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Been sent final amended statement, haven't even had meeting with LA yet!

(44 Posts)
starfish71 Sat 13-Apr-13 12:00:10

Am really upset, received an amended final statement this morning for DS2. This is an amendment which I have been told by IPSEA is not legal as DS hasn't had an annual review or reassessment etc.

They have changed wording and provision of his SAL therapy from twice termly to twice yearly. I have been in touch with LA and told them I didn't agree with the proposed amendment, was not sure how they could amend without an annual review and requested a meeting, which is on 26th April.

The last email I had from LA was that officer was seeking advice from their legal dept after I had said I wasn't clear on what grounds they were issuing an amendment.

I am depressed at the moment and not sure how I can deal with this.

Know I am always seekng help and not offering advice but please can anyone help?

Ineedmorepatience Sat 13-Apr-13 12:05:00

What a nightmare starfish I cant offer any advice but am sure someone will come along who can, are your parent partnership any good? If they are they should be able to help you.

Good luck

coreny Sat 13-Apr-13 12:14:34

ipsea have some advice on this page which says to request a meeting which they have to agree to here

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 12:51:55

Get your appeal with th Tribunal lodged now.

What appalling practice! If LAs could be judicially reviewed in these areas, this sort of practice would be much less likely to happen. As it is, your course of redress is through SENDIST. This gives the LGO the opportunity to duck out and say it is a matter for Tribunal even though this is clearly maladministration. There is nothing to stop LGO getting involved in relation to this kind of practice but they choose not to.

I would find a local councillor and write to them too telling them that a national charity has advised that what they are doing is unlawful as it based on no evidence of change of need. I would cope this in to Edward Timpson MP and your local MP and tell them that you are not asking them to get involved in the detail of the case but that you are concerned that these sort of unlawful practices are depriving children of their statementing provision with no evidential base. Quote IPSEA.

The fact is they know they are unaccountable and can do this and face you off until Tribunal and that there are NO means of redress as they will hide behind the Tribunal process.

Write to the local newspaper.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 12:56:03

You could go to the LGO arguing that this is a withdrawal of provision based on no evidence and without following the proper procedure. They will deal with an absence of provision urgently. You must distinguish this from any SEN Tribunal appeal.

Write to the Director of Children's Services and say their decision is legally irrational and therefore unlawful. It also constitutes maladministration. Say that the consequence is to remove provision and so unless they reinstate the provision or provide cogent evidence for its withdrawal you will report the matter to the Ombudsman.

starfish71 Sat 13-Apr-13 13:06:36

Thanks for replying. Oh god, am feeling very overwhelmed. Right, first step lodge appeal with SENDIST.

Will come back on later, trying to focus, can't believe they are doing this and we haven't even had meeting yet.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 15:49:38

I know the feeling! Just concentrate on one route forward. If that is to file your appeal, you can also ask them to expedite the hearing because the provision has just ben withdrawn without evidence.

starfish71 Sat 13-Apr-13 16:34:57

inappropriately can I just ask, if the recommendations on DS's recent SALT report is what they want to amend statement to, despite very low scores on tests carried out will Tribunal just think oh that's what the LA salt thinks is appropriate.

Don't know if you can help with that one but its just going round in my head.

starfish71 Sat 13-Apr-13 18:42:37

The SALT who saw DS is the only input DS has had since starting at his ASD learning support centre well over a year ago. LA haven't been providing what was in his statement as it stood before this rubbish amendment.

Have printed out the form for SENTW (am in Wales), now need to fill in, trying to think logically about it all but it is pretty crap isn't it?

AgnesDiPesto Sat 13-Apr-13 19:00:27

You could also contact Cerebra and apply for £500 SALT voucher for private therapy

I think you can also JR the decision see here for grounds and SOSSEN. The advantage of that route is that your child can get legal aid to do it and JR is expensive for councils so the likelihood is that one solicitors letter will be enough to stop it being removed. While SENDIST is the route to challenge the final statement and you must still appeal - you can threaten /bring JR on basis the provision should be kept in place until SENDIST has a chance to decide it which will be 6-8 months.

A JR can only make the LA make the decision again ie send it back to LA to follow the right process.
So a Judge could reinstate SALT pending the LA making the decision lawfully or reinstate SALT pending SENDIST appeal, but cannot decide what the right amount of SALT is -only SENDIST can do that.

It sounds as though this is due to cutbacks. It may be worth contacting any local support groups / parent forum in case its happening to others too.

Try Irwin Mitchell or other speciaist educ sols to see if they would consider JR. The other advantage of a Solicitor is they will do the work and less stress on you.

Sending a pre JR letter may be enough to get LA to say they will call a review. If LA does this, says it will reduce provision and amends statement etc you will have to appeal but can ask LA to keep provision in place until the appeal is heard. They don't have to but usually do as they dont want to be criticised by SENDIST

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 19:27:09

Agnes, is JR available if there is another route? JR can only be used when there is no other method of challenging the decision.

From what Starfish is now saying they have produced evidence on which to change the statement (albeit it is doubtless dubious) and having amended the statement, the LAs duty is to arrange what is in this statement.

Doesn't any legal challenge lie in a challenge to that final statement and with SENDIST? SOS SEN and Maxwell Gillotts position has always been you can't challenge what is in a statement by JR only by SENDIST.

If they fail to put that provision in place, then you can apply for a JR

starfish71 Sat 13-Apr-13 19:38:51

Thank you both for answering me. Sorry if I sound stupid but I still have grounds to appeal don't I?

The SALT told me that changing the provision was just making it more realistic as DS wasn't getting the twice termly monitoring was he?! Unfortunately this was in a phone call not an email.

DS had very low scores on the sub tests she did - expressive using CELF 4 recalling sentences - 2nd percentile, formulated sentences 0.1st percentile.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 19:50:36

Starfish, I remember your previous post on this now. Sorry, I thought they had just amended it without any evidence.

It is not legitimate to change the provision to meet what a service is able to offer. Provision must meet the needs of the child.

However, you know what they will do? They will say this does meet his needs. Of course, you can and should challenge this but you will need need to get your own report.

It's crap I know but that is the system. You will need evidence from an expert to challenge them,

starfish71 Sat 13-Apr-13 20:05:22

Right thanks appropriately, need a good SALT now. Will ring a couple on Monday. Very depressing. Sorry for not being clearer.

Why on earth did they just not wait until the annual review? No they can't wait to cut provision can they?

Just hope I can find a good expert.

Icedcakeandflower Sat 13-Apr-13 20:11:16

angry for you

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 20:47:15

Don't say sorry, I should have remembered the background to this. I am so sorry you are having to go through this.

Does the SLT say anything in her report about the amount of provision your son has been getting or why she thinks he only needs twice yearly visits now? I would write and ask the to clarify that.

starfish71 Sat 13-Apr-13 21:30:22

Thanks, again for replying. Am feeling bloody awful to be honest and I should have been more detailed earlier but am glad you understand.

No, SALT lists all the difficulties DS has, but reckons twice yearly is more realistic for him to be seen. She even states in her report that DS came in after an incident at playtime and had great difficulty expressing what had caused him to be so upset! He is struggling with 'before and after', he is 9.

Has helped to 'talk' things through on here though, it's a very lonely experience isn't it.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 22:20:48

It is lonely isn't it? It's also like someone comes a long with a hammer and smashes your family life! Keep posting! We all go up and down and know how it is.

bjkmummy Sun 14-Apr-13 09:17:17

yes it must feel gut wrenching - i have been through both judical review and tribunal. it may be worth you contacting ipsea etc to see what the best way forward is. tribunal is going to take time even if expedieted. I think you will need a SALt report as well. i think the LA are just trying it on because a lot of parents just wont have the strength or time to challenge them - the fact the LA have referred it to their legal team shows that they actually dont really know what they are doing. surely a cost now of a tribunal to the LA is going to be more than the therapy that was on his statement which just makes a mockery of the whole thing. i agree keep posting on here. your case is such a clear cut case of the LA just cutting things to save money rather than what the needs of the child are that the tribunal should be fairly easy to fight.

my judical review only cost £150 for the letter and the LA did back down and i actually got an apology although was only verbal only for them a few months later to screw me over again with my younger son which then led to a tribunal which i won smile

MareeyaDolores Sun 14-Apr-13 09:29:06

You could pretend that you think it's a typo
Let them wriggle out of the lawbreaking while saving face

Dear LA

The proposed amended statement now lists SLT provision as 'twice a year', and we would be grateful to know the reason for your lack of response to my email stating our disagreement and requesting a meeting. We have taken expert advice from MNSN and this information is required before formally instructing a solicitor regarding judicial review.

It is possible that 'twice a term' became 'twice a year' as a result of a simple clerical error. In that event we will need the corrected document by [inset ambitious date], and would appreciate an apology for the stress and expense caused.

Kisses from all your mates at MNSN

MareeyaDolores Sun 14-Apr-13 09:33:58

oh yes, and bung your appeal in obviously. If it goes right now, there's a tiny chance it'll be listed before the summer holidays.

There isn't a massive rush re SLT. You want their report to be ready very close to the 'last evidence date' ie about 2 months prior to the tribunal itself so that no-one else can over-ride it citing his 'recent massive progress'.

starfish71 Sun 14-Apr-13 12:03:44

Oh thank you so much for your support and advice, means a lot.

I am doing my appeal today, going to email it to them. Shall I put in that DS adnt been receiving what was in his original statement? Know I should have fought for that last year but really thought things were all n hand, am very naive, nice school, DS happy, thought all was ok.

I also sent an online complaint to local gov ombudsman last night about the LA's failure to follow procedure and communicate with me clearly and that they have issued final statement without the meeting which had been arranged. Am a bit blush about it so hope I did right thing. It wasn't rambling, just the facts.

starfish71 Sun 14-Apr-13 16:52:25

And now I have emailed SENTW my appeal. Think I may just have a glass of wine now.

AgnesDiPesto Sun 14-Apr-13 21:46:54

I think you may be able to challenge the decision by JR to remove it from the statement without due process eg a review. I think you can also JR the decision to remove it until sendist can hear the appeal although this would more usually be if there was a huge change to the statement eg change placement. So a judge might say the statement has to stay the same until sendist can hear the appeal. I agree it would be difficult to argue for a small change. But sometime a letter suggesting you are considering JR is enough. It seems here its not just about challenging the statement but challenging how the statement has been changed without following legal process.

Inappropriatelyemployed Sun 14-Apr-13 22:21:03

I'm not sure they need a review though.

The process is set out in Schedule 27 of the Education Act 1996 and reference is made in para 8:125 SEN COP. Check through that and see how it compares to what has happened.

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