Derbyshire County Council (18 001 908)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 04 Jan 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr X complains the Council failed to carry out a needs assessment when it converted a Statement of Educational Needs to an Education, Health and Care Plan. He says this has led to 18 months of wrong provision for his daughter, Y. However, the matter is outside our jurisdiction as Mr X appealed to a statutory tribunal.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says the Council failed to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment when it converted his daughter, Y’s Statement of Educational Needs to an EHC Plan.

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What I have investigated

  1. I have investigated whether the complaint is within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. I give my reason for not investigating the substantive matter complained of at the end of this statement.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
  2. The First Tier Tribunal (Special Education Needs and Disability) is a tribunal that considers special educational needs.
  3. We can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read Mr X’s complaint and considered the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. I shared a draft of this decision with both parties and invited their comments. I considered those I received.

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What I found

  1. Where a person appeals to the SEND Tribunal against the content of an EHC Plan, we only have jurisdiction to consider those parts of the EHC Plan the Tribunal cannot consider. These are health and social care matters.
  2. The SEND Tribunal papers I have seen concern Mr X’s attempt to appeal against the Council not having commissioned a new educational psychology report. He also said in his complaint to us that Y’s new school had been unable to meet her educational needs. This leads inevitably to the view that the matters concerned are educational.
  3. Mr X says the Council failed in its legal duties and he spent thousands of pounds on expert reports. He says Y’s EHC Plan is inadequate. This does not bring the matter within our jurisdiction.
  4. Any failure by the Council to assess Y’s educational needs is not separable from Mr X’s right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal, which could have considered the effect any such failure had on the Council’s case. We have no jurisdiction to investigate further.

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Final decision

  1. I have discontinued my investigation as the substantive matters are outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

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Parts of the complaint that I did not investigate

  1. I have not investigated the substantive matters complained of as they are outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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