After 1 April 2018 the old law relating to Statements will no longer apply and instead be replaced by the new law in relation to EHC Plans.However, if your child/you still have a Statement, don’t worry. Local authorities must ensure that an EHC needs assessment takes place ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable’ after 1 April. If you/your child still have a Statement then this will continue to be legal until has transitioned to an EHC Plan.
The government has announced a national trial across all local authorities which will expand the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND). This will enable it to make non-binding recommendations (not an order) on the health and social care aspects of EHC Plans alongside the educational aspects. From 3 April 2018, health and social care needs and provision can be considered as part of an appeal when it is against a decision: not to conduct a reassessment; not to issue an EHC Plan; the content of an EHC Plan; not to amend an EHC Plan following a review; to cease to maintain an EHC Plan. Families will now be able to appeal against Sections B, C, D, F, G, H and I of an EHC Plan.
The First-tier Tribunal (SEND) is making changes to appeal procedures this year. For example, local authorities will be sending a paper copy of the tribunal bundles to parents. These will be paginated and include an index. Most importantly, the size of the bundle will be capped; it will continue to contain the core bundle (the appeal, local authority response, the EHC Plan and all appendices listed in Section K), but any additional papers will be limited to 75 – 150 pages each party.