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Help! EHCPs, provision and using private reports

(7 Posts)
BoogleMcGroogle Thu 16-Mar-17 09:43:37

Hello all and apologies for a really boring question. I should know the answer to this question, but don't and can't find it from Dr Google and don't know where to look in the CoP.

When DS had his EHCP issued we were told by our LA officer that 'we won't put that in as it's in a private report'. They were quite clear about this and because we were in a hurry to get his EHCP finalised (his place at a specialist unit depended on it, they were already over time and it was August by now) we didn't make a fuss. We really just wanted the unit place, where the provision is more than appropriate to his needs (and much more than his EHCP specifies).

DS will leave the unit at the end of next year and I'm thinking ahead about transition to a mainstream primary school, with (lots of) additional support. We plan to call an early annual review and plan to get private (as well as school/NHS, although we've not had any paperwork from either since he started the unit, but I'm keeping quiet about this as it might play to our advantage) assessments just before the review, so that we can be clear about the provision we are requesting.

Does the Code of Practice anywhere specify that private professional assessments need to be considered and that their recommended provision should be included in an EHCP? I know that a tribunal would probably order this, but I could do without a tribunal and would prefer to be able to quote the relevant part of the legislation to our LA officer (who is a bit jobsworth and can't generally see beyond local processes) to ensure that they include private recommendations?

Does anyone have any experience of using private reports in an EHCP, prior to the (stressful rigmarole) of a tribunal? Thanks smile

Melawati Thu 16-Mar-17 11:35:28

We used a private ed psych report for ours, but didn't have any problems at all with that. In fact the LA was happy as it meant they didn't have to repeat the tests.
So it's possible, but I'm afraid that doesn't help you with the relevant legislation.

BoogleMcGroogle Thu 16-Mar-17 12:25:19

Thanks Melawati. I would have hoped our LA would be similarly accepting, but it appears that, at least at a relatively junior level they are not. I hope it might not be the case if I escalate it. I'm still recovering from the upset of the last EHCP debacle, I'm not sure I have the energy for another one next year.

Friolero Thu 16-Mar-17 13:34:48

I don't know the legislation, sorry, but we used a private OT report in my son's EHCP. They accepted all the recommendations, and just copied and pasted the whole lot into his EHCP.

amunt Thu 16-Mar-17 14:59:49

I think if they are one of the unpleasant LAs, they will ignore any private report which recommends a provision that will cost them money.

Megatherium Thu 16-Mar-17 17:22:22

I don't think there's anything that specifically says they must consider private reports. However, page 166 of the Code of Practice, the bit showing what should be in section F, is quite helpful - the fourth bullet point says

"There should be clarity as to how advice and information gathered has informed the provision specified. Where the local authority has departed from that advice, they should say so and give reasons for it."

So - private reports supplied by you come under the heading "advice and information gathered." Clearly when the LA is required to give reasons, they should be sensible reasons, not just "because we never accept private reports" or "because we don't like all that pesky expensive provision that they recommend" - it should be a sensible reason based on the reports themselves, e.g. that they have a valid reason for believing it to be unreliable.

So you could at least suggest to the LA that if they're not going to use the private reports you expect them to comply with that bullet point and to come up with a respectable reason that isn't a restatement of an unlawful blanket policy.

BoogleMcGroogle Thu 16-Mar-17 18:21:35

Thanks Megatherium. That's really helpful to know. The caseworker isn't much of a free thinker , if you see what I mean (nice enough guy). Once I mention that, he should refer it up to his manager who is much easier to negotiate with. And I now feel happier that we would have a strong case at tribunal if they do try it on.

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