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Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (17 008 954)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 26 Apr 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot consider this complaint about missed provision for a child with Special Educational Needs. This is because the complainant exercised her right to appeal against the provision offered by the Council, and the complaint is therefore out of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I refer to here as Ms M, says that her daughter, D, who has an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) missed out on educational provision between June 2016 – January 2017.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal or a government minister or started court action about the matter. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information provided by Ms M and by the Council. I have also sent Ms M an initial view for her comments.

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What I found

  1. D has an EHCP, and in June 2016, in preparation for her transfer to college, the Council named an establishment which it felt would be appropriate for her. Ms M thereby acquired appeal rights. She did not agree with the college named on D’s EHCP, and she appealed to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
  2. Ms M’s appeal was upheld, and D was offered the provision chosen by Ms M, from January 2017.
  3. D did not attend the offered provision between September and December 2016, and Ms M complains that she was effectively denied educational provision because SENDIST later decided it was not appropriate.
  4. The LGSCO cannot consider the complaint, however. This is because case law has established that once appeal rights are acquired, the LGSCO cannot consider the matter, as it is for SENDIST to do so. This includes any consideration of the suitability of the offered provision.

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Final decision

  1. I cannot consider this complaint as it concerns a matter that has been appealed to a Tribunal.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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