CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Letter to the local authority when it fails to comply with the statutory deadlines for action following a SEND Tribunal appeal (template letter 16)

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?

The local authority (LA) is required by law to comply with certain deadlines following conclusion of an appeal in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

The action the LA is required to take and by when depends on the type of appeal, when in the appeal process it concluded and how (for example, because the LA conceded the appeal before the deadline for its response or following conclusion by a consent order or determination by the Tribunal following a hearing).

We have set out the actions the LA may be required to take and associated deadlines in the body of this template letter.

If the LA misses a deadline for a required action following an appeal you should make a formal complaint to the LA and you can adapt template letter 16 to do this.

When should I write?

As soon as possible following the LA’s failure to comply with the deadlines for action.

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

It is fine for the school or college to also write to the LA too. However, this should be as well as, not instead of, 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 Director 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 complying with the deadlines that apply after a SEND Tribunal appeal is a very serious matter and means the LA is not following the law. Therefore, when this happens 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, when the situation is urgent we recommend you write to the LA and 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.