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timing of getting independent reports when I am about to put in an appeal after refusal to assess? EP and SALT can't assess til May!

(47 Posts)
pannetone Tue 04-Feb-14 10:07:16

Sorry not the most exciting thread ever and really I am 'fine tuning' what I have asked more generally.

I have to get DD's appeal in by 23rd Feb. EP can see DD mid- May, SALT end of May. Is the timscale for getting a hearing about 4 months once my appeal has gone in? So that means I would get a hearing about mid June. How much in advance of the hearing do 'expert' reports have to be in?

AND is there also some rule that the reports have to be less than 6 months old at the time of the hearing? So if I do get the Tribunal to order the LA to assess, if I then need to go on to appeal refusal to issue a statement will I need new reports, as the initial ones will be too old? in fact even if the LA back down and agree to assess, the reports would still be out of date when it came to appealing refusal to give a statement, wouln't they?

It is all such a headache because my funds aren't endless and I think I will need EP, SALT and OT reports for DD.

Then I need a bit of a strategy for DS for whom I am going to put in a parental request to assess. I have asked if his school will get the EP in. Is it true that DS couldn't then be assessed by an independent EP for 6 months?

bjkmummy Tue 04-Feb-14 10:26:50

I'm having a similar headache. My daughter seen by an EP in October. My EP says she can't do a report again her to end of April as has to be 6 months between reports. Some people are saying that they are getting really quick hearing dates for refusal to assess - less than the 5 months which will cause me a headache. I should hear this week when my hearing is. I have booked OT to see her in march - sent note into school today saying to going to phone them - haven't said she's a private OT though!

I'm not sure about the reports if more than 6 months old being out of date. I don't think there's a hard rule about it as such. I had an OT report done for my son for tribunal - first one was done in April and the tribunal was the following February, my OT then came in the jan before tribunal and did a follow up report which was a lot cheaper than the first report so you may be able to do that

Reports I believe will have to be in 4 weeks before the hearing but again I will know more about the hopefully later this week when we hear back from sendist

TOWIE2014 Tue 04-Feb-14 10:32:27

Once you have submitted your appeal, the Tribunal will give you a timeline - which includes the deadline for further evidence. This is very roughly 3 to 4 weeks before the date of the hearing. This is the date all expert reports will have to be submitted - and any other evidence you are relying on (inc FOI/DPA, school reports etc).

Most indie experts are used to working towards an evidence deadline. So once you have the Tribunal's date, you need to tell this to your indie experts and they should then work this deadline into their timescales.

Yes, reports do have a shelf-life of approximately 6 months. Which is extremely annoying because if you have more than one appeal, you will end up have to pay for several sets of assessments. However, some indie experts (if you use the same expert) often charge a slightly lesser fee for a "top-up" (although not much lesser!).

Certain tests are time-barred so each expert needs to know what the others have done - so all experts need to see each others reports. There are ways around it - each expert will have a raft of tests/assessments they can use - until they use everything up. My poor DS had so many assessments in such a short space of time that the final one he had (for appeal against part 2, 3 and 4) - done by the LA's EP - she virtually had to make up her own assessment as official assessments had all been used up.

wetaugust Tue 04-Feb-14 16:40:41

Yes, reports do have a shelf-life of approximately 6 months. confused

Fact or heresay? Or just when used for Tribunal purposes?

I have a 2004 ED Pysch report which I still submit as evidence of DS's difficulties in non-Tribunal contexts.

pannetone Tue 04-Feb-14 17:01:07

Thank you for your replies. I suppose I have to go ahead and book the SALT and EP now. Will the tribunal allow you to move the hearing date later if you won't be able to get independent reports in before the evidence deadline? Because I almost certainly can't get the reports done earlier as the SALT and EP are booked up.

I hope I am worrying uneccessarily - it would be rather ironic if I got an early date for this tribunal - I've been waiting nearly a year and still haven't got a date for the DLA appeal for my DS....

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:13:57

If DC are out of school then get indi reports now. You should really have got them prior to SA request to show that you were not holding back information that the LA needed to make their decision to assess or refuse. Tribunal won't like it if you reveal new evidence between SA and refusal to assess hearing.

I think that pre-assessment before assessment is ridiculous - but then again, DS1 was assessed without SALT or OT input. Assessment (showing him to be over the magic 5 years delay) was only carried out to try and counteract independent assessments on the run-up to tribunal. No tribunal = no independent reports = no LA assessment = no identification of need.

If you are on a different trajectory, (not by your own choice) then wait til appeal of parts 2, 3 and 4 before you get independent reports. tbh I don't think that 'expert witnesses' give the same time to refusal to assess cases that rarely progress to tribunal hearing.

wetaugust Tue 04-Feb-14 17:22:02

You should really have got them prior to SA request to show that you were not holding back information that the LA needed to make their decision to assess or refuse. Tribunal won't like it if you reveal new evidence between SA and refusal to assess hearing.

That is crazy advice.

Requests for assessments are done in good faith - I cannot imagine any parent witholding crucial information from the LA.

New information must emerge in lots of cases between SA refusal and Tribunal. If the information is that decisive, then you should obviously tell the LA. If the LA chose to ignore it then you submit it to Tribunal - as a late entry if necessary.

bjkmummy Tue 04-Feb-14 17:51:56

pannetone - I have had the same dilemma - what if the hearing ate is before I can get an EP in - I will I guess have to make a decision when that time comes. LA ask for adjournments all the time and sometimes in the final weeks - tribunal may say to try and come to agreement with LA to delay the date - I think most LA would be very happy to have a further delay! as soon as I get my date hopefully this week I will let you know the timescale of it

re reports - I hinted at when I sent in my paperwork that there was a question mark re dyspraxia so now they have refused to assess am getting an OT report to see if she actually is. I will be more than happy to share that report with my LA as soon as I get it - they have said already that if she does get a dx to share the report with the school and they can add it to her IEP!

TOWIE2014 Tue 04-Feb-14 18:10:54

Fact or heresay? Or just when used for Tribunal purposes?
OP was asking about Tribunal. Shelf-life of 6 months is neither fact (ie a legal requirement) nor heresay but rather "the done thing". I was certainly told this by all my legal advisers and the LA.

I too have much older reports for DS. But I use them for chronology and background purposes - not to show the current situation.

Requests for assessments are done in good faith - I cannot imagine any parent witholding crucial information from the LA.
But if you have a rogue authority, you might, as I was, be subjected to the LA putting in a claim for their costs to the Tribunal. Yes this really happened with my LA claiming to the Tribunal that I had with-hold crucial information, therefore (because it was on my lawyer's say-so) the LA made a substantial claim against my lawyers because they, the LA said, had advised me to "withhold information". I didn't withhold information, my lawyers didn't advise me to withhold information, and the Tribunal threw out the LA's claim and agreed that the LA's claim was total and utter rubbish.

So LAs can and do play dirty if something unexpected comes up during the appeal process.

pannetone Tue 04-Feb-14 18:12:25

wet does that mean in effect I should be asking the LA for a 're-consideration' of my case (whilst also putting in appeal so as to not miss the deadline)? The absolutely crucial change since I put the request in and LA refused just before Christmas, is that DD's attendance 'nose-dived' at the beggining of term and now she has been off school entirely for a fortnight. Her attendance % has consequently slipped to less than 80% and falling.

A LA rep came to the meeting to 'explain' their refusal so she knows that DD is no longer in school, but i don't suppose that filters back to the person who made the decision to refuse assessment.

2boysnamedR Tue 04-Feb-14 18:14:02

I only showed ds private salt report after refusal to assess as the lea will not accept private reports but tribunal will. So wasn't withholding information. It was information the lea refused to accept until we were in a appeal process

wetaugust Tue 04-Feb-14 18:40:31

Pannetone

When I was waiting for Tribunal I was told by my solictor to maintain the dialogue with the LA as that's what the Tribunal would expect us to do - keep trying to reach an agreement while waiting for Tribunal.

If something important or serious cropped up while we were awaiting Tribunal I would certainly have told the LA. In fact I remmeber sending them a private Ed Pysch report and a copy os yet another NHS opinion while we were waiting.

A LA rep came to the meeting to 'explain' their refusal so she knows that DD is no longer in school, but i don't suppose that filters back to the person who made the decision to refuse assessment

Everything you tell the LA SN workers will get back to the Statementing Officer. Their grapevine ia s thing of wonder. same goes with whatever you tell the school, the Ed Pysch etc. However, the Case Officer is the named officer within the LA to whom you should address all communications.

And yes - if there is new information they can reconsider their decision prior to Tribunal and agree to assess - it happens all the time. 'New informtion' is an excellent get-out clause to save them from going to Tribunal while sparing their blushes for having a change of mind.

2boysnamedr
the lea will not accept private reports but tribunal will.

I could give a flying --- about whether the dickheads in the LA chose to accpt or not. the minute the report is in their hands they have been notified - end of. If they chose not to act on the information you provided and as a result damage occurs then they could be held responsible and legal action could be taken against them. So while they 'chose to ignore' you can be damn sure that they will have read the private report - so it should be 'failed to acknowledge' rather than 'failed to accept'.

wetaugust Tue 04-Feb-14 18:41:47

Towie

I've never uet heard of an LA actually being granted costs just as I have never heard of a parent being awarded costs either. It's a try-on.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 04-Feb-14 18:42:33

Our tribunal date is less than 4 months from the date I recieved the letter!!

TOWIE2014 Tue 04-Feb-14 18:51:04

Wet - it might be a try-on but it is a whole heap of extra unnecessary stress. In fact, their tactics in this particular aspect was the most stressful thing out of the entire 18 months of trying to get my DS provision - it was savage with bully-boy tactics. Not just what they did by bringing the action, but the outright lies they put in their document to the Tribunal Services. And then when I formally complained about it, the lies they told yet again about the whole situation.

Oh well, their lies about this are a matter for the LGO now.

bjkmummy Tue 04-Feb-14 19:04:07

Always remember being sat in a meeting with the LA and them refusing point blank to accept our OT report - they ended up getting their own which identified even more needs! A moment of mumsnet power came upon me and I looked them both straight in the eye and said' you might not accept this report but a tribunal will'

And of course the power of mumsnet were right - would still drag me to tribunal though but in a way it was enjoyable watching the LA squirm.

I would later head that the same sen officers are now bleating to anyone who will listen that a tribunal will always side with the private reports, don't think thats strictly true. It if they want to believe that then my work is done!

Until of course they get the OT report regarding my daughter......

2boysnamedR Tue 04-Feb-14 19:18:55

I was told by my senco the lea would not accept a private report, so I shared it with the school but not the lea. I did hope it was my ace card as I presumed they would refuse and the report was totally damming with regards to his nhs reports.

wetaugust Tue 04-Feb-14 19:26:13

Supposing and it's just supposing, you sent them a private report that stated your child had an infectious disease that, if caught by other children, could be fatal - and the LA decided 'not to accept' that report purely because it was a private report.

Can you imagine the Sun headlines? The scandal?

No. It's nothing to do with acceptance. It's a failure to acknowledge.

When we finally got round to suing the LA, we had a private assessment from a clinical psychologist and ed psych. One of the prefaces to their report clearly stated that they were working for the Court - so there was no preference in favour of the person paying them. Same when we had private dx - I had to pay upfront because the professor said many parents didn't like his findings and would refuse to pay.
Perhaps i just struck lucky and got some very independent and trustworthy people. I just don't subscribe to the view that you can buy the opinion you want - you can't if you are dealing with conscientious people.

Of course 'buying a favourable opinion is a fallacy that the FA like to perpetuate. And the irony is that the LA 'buy' every opinion there own employees provide.

This is puzzling me too, I am awaiting a decision to assess which I think will be refused and trying to plan for professional reports. I am also shock at how much a private Ed.Psych report costs, and a bit nervous that it may still not be enough (I think school have half managed to convince me it's all in my imagination). I am presuming I will get a refusal to assess and planning the private assessments for the month or so following that at the moment

claw2 Tue 04-Feb-14 19:33:51

Panne, I put my SA request in May when ds started to refuse school, it was refused. I lodged appeal in about July. My Tribunal hearing was January. I booked EP for early December.

Although I knew my ds had SALT and OT needs from previous reports, I purposely did not book these yet, as I was fully expected a crap statement which I would have to appeal and then I would have to pay EP again to update his report.

So any reports you get now, once statement is drafted, appealed lodged etc will have to be updated. Reports are supposed to be dated within a year.

However, by late October ds was sent home from school requiring a emergency mental health assessment. I submitted hospital report as and when that happened and got on the LA's case, told them stop wasting time and expedite SA.

My EP was not able to do formal assessments with ds due to his level of anxiety. He wrote in his report that he was extremely concerned with ds's level of anxiety and would not do formal assessments. He wrote that it wasn't in ds's best interest to attend school and that ds required specialist provision to be able to attend etc, etc and home tuition, until he had a statement and suitable school placement.

I lodged EP report with Tribunal and LA in December. Deregistered ds as LA were still refusing to SA. By January, they backed down, provided home tuition until SA and statement were complete. Statement was finalised in June.

The only report I ever got was indi EP (who did no formal assessments). As part of SA, LA EP tried to assess ds, he did 3 subtests before ds broke down and assessment had to stop.

So ds got a statement based on no formal assessments, just opinions of 2 EP's (admittedly a crap one, but it got him a placement at indi school with specialist provision)

bjkmummy Tue 04-Feb-14 19:37:53

I know the La think that private reports just say what the parents want them to say but then why does every independent report have a statement of truth attached to it yet no LA or NHS report carries such a statement? All of the independent people I have met have always acted with complete integrity and only in the best interest of the child. They would not compromise their professional standing by writing anything but the truth - can we say the same about some of the LA/ NHS professionals?

How quickly do you normally get told a tribunal date once you appeal?

claw2 Tue 04-Feb-14 19:50:12

So sorry my post my long!

In brief, all you need now is EP assessment booked for about 6 weeks prior to your Tribunal date.

You can get SALT, OT etc assessments when crap statement is issued and you are appealing that.

If you get EP, SALT, OT now, these will need updating prior to tribunal for crap statement, so you will just be duplicating reports and expenses.

Some people get EP, SALT, OT at refusal to SA stage and then do it again at draft statement stage. I opted for saving a few grand and just booked EP. I would have booked SALT and OT at appealing draft statement stage had I got there and had ds been in a fit state to assess.

I'm worried that I am going too soon with these assessments and that if an appeal to assess takes six months, then 10 weeks for assessment, then appeal over statement I could be looking at having to do them all over again. But without them I might not succeed in an appeal for assessment in the first place.

wetaugust Tue 04-Feb-14 19:52:34

why does every independent report have a statement of truth attached to it yet no LA or NHS report carries such a statement?

Perhaps the LA and NHS feel they are unable to vouch for the veracity of their reports?

They would not compromise their professional standing by writing anything but the truth - can we say the same about some of the LA/ NHS professionals?

No - not in my experience

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