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Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (21 018 519)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 07 Apr 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint that the Council failed to complete a reassessment of Mr X’s special educational needs. That is because Mr X currently has an appeal with the Tribunal about the provision specified in his Education Health and Care plan which places the matter outside our jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. Mrs Y complained on behalf of Mr X. She said the Council failed to reassess Mr X’s special education needs before he transitioned to post-16 education. She said because of that his Education Health and Care plan did not meet his needs and his educational placement failed. She said she had had to fund private specialist assessments. She wants the Council to reimburse the costs of the private assessments.

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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 if someone has appealed to a tribunal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
  3. 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 provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X is a young adult with an EHC plan. He was previously a looked after child. The Council completed an EHC plan review in 2021. Mr X attended that review with his foster carer. The Council issued a final EHC plan in July 2021.
  2. Mrs Y submitted a late appeal to the SEND Tribunal about the provision and educational placement specified in Mr X’s EHC plan in October 2021. She subsequently complained to the Council about its failure to reassess Mr X before it reviewed his EHC plan.
  3. We cannot investigate the same matters the Tribunal is considering. The Council’s decision not to reassess Mr X’s special education needs is directly linked to the content of his EHC plan. That EHC plan is currently subject to appeal through the SEND Tribunal. That is the appropriate way to challenge the contents of an EHC plan. Therefore, we will not investigate this complaint.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because the matter is being considered by Tribunal and is outside our jurisdiction.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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