The Department for Education has released a consultation on the statutory timescales for local authorities (LA) to return Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). The new proposals plan to double the length of time that an LA would have to return an amended EHCP and to increase the period of time that paperwork must be issued prior to a meeting. Both of these have the potential to delay the needs of a child or young person being met as if a non-scheduled Annual Review is called, there would be a three week window rather than two needed to issue reports.
This consultation document makes three key proposals for changing aspects of the law relating to the review of EHC plans:
- Proposal 1: An LA would have to prepare and issue its draft proposals over how to amend the plan as soon as practicable following a review meeting and in any event within eight weeks of that meeting.
- Proposal 2: The above would establish a two-stage procedure for what an LA must do following a review meeting, if it decides to propose amendments to a plan. We propose that the duties on the LA at the two stages would be:
- to confirm its intention to amend, which it would need to do within four weeks of the review meeting; and
- to issue its draft proposals for amending a plan, in the period of up to eight weeks from the review meeting.
- Proposal 3: The advice and information to be fed into a review meeting should be circulated at least three weeks in advance of the meeting, rather than the current two. This would mean that such advice and information needed to be gathered at least a week earlier in the process.
The consultation closes on 12th August 2022.
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