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LA refusing to make provision in Section F specific? What do I do now?

(27 Posts)
pannetone Tue 19-Jan-16 20:30:33

I've started a new thread because I set out my EHCP woes on this thread which was bedelia's thread.

So _ the LA are refusing to budge and put back in the draft EHCP that DD should have 12 SALT sessions a year and are proceeding with the final draft issued last week which merely says 'direct sessions with the therapist per year' which doesn't make sense.

I've quoted the law at the LA that it is their duty to get a SALT report to inform provision in the EHCP but they just keep repeating that the school should have got the report.

LA caseworker says they will wait til DD goes to secondary in Sep and then get a report and amend the EHCP. Which fails to make any specific provision for the transition work DD will need before she goes there angry.

I have asked for a meeting with the LA before they finalise the draft. Is there anything I can do or will I have to let the LA finalise and then appeal?

Ineedmorepatience Tue 19-Jan-16 22:57:58

It is the LA 's responsibility to carry out assessments, not the school!
I would ask them again to put the SALT back in and if they refuse tell them to finalise so you can appeal!

They know they should have assessed her so they will probably concede and sort it !!

They are just hoping you will accept their garbage!

Good luck flowers

pannetone Wed 20-Jan-16 10:20:53

Thanks Ineed. This morning I have an email from the 'implementation manager' saying that she will investigate my concerns that 'due process may not have been followed'. May not?! Most definitely not!

GruntledOne Wed 20-Jan-16 14:03:32

I take it you quoted regulation 6 of the SEND regulations at them? Tell them that if they don't comply with the law you will be taking it further through the complaints process and the Local Government Ombudsman.

However, I fear that unless they do a massive U-turn quickly you will have little choice but to appeal and get your own SALT report - which will probably be much better than anything they get anyway.

pannetone Wed 20-Jan-16 16:56:43

Yep Gruntled I've quoted reg 6 at them - at least the senior manager seems to be actually looking into it. ND(not dear)caseworker has just ignored my repeated attempts to get her to follow the law...

If it comes to it I will be going down the appeal route with a complaint to the LA for good measure. Actually can SENDIST deal with a complaint about how my LA has gone about the transfer process? Or can they only look at the rubbish EHCP I am about to get?

2boysnamedR Wed 20-Jan-16 17:25:22

Sendist only look at things via appeal. They don't even get involved if the LA do not adhere to their orders. They don't have any clout like that.

I would strongly tell the LA that you will be appealing unless they change it. That the panel will not look favourably on this behaviour and you would be going for costs.

It that doesn't make them squirm I would leave by saying "maybe DC actually needs more therapy I will have to get a Indi SLT to find out".

All very nicely of course. A few people I know have had appeals dropped when the LA realise they can't win

GruntledOne Wed 20-Jan-16 17:30:42

SENDIST won't directly deal with complaints about the transfer process. However, you can put a reference to their failures in as part of your appeal grounds and explain that it is their failure to follow the process properly that results in the EHCP being so bad.

If you end up getting your own SALT report and the LA suddenly wakes up and decides it will get one after all, make sure their SALT goes in after yours.

pannetone Wed 20-Jan-16 20:28:22

Thanks 2boys and Gruntled.

Yes, I was thinking that I would explain to a tribunal just why we have such a poor EHCP. Even if SENDIST can't rule on an LA's failure to follow procedures it is hardly going to put them in a good light if we get as far as tribunal.

Gruntled - why would I need to get my SALT in first to assess DD? If it's because of the 2nd SALT not being able to repeat tests that won't apply to DD - because of her SM no therapist can do a formal assessment anyway... (So the caseworker's idea that SALT for DD can only be specified when she gets to secondary and has a formal 'speech and language skills assesment' would mean it wasn't ever specifiedhmm).

2boysnamedR Wed 20-Jan-16 20:48:44

If a SLT can't do a formal assessment I guess it's not so critical ( I could be wrong) but if you get a indi in its likely ( here in my county) that the LA will not get a SLT in and then accept everything your SLT says ( as in my case and another case held just after mine here in Crapshire ;0) but I know that's a expensive route.

pannetone Fri 29-Jan-16 20:56:30

Ranty update - I have had a response to my 'concerns' from the LA Director of SEN operations in which:

-He selectively quotes from Dept of Ed Guidance to LAs on transfer to EHCPs saying that section 5.10 says the LA must not undertake a new assessment where there are existing reports. He fails to mention the second part of that sentence which says this 'not getting new advice' only applies when the advice giver, parents and LA agree that the advice is 'sufficient to inform the EHCP process.'

-He then says he considers that the latest SALT report done in Nov (by the school) is sufficient to advise the EHCP, but it doesn't specify hours so the EHCP can't be specific about provision for DD's needs hmm

- Gobsmackingly, he then says 'I understand your concern that from September 16 [DD] will be in a new environment and ideally the Plan should detail all the support and interventions she will need.' Is he saying a detailed EHCP is his ideal as well as my ideal? Why is he talking about ideals when this is a matter of law?!

'Olive branch' offered - the EHCP can be amended at DD's Year 6 review! What?? DD needs a proper plan now for transition to secondary.

I will respond pointing out the his arguments are illogical and unlawful. I will also ask him to finalise the EHCP so we can put in an appeal...

Veritat Fri 29-Jan-16 22:15:17

Are you by any chance in Kent? They seem to use exactly that tactic of relying on the sentence about not doing new assessments whilst ignoring the bit about needing parental agreement.

If the SALT report doesn't give sufficient detail to enable the LA to comply with its duty to specify, they should have gone back and demanded the SALT do their job.

I'd strongly suggest you forward copies of the correspondence to the SEN department at the Department for Education. I've heard that if they're given documentary evidence of councils coming up with crap like this they're willing to go and get tough with them.

pannetone Fri 29-Jan-16 23:06:56

Not Kent Veritat but a London borough which borders it...

The issue with the latest SALT report not being specific for the EHCP is that the SEN caseworker told me that I/the school had to get one as I wanted the EHCP to state that the SALT needed to be experienced in selective mutism. Now I know the LA should have got the report.

In the initial drafts of the EHCP the caseworker 'transferred over' the 12 SALT sessions from the Statement, implying that the LA thought the 2014 report that the Statement was based on was also sufficient for the EHCP process.

Once the school got a report specifying DD would need support from a selective mutism experienced SALT for secondary, the LA took out the 12 sessions from the draft, as the school SALT report didn't specify a number of sessions.

So it wasn't a case of the SALT not doing her job - the LA didn't themselves even approach a SALT for an up to date report.

If I forward corresspondence to the SEN dept at the Dept for Education will they deal with my case specifically or is it more calling the LA to account generally? I'm pretty sure that my LA were a Pathfinder Authority which makes the crap-spouting even more indefensible.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 30-Jan-16 10:14:36

Going back to your case worker! I have come to realise that these people dont even know or understand SEND law! They go on courses run by managers from their own departments! They are fed bullshit policy and believe it!

Its the managers that are worse because they fo on DfE training and then blatantly ignore it!

Keep fighting panne the law always trumps LA policy (as a very good friend of mine says wink )

Veritat Sun 31-Jan-16 02:51:54

The reason I suggested sending it to the DfE is that they would, I hope, beat up the LA generally and tell them to start obeying the law. I've heard that they've done that with other local authorities who were, for instance, telling people that they couldn't have EHCPs over 16 unless they had severe needs.

Either that caseworker is utterly incompetent and stupid and has never actually read the relevant law or the Code of Practice, or she's deliberately lying. Given that she tried to deny what the law said even when you quoted chapter and verse, it sounds to me like she's mostly stupid. I'd be strongly tempted to write to the head of SEN and your local councillor to query why they're employing people as dim as this and/or failing to train them in basic information they need to do their jobs.

pannetone Sun 31-Jan-16 13:48:02

Thanks Ineed.

Veritat the selectively quoting and ignoring the code has gone beyond the caseworker now - the response I got on Friday was from the Director of SEN Operations. It is pretty depressing to find that he isn't prepared to follow the Code of Practice and the law...

I complained about the caseworker to the Head of ' SEN Implementation' and she passed it to the Director of SEN Ops. I've replied now, again saying the LA aren't following the law and I'll appeal and repert them to the LA Monitoring officer if they finalise the draft EHCP as it stands. I don't know if the Head of Implementation will now get involved too - given her job title I think she should!

Veritat Sun 31-Jan-16 15:36:47

Bloody hell. If it's the Director coming out with those lies, it definitely needs to be escalated to the DfE. That's really serious. Good idea re the Monitoring Officer, too.

uggerthebugger Mon 01-Feb-16 05:53:07

Hi pannetone , if you need specific people to contact in the DfE, DM me.

It would also be a good idea to contact Ofsted - they'll be starting up inspections of SEN services later this year. I can give you names here too.

If you're in the LA I think you're in, they will already have gone through a pilot Ofsted inspection last autumn. If that's the case, then Ofsted might well take some action. They are fucking hopeless when it comes to SEN, but they are much more likely to act if an LA is openly defying the law just months after an inspection.

pannetone Mon 01-Feb-16 18:08:16

Thanks ugger I will PM you later.

StarlightMcKenzee Tue 02-Feb-16 09:49:24

You can also contact Edward Timpson himself who reported he would personally intervene in cases like this................ha ha ha ha!

StarlightMcKenzee Tue 02-Feb-16 09:50:21

I think there is a need for a shared public blog of 'stories'!! with regular tweets to the media!

UnderTheF1oorboards Thu 04-Feb-16 23:46:53

OP, I think you and I are in the same borough. What a bunch of weasels they are. We had horrific problems with DS's EHCP last year, mainly due to the thick-as-shit caseworker at the LEA refusing to marry up sections B and F properly, and section F being far from specific. I was still unhappy with the final version but signed it off after 10 months of loggerheads because the wonderful school has pretty much binned the plan and used the money to put in place a more appropriate support package in partnership with us.

pannetone Fri 05-Feb-16 11:17:42

UnderTheFloorboards - I am thoroughly fed up with the whole thing. Director of SEN hasn't responsed to my request that they start following the law and specify provision. Instead the panel deciding on placement for DD at secondary have said they will pay the indie fees but want the school to meet DD's TA time out of their own resources.... There's no mention of how the unquantified SALT will be provided.

I'm glad your DS's school have come up trumps. With DD's statement I wasn't so concerned about wooly provision because I was confident her needs would be met as it was a special school who were up to speed with supporting DD's needs. But it is really important to have a 'water-tight' EHCP for secondary - DD is going to a MS setting which is appropriate for her academically but she will need specialist support for it to work.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 05-Feb-16 13:20:19

He selectively quotes from Dept of Ed Guidance to LAs on transfer to EHCPs saying that section 5.10 says the LA must not undertake a new assessment where there are existing reports.

panne can you link please - can't find the specific document.

I would like to selectively quote too smile

wrt DS1 the LA (communication via the EOTAS bod) is saying that it wants new assessment. He should have already transferred to EHCP. The LA wrote to us in June 2015 saying that they were drafting the EHCP but first wanted us to complete a Family Advice form (normally filled in to help them decide whether an EHCP is required). I never filled in the form and they never issued an EHCP.

Despite his being out of school and unable to even meet his EOTAS tutor I am now told that they 'need' new assessment - especially EP. He was assessed to death pre-tribunal and the reports are still relevant.

GruntledOne Fri 05-Feb-16 15:08:21

The document is at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/463320/Transition_Dept_advice_sept15.pdf.

Paragraph 5.10 says:

The local authority must not seek any advice required for an EHC needs
assessment if such advice has previously been provided for any purpose and the person providing that advice, the local authority and the child’s parents or the young person are satisfied that it is sufficient for the purposes of an EHC needs assessment. To allow local authorities sufficient time to ensure that additional assessments can be conducted where needed, and a robust EHC plan developed where needed local authorities must give parents or young people at least two weeks’ notice before they begin a Transfer Review (an EHC needs assessment). In deciding whether existing advice is sufficient, it is likely that the following will be considered:

• how recently advice was provided;
• whether and how far the needs of the child or young person have changed since it was given; and
• whether it is sufficiently focused on the outcomes sought for the child or young person.

Maybe when we are dealing with the LAs that habitually lie about this we should have that in our autosignatures, preferably with the bit about needing the agreement of parents in red and in very large letters?

pannetone Wed 10-Feb-16 20:52:07

Additional rant for anyone still following this saga.

Another email from the Director of SEN Operations. He is still insisting that a SALT report from the school only an A4 page long with no specific recommendations (as the school SALT isn't a selective mutism specialist) is enough to inform the EHCP provision.

He says that 'clarifying' provision at DD's Y6 annual review (due in July) won't be to her detriment, but DD needs transition support towards secondary now.

He also tells me that the SEN team do not make SALT referrals and if I want one I should go to the GP. What?! It appears the LA are trying to get out of providing any SALT for DD. BUT as SALT is a SEN and there is provision in Section F (though not quantified) the LA have to provide it don't they?

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