CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Letter to the local authority when it does not send out the final amended EHC plan in time (template letter 15)

This template letter is for general advice purposes and will need to be tailored to your own individual circumstances. Please read all of the information on this page and, if possible, we recommend you take advice on using this letter. 

What should I do?

A local authority (LA) can amend an EHC plan at any time but this is most likely to happen after it has carried out an annual review. Whenever the LA amends an EHC plan it must follow the procedure laid down in law, set out in more detail here. Your LA must consult with you during this process. 

If, following the review, your LA decides to make amendments to the EHC plan then it must send you notice of its decision, together with a draft of the proposed amendments, within four weeks of the review meeting. This is called an Amendment Notice. The SEN and Disability Code of Practice says at paragraph 9.177, “If the plan needs to be amended, the local authority should start the process of amendment without delay”. 

If you do not agree with the amendments proposed you should write to your local authority explaining exactly what it is that you are unhappy about and why, including a request for a different school or college (or type of school or college) if you want this to change. You can find more information and a template letter on our page about objecting to proposed amendments 

The LA is required to send the finalised amended EHC plan as soon as practicable, and in any event within 8 weeks of the sending you a copy of the Amendment Notice/draft amended EHC plan. If the LA changes its mind and decides not to amend an EHC plan after proposing to it must also tell you within this timeframe.

When should I write?

8 weeks after receiving the Amendment Notice/draft amended plan.

What if the school or college offers to write on my behalf?

It is fine for the school or college to write to the LA too. However, this should be as well as your own letter.

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.

Should I make a formal complaint as well?  

Delay in finalising an EHC plan and to your right to mediate and/or appeal if you don’t agree with what it says (or the LA’s decision not to change it after all), is a very serious matter and means the LA is not complying with the law. Therefore, when a final EHC plan is late taking the time to complete your LA’s complaints process may not be appropriate, in which case we recommend you use our template letter to alert the LA to the issue and take advice on starting a process calledjudicial reviewinstead of making a formal complaint.  

You may prefer to complain but first check your LA’s complaints procedure for how long this would take. This can be found in your LA’s Local Offer on its website.  If necessary, after following the LA’s complaints procedure you can escalate the complaint to theLocal Government Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO). If a complaint goes through all stages of the LGSCO’s process, it can take many months to resolve. So again, if the situation is urgent – for example because the final amended EHC plan is late and you do not know when you will get it - we recommend you considerjudicial reviewinstead of making a formal complaint.

If you decide to complain, 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. If complaining, you should follow the LA’s complaints procedure as well as writing to the Director of Children’s Services. See our page on  taking action when things go wrong with a local authority for more information.     

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

If you need further advice or you use this template letter and do not get a reply to your request after five working days you can book an advice line appointment with IPSEA, use our call-in service or take advice and get help with judicial review from a legal aid provider or other organisation.  

If you haven’t been able to find the answer to your question on this page, see our FAQs.