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The Education Heath and Care (EHC) needs assessment process

The EHC needs assessment process takes up to 20 weeks from start to finish. This process starts as soon as the Local Authority (LA) has recieved a request for an EHC needs assessment from:

  • the parent of a child or young person under the age of 16 (or an advocate on their behalf); 
  • a young person aged between 16 and 25 (or an advocate on their behalf);
  • a person acting on behalf of an education setting: school; early years setting or post-16 institution (where possible, this should be with the knowledge and agreement of the child’s parent or young person). Please see an exemplar of a school request in the downloadable documents on the righ hand side of this webpage.

Or, when anyone else (e.g. foster carer, health and social care practitioner, those responsible for education in custody *, school or college staff), has brought a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority.

* Children and young people under 19 (between the ages of 10-18) in youth custodial establishments also have the right to request an assessment for an EHC plan.

Regardless of who makes the request both:

  • educational providers (pre-school, school, college etc.); and  
  • parents/carers/young people,

will be requested to submit their views and evidence in advance of that information being presented to the SEND Panel and a decision being made on whether or not the LA feels it is necessary to contine to undertake a full EHC needs assessment.

The SEND Panel is a consultative moderation group. In the majority of cases, this Panel used to give considered recommendations to the LA officer responsible for making the final decision. The SEND panel meet fortnightly (term time only). It is chaired by the SEN LA officer responsible for making the decision and consists of representatives from Educational Psychology, Advisory Teaching, SENCO’s, health and social care.

The Local Authority must make a decision and communicate that decision to the child’s parent and/or young person and the educational provider within 6 weeks of receiving the request.

If the LA decide that it is not necassary to undertake a full EHC needs assessment and parents or the young person disagree with that decision, they have a right of appeal to the SEND tribunal.

If the Local Authority decides to undertake an EHC needs assessment they will allocate a SEN Casework Officer, who will be responsible for collecting all of the relevant information from education, health and care professionals.

Please see an exemplar of a advice recieved in the downloadable documents on the righ hand side of this webpage.

When all of the information has been gathered, detailing the child /young persons aspirations, needs and the level of support (provision) required to meet the identified learning goals (outcomes), the LA will decide whether or not it is necessary for them to issue an EHC plan.

When the Local Authority (LA) agrees to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment and the aseessment leads to an EHC plan being issued, the LA will keep in contact with parents throughout the process as shown in the diagram below.

Within 16 weeks of the LA receiving a request for an EHC needs assessment, providing the LA felt it was necessary to continue to undertake a full EHC needs assessment, the LA will issue:

  • an EHC needs assessment outcome, if the support required can be met at SEN support without the need for an EHC plan
  • a draft EHC plan

If the LA decide that it is not necessary to issue an EHC needs plan and parents or the young person disagree with that decision, they have a right of appeal to the SEND tribunal.

Upon receiving a draft EHC plan parents/young people have 15 days to agree with the draft or talk to the LA about possible alterations and to choose the school they would like to be named on the final EHC plan.

The Local Authority then has to consult with the parent or young persons choice of school before they decide whether ornot they can name that school on the final EHC plan.

If a parent/young person disagrees with the contents of the final EHC plan issued, they have a right of appeal to the SEND tribunal.