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Lancashire County Council (20 012 929)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 20 Jul 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council delayed issuing his son’s Education Health and Care Plan. There is not enough evidence of fault to warrant this.

The complaint

  1. Mr X said the Council took too long to issue an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan for his son.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or may decide not to continue with an investigation if we decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr X and the Council. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code. I also gave Mr X an opportunity to comment on a draft decision.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X’s son is due to begin post-16 education in September 2021. His EHC Plan would need amending. The deadline of issuing EHC Plans for children due to transfer in September 2021 was 31 March 2021. Councils must also issue final EHC Plans within 14 weeks of accepting there is a need to do so. The Council issued the EHC Plan in this case on 18 March 2021.This was also within 14 weeks of its decision on 15 December 2020 that the Plan needed amending. It was not at fault.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate this complaint. There is not enough evidence of fault to warrant investigation.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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