CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Asking the LA to seek information and advice during EHC needs assessments (model letter 20)

Which professionals should a Local Authority get advice from during an EHC needs assessment? 

When a Local Authority (“LA”) agrees or the SEND Tribunal orders it to carry out an EHC needs assessment for a child/young person, the law requires it to seek information and advice from a specified list of professionals. The professionals should provide the advice and information within 6 weeks of being contacted by the LA. This advice and information must cover the child/young person’s needs, outcomes and provision. The list of professionals the LA must get this information from is contained in Regulation 6 (1) of the SEN and Disability Regulations 2014 (the “SEN Regs”). 

You should be aware that certain professionals, including speech and language therapists and occupational therapists, do not appear on the specified list (although the list does require the LA to get advice from a “health care professional”). If you would like your LA to obtain information and advice from professionals who are not explicitly included in the list, you will need to request that the LA seek information from them. You have a right to make this request and provided the request is reasonable, the LA must obtain the information and advice under SEN Reg 6 (1) (h). 

How do I ask the LA to get advice from someone else? 

You can use this model letter to help you make your request and set out why you believe your request is reasonable. For further information on what a ‘reasonable’ request could be and for the full list of professionals the LA must get advice from, see here. 

The covering letter sent by the LA informing you that it will carry out the EHC needs assessment should give you the contact details of the person you should get in touch with. 

If you are not sure who to write to, then write to the most senior person at the LA, usually called the Director of Children’s Services. You can find information and contact details for this person by clicking here. 

When should I ask the LA to seek advice and information? 

You should ask the LA to get advice and information from the professional/service as soon as you realise it’s needed.  

You could even include this kind of request when asking the LA to carry out an EHC needs assessment and repeat it using this letter when the LA informs you that it will be assessing. 

What if the LA refuses? 

If you make a reasonable request and the LA refuses you can complain. We have a different model letter you can use to complain if your LA is not carrying out the EHC needs assessment properly.