged by the local authority is a bit of an oxymoron! (Parent Partnership anyone?)

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 03-Oct-12 20:03:55

Who pays for the mediators?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 03-Oct-12 20:04:32

Why can;t they be arranged by the parents? SOSSEN would do it perhaps?

bialystockandbloom Wed 03-Oct-12 20:08:38

It looks like the LA pay but doesn't explicitly say so. From the draft bill:

The local authority must then arrange for mediation between it and the parent
or young person.
(5) The child’s parent or young person must take part in mediation under this
section before making an appeal.
(6) The authority must arrange for the mediation to be conducted by an
independent person.

bialystockandbloom Wed 03-Oct-12 20:09:33

It's like an estate agent arranging 'independent' financial advice for buyers, or letting agent using their own 'independent' surveyors hmm

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 03-Oct-12 20:17:00

In order to take part in mediation, do you have to attend a face to face meeting, - or can you do it via email/post etc.? And would it still go ahead in the interest of the child if the parent wasn't able or willing to attend/engage due to circumstance, ability, fear etc. as it would do at a tribunal?

lionheart Wed 03-Oct-12 20:18:27

whispers Isn't there a mumsnet webchat coming up?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 03-Oct-12 20:18:34

Do they REALLY think that parents opt for tribunal without first spending several years attemping dialogue with local authorities first?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 03-Oct-12 20:23:00

You mean the one tomorrow with Justine and Helen?

bialystockandbloom Wed 03-Oct-12 20:23:32

Star they must've read the threads on here where we say don't bother going to pre-tribunal meetings as it'll just be a stitch-up wink

2tirednot2fight Wed 03-Oct-12 20:23:55

I entered into mediation and the LA breeched every agreement made, what is to stop this no doubt best endeavours will feature. I was told parents were expected to pay half but they did pay the whole cost in the end as the LGO intervened.

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