As you will be aware, the health and social care sector (like others) is working hard to maintain essential services in what are extremely challenging times. Whilst the manner in which many of us work is being adapted in line with current Government and Public Health England guidance, it is recognised that much of the work we undertake can’t simply just stop. So, there is a balance to be had between ensuring, as far as possible, the wellbeing of everyone (especially vulnerable people) and maintaining vital services. I am committed to maintaining as many of the services I provide throughout this period of uncertainty whilst acting responsibly to help ensure the safety of those I work with, vulnerable people and their carers.

To this end, until further notice, the following will apply:

Where possible, I will assess and consult people using non face-to-face methods such as Skype and telephone calls. Sometimes this is not possible and, in those situations, where safe to do so, I will continue with a face-to-face approach. If this is required, current Government guidelines will be followed. Whichever method will be adopted will depend entirely upon the nature and urgency of the work and will be discussed with the instructing party and care providers where applicable.

I wish you a safe and healthy time as we work together over the coming months,

Best Wishes, Gary.

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Tel: 0203 617 1255

SEND (EHCP) Tribunal Reports

Children and young adults with Special Educational Needs (SEN) don’t always thrive and achieve their full potential in mainstream early years provisions, schools and colleges.  However, due to ever tightening local authority budgets, a mainstream college is sometimes all that is offered by Local Authorities.  Whilst mainstream colleges sometimes meet the needs of learners with Special Educational Needs, they don’t for everyone and some people require specialist colleges at a significant cost to the local authority.  Some children with SEN require an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment to determine whether the local authority should make provision for them in accordance with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).  An EHCP is a document that makes special educational provision to meet the SEN of children and young people.  This ensures that the best outcomes are achieved across education, health and social care as they transition into adulthood.

The SEND Tribunal provides a vehicle through which a person or their representative can appeal against the educational provision named in their EHCP or Statement of Special Educational Needs if you live in Wales. 

A national trial began on 3 April 2018 to extend the power of the SEND tribunal and concluded in August 2021. The extended powers mean, as part of a special educational appeal, the SEND tribunal can make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of a person’s EHCP in addition to binding decisions about educational provisions. In July 2021, it was announced by the Department for Education that these extended tribunal powers would remain.

I can be instructed to complete a mental capacity assessment (which is fundamental to the tribunal process and applies to anyone over the age of 16 who might lack capacity to make decisions about the contents of their EHC plan) and a child or adult care needs assessment.  A care assessment will identify exactly what a person’s care needs are and the type of care required to meet them.  My report will set out how the person’s needs relate to section D of their EHCP and the provisions required in sections H1 and H2. My independent social work reports assist judges and panel members when making decisions about a person’s EHCP.

I am an experienced Social Worker in adults and children’s Social Work. This is important because EHCP’s can be maintained until a young person is 25 years old, it can span children’s and adult social care.  I can be instructed by solicitors representing families or directly by families, please contact me if you would like to find out more.

The SEND Code of Practice states that EHC Plans should be, “clear, concise, understandable and accessible to parents, children, young people, providers and practitioners. They should be written so they can be understood by professionals in any local authority”. I adopt the same principles in my reports.  That is why, as well as completing a comprehensive social care report, I will also complete a simple, 1-page summary of my report written to the young person to explain the conclusions I have reached.