New tribunal powers on health and social care (England)
Wednesday 14th March 2018
What does the Tribunal do?
The First Tier Tribunal hears appeals from parents and young people about local authority decisions on Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Currently, the tribunal can only consider appeals about the educational parts of the EHC plan.
Why the new powers?
The new tribunal powers will allow parents and young people a single route of appeal about the education, health and social care elements of an EHC plan. They are part of a two year national trial.
When parents or young people appeal about a refusal to issue an EHC plan, or about the educational needs, provision and educational placement in an EHC plan, the tribunal will also be able to make non - binding recommendations about the health and social care parts of the EHC plan at the same time.
- If the tribunal order a local authority to issue an EHC plan, they can also recommend that health or social care needs are included in the EHC plan when it is drawn up.
- If a health or social care need or provision is not included in an existing EHC plan, the tribunal can recommend that it should be included.
- If health or social care provision is already included in an EHC plan, the tribunal can recommend that the needs or provision is amended.
What this means for parents and young people
Following the tribunal decision, health or social care commissioners will have to respond in detail to the local authority and parents/young people, setting out the steps they are going to take, or giving reasons why they have decided not to follow the tribunal recommendations. They will also have to respond to the evaluators of the trial.
When the results of the two year trial have been evaluated, a decision will be made as to whether the new tribunal process should continue.
These powers apply to local authority decisions made from 3rd April 2018 onwards.
The government has published
guidance about the new tribunal powers.
What do we think?
Contact welcomes the extension of the tribunal powers, which should benefit many children and young people with complex needs.
Although the EHC process remains education-focused, the single route of appeal will enable a child or young person's education health and social care needs to be considered at the same time and in a more holistic way, which should improve their chances of receiving joined up support which meets all their needs.
How we can help
If you have any questions about the tribunals, the national trial, about EHC plans or any other aspect of getting help with your child's education, please contact our helpline on 0808 808 3555 and speak to one of our education team.
To find out more about Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans, and other help in education, visit our education webpages