CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Complaining when the local authority does not seek the correct advice during an EHC needs assessment (template letter 7)

How do I know which professionals my local authority should be contacting for advice?

When your local authority (LA) agrees to carry out an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment for your child, or for you if you are a young person, the law requires it to get information and advice from a specified list of professionals. Most of those professionals should provide their advice and information within 6 weeks of being contacted by your LA (subject to limited exceptions). The advice and information provided must cover: 

·       what special educational needs have been identified 

·       the special educational provision required, and  

·       what outcomes are intended to be achieved by the provision being in place.  

The list of professionals your LA must get this information from is contained inRegulation 6(1) of The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014. 

When should I complain?

If your LA has not approached all of the people that are listed in SEND Regulation 6(1), it is in breach of its legal duties and you can make a complaint about this.

You can also complain if you have asked your LA to get advice from a particular person under SEND Regulation 6(1)(h) and it has refused to do so, even though your request was reasonable. Our page on what happens during EHC needs assessments contains further information on what a ‘reasonable’ request could be, along with the full list of professionals your LA must get advice from. 

Finally, you may wish to complain if any of the professionals send an inadequate response to the LA – for example, a very vague report which doesn’t deal with your/your child’s needs, provision and outcomes. We are aware some services respond with a letter saying something like “not known to this service”. However, this does not meet your LA’s legal duty to get advice in relation to needs, outcomes and provision.

Who should I write to?

You can use this letter to write to the top person at the LA, usually the Director of Children’s Services. You can find this information and contact details for this person on the Association of Directors of Children's Services website. It may help to copy in the LA’s monitoring officer, your ward councillor, and the LA case worker or officer you have been dealing with as well.

Your LA’s Local Offer should clearly set out how a formal complaint can be made in its complaints procedure. This can be found on your LA’s website. You should follow the LA’s complaints procedure as well as writing to the Director of Children’s Services. See our making a complaint about a LA page for more information.

Remember to keep a copy of any letter or email you send.

If you don't get a reply after five working days, or if you need further advice, you can book an advice line appointment with IPSEA.