- What are the changes to legislation that may affect children or young people with an EHC plan?
The LA and the Health Commissioning Body had a duty to secure the provision named in a child or young person’s EHC plan. This duty has been temporarily changed from a must duty to a reasonable endeavours duty. This means that the provision may not be provided if the LA or Health Commissioning body are able to show that they have tried to secure it but cannot do so because of reasons relating to the Coronavirus. They may need to offer a temporarily different package of provision.
- How long will this last for?
The Secretary of State has written a notice up to and including 31st July for temporary changes to the provision in EHC plans. This may get extended. There are also changes around timescales that relate to EHC assessments and the processes around EHC plans (for example, annual review meetings). These changes are up to and including 25th September 2020.
- How will the child or young person and their parent carers be involved?
Children, young people and their parent carers need to be fully involved in the discussions around the temporary changes to their EHC plan provision. They must be kept fully informed about what can be secured for them. What can be secured will vary according to the individual needs of the child or young person and what is currently available in the local area (this may be subject to local staffing levels, the availability of equipment and be dependent upon risk assessments). The school SENCO will contact families to agree a review date to start this collaborative process. Families can ask for support around these meetings from Trafford SENDIASS or Trafford Parent Carer Forum.
- What changes can we expect?
Any changes are not fixed – what is not available one week may be available after a period of time. Clear communication between child/young person/ parent carer and the school/LA/Health Commissioning body should happen. Changes to provision should be reviewed – a timescale for this should be agreed at the review meeting to discuss the temporary changes. Examples of how the temporary changes may affect provision:
- What- different provision may be secured/offered.
- Where- the location of provision may change e.g.in a school, clinic, and community setting.
- How- frequency and timing of provision may change.
- When- Method of delivery may change, for example, virtual (via a laptop, tablets etc) instead of face to face.
- By whom – changes to the person delivering the provision, for example, a teaching assistant instead of a specialist teacher.
If you have any queries or concerns families should contact school in the first instance. Families can ask for support from Trafford SENDIASS, Trafford Parent Carer Forum or the LA with difficulties or disputes.