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Suffolk County Council (20 010 718)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 18 Feb 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s refusal to arrange medical services as it is not responsible for the issue being raised.

The complaint

  1. Mr J complains the Council told him to arrange health professionals to contribute to his Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) and he does not wish to be the gateway for those involved in his plan to communicate.

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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 where the body complained about is not responsible for the issue being raised. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(1), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

I read the complaint and the Council’s responses. I spoke with Mr J and considered his comments on the draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr J complained to the Council in November 2020 that it told him to arrange assessment or support from health care professionals if he wants them to be a part of his EHCP. He strongly objects to this as he does not want to be the gateway for communication between the Council and health care professionals. Mr J wants the Council to arrange a mental health assessment as part of his EHCP.
  2. The Council said it always includes health advice from professionals when making or reviewing an EHCP, but understands Mr J is not currently receiving health services. It has correctly said the EHCP review is not a route or gateway into new or extra health services and Mr J should contact his Doctor if he needs medical support.
  3. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice, paragraph 9.49, says the Council must seek advice and information from health care professionals with a role in relation to the child or young person’s health.
  4. The Council is not responsible for arranging medical assessments as part of an EHCP. Mr J can arrange this by speaking to a GP or using other NHS services.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate this complaint because the Council is not responsible for arranging medical assessments as part of an EHCP.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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