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Nottingham City Council (22 002 831)

Category : Education > Special educational needs

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 16 Jun 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about an Education Health and Care Plan processing. It is not possible to assess any injustice to Mr X until the process has finished.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, complains about the Council’s special educational needs team’s handling of his child’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate 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 continue an investigation if we decide there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
  2. We do not start an investigation if we decide the tests set out in our Assessment Code are not met. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), 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.
  4. 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)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by Mr X and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X says the Council has not properly assessed his child’s special education needs. He says there have been delays. He says the reports the Council has used, have not been good enough.
  2. Mr X says he has complained to the Health and Care Professions Council about an educational psychologist’s report. We will not look at the same issue another body is considering.
  3. Mr X says a SEND Tribunal ordered the Council should produce an EHC Plan for his child. The time to provide this report following the SEND Tribunal’s decision has not yet expired. Once it does, if Mr X is not happy with the EHC Plan it is reasonable to expect Mr X to appeal as we cannot direct changes to the sections about education, or name a different school. Only the tribunal can do this.
  4. We will not be able to assess the injustice to Mr X, or his child, from any delays or process failures, until the final EHC Plan is known.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because we are not able to assess the injustice.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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