You and your family can appeal to the SEND Tribunal if the local authority decides:
- not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
- not to draw up an EHC plan, once they have done an assessment
- not to amend (change) an EHC plan after the annual review or re-assessment
- to cease to maintain (stop) an EHC plan
You and your family can also appeal if you disagree with what the local authority includes in an EHC plan. This can include:
- the description of special educational, health or social care needs in sections B, C and D of the EHC plan
- the description of the special educational, health or social care provision set out in sections F, G and H1/H2 of the EHC plan
- the school or other setting named in section I of the EHC Plan
- any changes to these sections that have been made without your agreement
You cannot appeal against sections A (views, wishes and aspirations), E (outcomes) and J (personal budgets and direct payments) of an EHC plan.
In April 2018, a national trial extended the powers of the SEND Tribunal to hear appeals about the health and social care sections of EHC plans. Previously, the tribunal would only look at the education sections of an EHC plan; disputes about health and social care had to be resolved through separate complaints processes.
The SEND Tribunal can now make “non-binding” recommendations about health and social care provision in EHC plans (unlike decisions in relation to special educational provision, which are binding). Although the recommendations are not compulsory, the local authority and healthcare commissioners are generally expected to follow them. You can only appeal against the health and social care aspects of an EHC plan if you also appeal against the educational aspects.