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Essex County Council (21 017 649)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 06 Apr 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about an Education, Health and Care Plan. This is because we are satisfied with the actions the Council have taken and have proposed to take.

The complaint

  1. Mr y complained the Council had failed to review, amend and finalise his child’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan within the statutory timeframe, despite the annual review of the EHC plan having taken place in November 2021.
  2. Mr Y was concerned as he was unable to potentially challenge the provision, or the school place offered in the EHC plan with the SEND Tribunal without a finalised EHC plan.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we are satisfied with the actions a council has taken or proposes to take. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(7), as amended)
  2. The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) considers appeals against council decisions regarding special educational needs. We refer to it as the SEND Tribunal in this decision statement.

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information Mr Y and the Council provided and the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code. I have also considered our Guidance on Remedies.

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My assessment

  1. Mr Y complained to the Council in February 2022. The Council responded explaining it was in the process of completing a draft EHC plan and would be in touch with the family shortly to provide this. Mr Y then approached us at the start of March.
  2. Since Mr Y approached us, the Council has issued a draft EHC plan, which Mr Y has been able to comment on. Changes to the drafted EHC plan have been agreed between Mr Y and the Council. Mr Y is satisfied with these changes and the school place offered to his child. The Council has proposed finalising the EHC plan within the next five days. Mr Y is satisfied with this as a way to remedy any fault in the Council’s failure to meet the statutory deadline.
  3. As the Council has provided a suitable remedy, similar to that we would likely recommend and has agreed to complete this remedy imminently, we are satisfied with the actions the Council has taken or proposes to take. Consequently, we will not investigate this complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr Y’s complaint because we are satisfied with the actions the Council have taken and have proposed to take.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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