Complaining about failures relating to transition: Model letter 11

When should a local authority have started transition?

All children and young people with Statements should be transitioned to EHC plans by 1 April 2018. This means that transition should have already begun for all children and young people with Statements.

If transition has not happened by the deadline, the Statement will continue to have effect under the Education Act 1996, so children and young people with Statements should not lose provision. For more information see the sections on what will happen to your Statement after 1 April 2018, and your rights if you still have a Statement.

Local authorities must give parents 2 weeks’ notice that transition is going to begin.

What is the time limit for the local authority to finalise an EHC Plan following transition?

A local authority is required to finalise the EHC Plan as soon as practicable but in any event within 18 weeks of transition beginning – including the 2 weeks’ notice, this means the process should take 20 weeks in total. There is more detail in IPSEA’s transition timeline.

Are there exceptions to the time limit?

There are some circumstances in which a local authority may not be required to comply with the 20 week time limit if it would be impractical for them to do so. These are where:

(a) the authority has requested advice from the head teacher or principal of a school or post-16 institution during, or immediately before, a time when it is closed for a period of longer than 4 weeks (i.e. in the summer holidays)

(b) the authority has requested advice from the person identified as having responsibility for special educational needs from a provider of relevant early years education during, or immediately before, a time when it is closed for a period of longer than 4 weeks (i.e. in the summer holidays)

(c) exceptional personal circumstances affect the child or the child’s parent, or the young person during that time period; or

(d) the child or the child’s parent, or the young person, are absent from the area of the authority for a continuous period of not less than 4 weeks during that time period.

If one of the exceptions applies, the local authority will only be able to rely on it if they can show that making the decision on time would be impractical because of the exception. The local authority is still required to notify you of their decision on your request as soon as practicable. If you believe one of the exceptions applies, please contact us for further advice.

When should I complain?

If you are complaining because transition has not begun and you want the local authority to start the process, you can complain right away – because all transitions should now have started.

If you are complaining because the EHC needs assessment on transition is taking more than 20 weeks, you should complain as soon as the 20 week time limit has expired.

Who should I write to?

Write to the top person at the LA, usually the Director of Children’s Services. You can find information and contact details for this person by clicking here.

Remember to keep a copy of any letter or email you send. If you don’t get a reply within two weeks, or if you need further advice, you can book an appointment to speak with us.