Review to strengthen redress for new SEN system

The Government recently announced a review into the redress and complaints arrangements for Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans, part of the sweeping reforms to the English Special Educational Needs (SEN) system being introduced by the Children and Families Bill.

The Children and Families Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent in the spring and the new system will start in September 2014.

The National Autsistic Society (NAS) has been campaigning for a single point of appeal for Education, Health and Care Plans since the Bill was first introduced to Parliament last year. Over 15,000 people have signed the NAS petition calling for the SEND Tribunal to hear appeals on the social care and health elements of EHC Plans.

When the new system comes in to force parents and young people could face three separate redress processes simultaneously for the three different elements of their plan. Critically they will only have a direct right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal over Special Educational Provision. This means families will have less robust remedies for complaints over health and social care provision than those available for education.

The review will look at the complaints and redress arrangements for those with education, health and care needs, and will include pilots to test the Tribunal making recommendations about health and social care. While further details are still be confirmed the review will report back to Parliament within three years of the Children and Families Act coming into force in September 2014.