Sunderland City Council (19 002 865)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 04 Jul 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about a child’s Education, Health and Care Plan. This is because Mrs Q has appealed to a Tribunal.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I have called Mrs Q, complained about Sunderland City Council’s handling of her son’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan). She said it failed to include relevant information in his EHC Plan.

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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. The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone can appeal to a tribunal. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
  3. SEND is a tribunal that considers special educational needs. (The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (‘SEND’))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information Mrs Q provided. I discussed the complaint with her.

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What I found

  1. Mrs Q’s son, C, has special educational needs. He has an EHC Plan. The Council did an annual review and decided to reassess C. It issued an amended EHC Plan in May. Mrs Q has appealed to SEND as she is not happy with it. She said the Council failed to include relevant and up-to-date evidence regarding C’s conditions. This includes an up-to-date report from an Educational Psychologist.
  2. I recognise Mrs Q is very unhappy with the Council’s reassessment of C and his amended EHC Plan. But she has appealed to SEND. So we cannot investigate her complaint for this reason.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because Mrs Q has appealed to a tribunal.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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