0-25 Together Service

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter addresses some of the processes that are specific to disabled children / young people.

It should therefore be read in conjunction with other relevant procedures within Part 3 of this manual, Children in Need and Safeguarding and Part 3 of this manual, Children Looked After and Care Leavers.

Please also see the separate chapters concerning Direct Payments for Disabled Children Procedure and Short Breaks Procedure and Transition Pathways for Disabled Children Procedure.

This chapter should also be read in conjunction with SEN and Disability (SEND) 0-25 Local Offer.

For over 18's see also: HSAB Safeguarding Adults at Risk.

For general information about Adult Social Care, see HCC Adult Social Services Page.

AMENDMENT

Section 8, Resolving Disagreements was added in September 2022 to include information from the First Tier Tribunal’s extended powers to hear appeals and make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, provided those appeals also include education elements.

1. Definition of Disability and Eligibility for 0-25 Services

The definition of a 'child in need' under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 is as follows:

  1. They are unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority under this Part III of the Children Act 1989;
  2. Their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services; or
  3. They are disabled.

A child is disabled for the purposes of Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorders of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed:

  • "Development" - means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development; and
  • "Health" - means physical or mental health.

Young Adults – Aged 18 – 25

In addition, for young adults (those 18 – 25), The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014 introduces a national eligibility threshold, which consists of three criteria, all of which must be met for a person's needs to be eligible.

The eligibility threshold is based on identifying:

  • Whether a person's needs are due to a physical or mental impairment or illness;
  • The extent a person's needs affect their ability to achieve two or more specified outcomes; and
  • Whether and to what extent this significantly impacts on their wellbeing.

Note: Provision for this age group are made under the Care Act 2014.

Understanding Your Needs

Hertfordshire has a Short Break Local Offer (SBLO) for Disabled Children which provides targeted early help to support families and young people.

If the SBLO is not suitable or not sufficient for the families presenting needs, then further help is available from 0-25 Together Services.

Our first response is to provide telephone support and advice. We hold a family conversation to understand needs and circumstances, things that are working well as well as identifying needs that remain unmet. This conversation seeks to explore whether provision under the SBLO would assist and identify solutions that are available from universal and targeted services. This might include:

  • An Early Help Assessment sometimes referred to as Family First;
  • A short break assessment which is simplified assessment route that only looks at short breaks and related issues;
  • A child and family assessment that is completed by a social worker.

We use a published Social Care Criteria - Deciding if the 0-25 Together Service Can Help You to support the process and identify where universal, targeted or specialist services or a more detailed assessment, known as a Child and Family Assessment completed by a Social Worker would be suitable.

Following a Child and Family Assessment we may or may not agree that a plan of support is needed. The decision about whether a child requires personalised care and support services within Hertfordshire is based on a consideration of the impact of the child/young person's needs arising from their disability. Again, the Social Care Criteria - Deciding if the 0-25 Together Service Can Help You, guide gives an indication of the sorts of areas of needs where we are able to offer more helps.

Click here for LCS Guidance.

2. Principles and Key Worker Allocation for Disabled Children/Young People and their Siblings

For Adult Social Care Safeguarding Procedures, see HSAB Safeguarding Adults at Risk.

See also 0-25 Together Referral Process.

Children/young people with significant disabilities might receive personalised resources to ensure that appropriate support is in place to meet their often complex and multiple needs. The 0-25 Together Service routinely manage risks relating to impairment and disability alongside family support and sometimes safeguarding concerns. Where children/young people are assessed as eligible for support by the 0-25 Together Service, they will also receive a holistic assessment of risks they face through daily living, including risks they may be exposed to through the support services that they use.

Children/young people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect, as symptoms of abuse may be inappropriately attributed to the child/young person's impairment. Research tells us that there is sometimes more reluctance to believe a disabled child/young person is at risk of abuse; assumptions can be made that the child/young person may not be a credible witness; behaviour and symptoms related to impairment can be similar to those following abuse; and there can be a reluctance to challenge carers. It can also be more difficult for the child/young person to disclose abuse and it can be difficult to identify a perpetrator of abuse where a child/young person is receiving care from many carers. Practitioners must continually strive to achieve effective and meaningful communication to ascertain the wishes and feelings of disabled children/young people.

It is important to ensure that assessments completed with children/young people with disabilities are completed with one Key-Worker for the whole family, including where there are siblings without disabilities. This will ensure:

  • Least disruption for the family;
  • Multi-agency partners have one contact with the Local Authority;
  • A central point for information gathering overall;
  • One line of management oversight and direction;
  • A single action plan for the child and their family.

Customer Services and the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (M.A.S.H) need to ensure they have checked LCS and IES thoroughly in relation to addresses and relationships to ensure that any new referrals are sent to the appropriate team, particularly looking out for siblings of an identified child/young person within a referral who may be open to 0-25 Together Service.

2.1 Safeguarding Pathway Responsibilities for Children/Young People with Disabilities

Safeguarding for children/young people with disabilities can be provided by the 0-25 Together Service or the Family Safeguarding and Assessment Teams. The table below details the pathways for both services.

Disabled Children Family Safeguarding and Assessment Teams
Child/young person already open to 0-25 Together Service and information of a Safeguarding nature is received regarding that child. Any siblings must be opened to 0-25 Together Service and all children/young people assessed by 0-25 Together Service. Family not open to CS. Referral received regarding sibling group, one of whom has a disability. Concern is regarding all children in the family. 0-25 Together Service will provide consultation about the impact of disability, and possible available support services, as required.
Child/young person is already open to Children's Services (CS) and information of a Safeguarding nature is received for a sibling of that child/young person. Sibling/s must be opened to 0-25 Together Service and assessed by 0-25 Together Service.  

2.2 Children Act 1989 and Chronically Sick and Disabled Act (CSDPA) 1970

Children/young people with disabilities are assessed under the CA 1989. If following social care assessment a child/young person's needs do not extend beyond the local authority care and support in and around the family home, the service provision will be dealt with under the CSDPA 1970.

The CSDPA 1970 forms the basis for the provision by local authorities of practical assistance and a range of services including equipment, adaptations and homecare to eligible disabled people.

All work with disabled children/young people and their families in the context of the Children Act should be based in the following principles;

  • The welfare of the child/young person should be safeguarded and promoted by the provision of services;
  • A primary aim is to promote access for all children/young people to the same range of services;
  • Children/young people with a disability are regarded as children first;
  • Recognition of the importance of the parent(s) and families in children/young people's lives;
  • Partnership between parents/carers, the local authority and other agencies.

Services to children with a disability may be provided via s2 CSDPA 1970 or the S17 Children Act or both.

3. Referrals and Assessments

The 0-25 Together Service has a robust system for managing a high volume of activity. This specialist service provides a range of statutory social care to meet the needs of Disabled Children within their families. The 0-25 Together Service also allocates personalised resources to disabled children and young people and parent/carers in order to provide short breaks.

If a parent/carer requests an assessment the local authority must undertake one as it has a duty under S17 of the Children Act. The assessment must identify what support/services the child/ young person and family need. Assessments must be proportionate to the level of presenting need and consider the outcome that the parent/carer is seeking as well as wellbeing and safeguarding issues impacting the child and the family.

A referral for assessment should be made to the 0-25 Central Team only when it has been identified that the impact of the child's/young person's impairment is too great to be met by universal and targeted services and the child/young person may be "in need" (i.e. disabled).

Disabled children/young people should be assessed via Child and Family Assessments using the Framework for Assessment of Children in Need (see Criteria and Threshold Guidance - Meeting the Needs of Children and Families).

The assessment should be multi-agency it should include consideration of health, social care and educational needs. The assessment framework of need has to result in a plan of action. This is set out in a plan. Additionally, their parents and carers are entitled to a carer's assessment.

3.1 Short Break Assessment

A short break assessment is an early help assessment. Primarily the focus of this intervention is to provide the family with information, advice, and support to meet their needs. Skilled facilitation by the practitioner will support the delivery of specialist advice and guidance and will provide Community Navigation to support access to suitable local resources.

The Short Beak Assessment will include;

  • Professional Involvements – an up to date list of professionals known to be supporting the family network;
  • Needs of Child/Young Person – to include an overview of health, education and social functioning, areas of strengths and areas of need;
  • Needs of Parents/Carers/Family – these will include health and wellbeing, living arrangements, financial needs, work and social supports; areas of strength as well as areas of need;
  • Services Currently Accessed by Young Person – this is about social life, school clubs, social groups, leisure activities and family networks as well as funded support services;
  • Planned Outcomes – Views of the Child/Young Person must be obtained using creative means;
  • Views of Parents /Carers – what do the parent, carer and family hope to see change in their lives as a result of this assessment; what are their hopes and fears for the future;
  • Information Sharing Consent – See Information Sharing and Consent Procedure.

Any assessment must also check that the parents/carers are aware of benefits (e.g. Disability Living Allowance for Children, Disability Living Allowance (over 16), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (Over 16) that they may be able to claim in respect of the extra demands entailed in caring for a disabled child. Additional advice is available from the Money Advice Unit.

3.2 Child and Family Assessment

This section should be read in conjunction with the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual, Contacts and Referrals Procedure.

When a team receives a referral for assessment from Customer Services, the responsibility for responding to the referral will remain with that team unless a negotiation takes place and a manager in another team agrees to accept the referral and takes over responsibility for undertaking the Child and Family Assessment

Referrals about disabled children/young people within the terms of the HCC definition (see Section 1, Definition of Disability and Eligibility for 0-25 Services) will normally be passed to the appropriate 0-25 Together Team.

In referrals where the primary concerns are not specific to a disabled child/young person, these referrals will go to the Assessment Teams in the usual way. Where there is a need for specialist advice or input relating to the disabled children/young people, liaison with the 0-25 Together Service should take place.

In considering children/young people who are or who may be eligible for a Specialist Service as a disabled child/young person, the following factors are relevant:

  • What is the primary reason for the referral, e.g. is it a child protection referral re concerns for the safety of all the children/young people in the family, of which one has a disability? Does the disabled child/young person have needs which require assessment beyond the risk assessment required in response to the referral?
  • Does the disability of the child/young person fall into the HCC definition of a disabled child/young person above;
  • How does the child's/young person's disability affect her/his ability to function in everyday life?
  • Are there other children/young people in the family? Are they included in the reason for the referral? Are they also disabled?
  • What is the consequence of the child's/young person disability for the family and the parents' ability to care for her/him and siblings?

The decision about whether a child/young person is disabled within Hertfordshire's agreed definition is always based on a consideration of the impact of the child's/young person's condition on their needs when compared to other children/young people of the same age, and not purely on the basis of whether the child/young person has or does not have a particular diagnosis. The impact of the child's/young person's condition which is likely to be life long, would be that the disability significantly restricts the child's/young person's daily life leading to poorer outcomes for him/her and their family if services were not provided.

Once an assessment is completed the law does not require that a service be provided in every case. The provision of service is determined by the assessed need(s).

In line with the Children Act 1989, Section 17 states:

Before determining what (if any) services to provide for a particular child/young person in need the local authority shall:

  • Ascertain the child's/young person's wishes and feelings regarding the provision of those services; and
  • Give due consideration (having regard to his/her age and understanding) to such wishes and feelings of the child/young person as they have been able to ascertain; and
  • Any service provided by an authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them (as per Section 17) may be provided for the family of a particular child/young person in need or for any member of his/her family, if it is provided with a view to safeguarding or promoting the child's/young person's welfare;
  • Before giving any assistance or imposing any conditions, a local authority shall have regard to the means of the child/young person concerned and of each of his parents;
  • Ascertain the child's/young person's wishes and feelings regarding the provision of those services; and
  • Give due consideration (having regard to his/her age and understanding) to such wishes and feelings of the child/young person as they have been able to ascertain; and
  • Any service provided by an authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them (as per Section 17) may be provided for the family of a particular child/young person in need or for any member of his/her family, if it is provided with a view to safeguarding or promoting the child's/young person's welfare;
  • Before giving any assistance or imposing any conditions, a local authority shall have regard to the means of the child/young person concerned and of each of his parents.
Any assessment must also check that the parents/carers are aware of benefits (e.g. Disability Living Allowance for Children, Disability Living Allowance (over 16), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (Over 16)) that they may be able to claim in respect of the extra demands entailed in caring for a disabled child. Additional advice is available from the Money Advice Unit.

The Children and Families Act 2014 also stipulates that young carers (under the age of 18) must be assessed to determine the appropriateness of their role and in accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children they should be identified as early as possible to ensure their needs are met and they are safeguarded against any potential risk of harm. For further information, please refer to the Young Carers Procedure and Carer's Assessment Procedure.

3.3 Outcomes of Assessments

General Principles

Under s17(11) Children Act 1989 that a disabled child is a "child in need".

For children/young people who are not able to verbally communicate their views, the social worker should ensure that observations of the child/young person are made in their placement and also in other settings, for example, school. Information and opinion (evidence based) should also be gathered from other professionals about their presentation. An advocate may be required. An assessment of needs can lead to a number of different personalised plans, they are:

  1. No Plan;
  2. Short Breaks Review Plan / Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (CSDPA);
  3. Child in Need Plan s17(10)(c) (Disability Only);
  4. Child in Need Plan s17(10)(b) (Disability and Family Support);
  5. Child Protection Plan;
  6. Child Looked After Plan.

i. No Plan

Upon completion of the Child and Family Assessment where the family does not reach the threshold for personalised services, they will be signposted to other relevant statutory and voluntary agencies for support and/or information (Universal and Targeted Services). A carer's assessment must be considered / offered and should typically be incorporated within the Child and Family Assessment process. A note to this effect must be documented on the child/young person's file.

Families need access to local resources: Hertfordshire Directory of Local Offer Services.

Families need good information about short breaks: SEND Short Breaks Booklet.

Families need to know how we take decisions about them and their needs: Short Breaks Local Offer - Eligibility and Access to Short Breaks.

ii. Short Breaks Review Plan / Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (CSDPA)

Short Break Review Plans are for children/young people with often complex needs that can't be met by universal or targeted services, such as 'short break local offer'. These children or young people need a personalised care plan that can be guided, day to day, by their parent / carer. They do not need a regular social work service.

These children/young people will receive ongoing services that usually occur in or around the family home and are defined within s2, Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (1970). Typically these might be:

  • The provision of practical assistance for a disabled child/young person in his/her home (Homecare services);
  • The provision for a disabled child/young person of leisure, games, outings or other recreational facilities outside his/her home or assistance to that person in taking advantage of local facilities available to him/her;
  • The provision of assistance for a disabled child/young person in arranging for the carrying out of any works of adaptation in his/her home or the provision of any additional facilities designed to secure his/her greater safety, comfort or convenience.

When the Social Worker concludes their Assessment of Need and has defined outcomes and services, they then decide if a 'Short Break Review Plan' can be issued. Where such a plan can be issued, the case can then be considered for 'Step Down', where the following criteria are met:

  • C & F Assessment has been completed;
  • CIN / Short Break Review is within one year and child was seen or school consulted;
  • Overnight care arranged by HCC taking place in family home;
  • The risk assessment checklist is up to date and confirms no or low risk.

Reviewing Need:

These cases will be reviewed by the Short Break Review Team as part of the review of the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process. Reviews will be undertaken no less than annually. We will aim to develop a range of review methods that will include self-assessment and telephone, importantly protective factors surrounding the child must be considered and reviews proportionate to circumstances. Any significant changes to needs or circumstances will be managed by the 0-25 Together Service.

iii. Child in Need Plan s17(10)(c) (Disability Only)

Some children/young people, because they have complex disability related needs, require services that go beyond the scope of a "Short Break Review Plan". The Child in Need Plan should be in writing and set out clearly all the outcomes to be achieved as well as the services that are to be provided to meet the child's needs. These plans will need regular oversight and the level of which will be decided at each review or when a significant change occurs in circumstances. This can be provided by a Family / Preparing for Adulthood Practitioner and/or a Social Worker from the 0-25 Locality Team. The plan will also set out expectations of the child, parents, carers and other agencies. See Box 1 for illustration of likely presenting circumstances at this level:

BOX 1

The child:

  • Complex and multiple needs, unstable periods of health with the need for multi-agency response;
  • Requires ongoing services away from the family home (overnight short breaks);
  • Some disturbance to child/young person and parent carer's sleep due to impact of child/young person's disability;
  • Child/young person shows signs of distress in one or more settings on a regular basis;
  • Child/young person's behaviour presents a significant risk to self and/or others; and requires some additional monitoring, supervision and /or behavioural management to be safe;
  • Child/young person's physical or learning disabilities impact on their daily living where they are at significant risk of social exclusion, harm abuse or exploitation;
  • Child/young person is unable to access any Community Short Break Extra Activities without additional support;
  • Child/young person has limited ability to understand and express their views, wishes and feelings at a time when important decisions about their welfare are required.

The parent carer:

  • Parent carer has significant health concerns;
  • Accommodation which, despite adjustments, does not meet some of the needs of the disabled child/young person;
  • Limited support networks and /or limited access to local community and universal services;
  • Relationship difficulties within the family that negatively impact on the disabled child and the family as a whole;
  • Parent carer has limited understanding of the impact of their child/young person's disability.

The siblings:

  • Siblings have emerging support needs of their own e.g. social isolation and attention seeking behaviour;
  • Siblings are providing a level of care; which makes them young carers.

Many families with disabled children/young people receive a range of services to meet their child's/young person's needs. Wherever possible there should be a single plan which includes the full range of family support services on a multi-agency basis. The plan will show outcomes, including how the short break will meet the needs of the child/young people and family identified in the assessment.

Reviewing Need:

These cases will be reviewed by a named Social Worker or most likely a Family/ Preparing for Adulthood Practitioner. Any significant changes to needs or circumstances will be managed within the Locality Teams with cases transferring to Social Workers wherever required.

These plans may be reviewed on a 6 monthly basis, however the frequency of review will be determined at the initial planning and review stages and should be proportionate to risk and needs.

In certain circumstances it may be appropriate for intermittent telephone reviewing to take place where no significant risks or needs are identified by the partners who work with the child/young person on a daily basis.

iv. Child in Need Plan s17(10)(b) (Disability and Family Support)

Some 'Children and Need' are such because whilst they may have a range of personalised needs because they are disabled or have a diagnosed health issue, they also need support because their parent / carer is not able to create the environment or a parenting style that is appropriate to meeting their needs. These children/young people will have an allocated Social Worker.

BOX 2

The child/young person:

  • Child/Young Person has a poor level of attendance at school and/or is at risk of exclusion. Child/Young Person is not achieving to their potential;
  • Child/Young Person has limited ability to understand and express their views, wishes and feelings at a time when important decisions about their welfare are required.

The parent carer:

  • Parental stress affecting the day to day lives and may impact on the child/young person and wider family's well being;
  • Issues such as domestic abuse, mental ill health, alcohol or substance misuse are present.

In accordance with Part 3 of this manual, all children/young people who are worked with as Children in Need under s17 (CA '89) will be visited with a minimum frequency of 6 weekly.

Reviewing Need:

These cases will be reviewed by the allocated social worker. Where the assessed need of the child and family are addressed or the level of need reduces the status of the case will likely change to CIN Plan (Disability only).

v. Child Protection Plan

See Part 3 of this manual, Children in Need and Safeguarding and also the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Partnership Procedures, Children with a Disability and Child Abuse.

vi. Child Looked After Plan

There may be instances where a child may become looked after. All of the procedures and processes relating to children who are looked after (see Part 5 of this manual, Children Looked After and Care Leavers).

3.3 Adult Social Care Reviews

Everyone who is open to a worker or open and receiving a service must have regular reviews. Reviews must be person centred and outcome focused. The review is an essential part of the review process. The first review should take place within 6 weeks as a review of the Care and Support Plan. Thereafter, reviews must be scheduled at least annually, or more often as is necessary.

There are 3 types of review: planned reviews, unplanned reviews, and those reviews which have been requested by the person/carer. The review should be focussed on care that is responsive and proportionate to the need.

Reviews can take place as a telephone review, face to face review or multi-agency review depending on the needs of the service user.

The purpose of a review is to:

  • Review progress in using a personal budget to achieve the outcomes in the Care and Support Plan. Identify any further steps to achieve these goals. Clarify if the person's support needs have changed and whether a more detailed reassessment is needed;
  • Check if the person is still eligible for social care;
  • Update the care and support plan;
  • When arranging the review the worker should make this person centred and seek the views of the person as to where and when they would like their review to happen;
  • If the person has eligible needs which have changed then the Review form should be used to assess the new eligible needs.

Other Considerations

Statutory guidance (Care Act (2014), para 13.16) states that there should be a range of review options including telephone and face to face meetings. The type of review required is likely to relate to the reasons why the review should take place.

Reviewing the Needs of People in a Care Home Placement

For people in long and short term Care Home placements and Nursing Homes refer to HCS 673 Arranging & Reviewing Care Home Placements for full details of how to prepare for and carry out reviews in these settings.

4. 0-25 Resource Allocation / Panel Meeting

Resource Allocation and Panel Meetings are the mechanisms in which decision are made with regards to allocation of resources.

4.1 Funding Decisions

This section covers requests for a care package for children and adults from 0-25 to ensure, needs are met and resources are allocated appropriately and matched against eligibility criteria

0-25 Together Senior Managers will make resource allocation decisions in cases that do not require presentation at HARP or MAP. See Hertfordshire Access to Resource Panel (H.A.R.P) or Multi Agency Panel (MAP) and Delegated Authority for Resource Agreement

0-25 Funding decisions will be made by Head of Service and Service Managers. These Practice Leaders will take decisions independently within the boundaries set by the SODA.

4.1.1 Future Planning Meeting

Future Planning Meetings will take place to support planning for cases requiring long term accommodation, where needs are complex or services required are high cost. Practice Leaders will collaborate and seek advice from other colleagues or agencies as required. Attendees at the Future Planning Meeting will include representation from:

  • 0-25 Together Practice Leadership;
  • Community Solutions Team;
  • Finance Representative.

This meeting will be scheduled monthly.

The meeting will support management of resources allocated to disabled young adults and their families.

Decision makers will seek to ensure quality standards are adhered to in file and case management, including:

Outcomes First

When considering how outcomes might be met, it is of critical importance that consideration is first given to how universal services and community resources might be used by the citizen. Outcomes need to support children, young people and young adults to participate in their local community and develop skills in independent living at an age appropriate level. Connected Lives comes first.

All planning should be developed with the cooperation of the Community Solutions and/or the Brokerage Service Provision Team who will provide advice about service solutions that are appropriate, value for money and responsive to identified needs.

Assessment will help you understand a family's strengths and their presenting problems. All assessment in 0-25 Together should start with the principle of maximising strengths and utilisation of community resources. Three conversations need to take place as you begin to plan a response to needs and outcomes identified.

CONNECT AND PREVENT

A one-off intervention to promote independence and prevent long term dependency on services.

 

CONNECT AND ENABLE

A time limited intervention to promote independence and prevent long term dependency on services.

 

CONNECT AND SUPPORT

A plan to meet needs in the longer term, the plans will only be amended following a formal review.

Quality Support

Maintaining excellence in the delivery of social care supports is essential. We will all take care when reviewing submissions to promote best practice that supports service improvement and casework audit.

Practitioners submitting cases for funding requests must take responsibility for file cleansing prior to ANY case submission.

A number of basic compliance checks will be made prior to all submissions by the Team Manager or Advanced Practitioner /Consultant Social Worker.

  1. There will be a timely assessment or review, no less than one year prior to planning;
  2. Risks will be documented within an up to date Risk Assessment;
  3. Description of Language, Ethnicity and Disability will be recorded on case file;
  4. Involvements and Primary Carer details will be up to date;
  5. There will be a completed Financial Assessment wherever required;
  6. Carer's Assessments as required;
  7. Capacity Assessments and Best Interest Decisions as required;
  8. Application for DOLS as required.

Social Workers, PFA and Family Practitioners will be responsible for collating evidence in order to justify allocation of ALL resources, this will usually be undertaken during Assessments and / or Review Meetings.

Evidence will be gathered and will be used to populate a formal funding request which will demonstrate the social work analysis that has been undertaken in the course of your work.

Caption: funding request table
   
Preparing a Funding Request Following the completion of an Assessment or Review

Children and Young People (Under 18)

An SRF will be completed in LCS

Needs of the child

  • The allocated practitioner will produce an analysis of the relevant issues. Keep short and succinct;
  • Be clear about health, education and care needs. Be clear about diagnosis;
  • Talk about the CYP and less about the adults. Provide a clear picture of the child's needs, day to day life and evidence what level of support the child is already receiving from universal services;
  • Describe what impact the additional support will have on the child's wellbeing.

Needs of Parents/Carers/Family

  • Describe the extended family and friends' network, support from the community/voluntary orgs, benefit any, local church groups (if applicable);
  • Provide a clear view of how well you have explored the community resources. Be specific and talk about strengths and inclusive activities;
  • Be inquisitive enough to establish the role of the fathers;
  • We would expect to see what effort you made in mediating or facilitating better communication between carers and extended family and friends. Every little help received from a family member should be encouraged above any other external support.

Planned Outcomes

  • Describe what impact the additional support will have on the citizens wellbeing.

Resource Package Requested

  • How many hours per week, per month and per year if that is the case;
  • Do not confuse the reader by mixing the current plan with the additional request.

What are the child/young person's views?

  • Explain how you have ascertained the child's wishes and feelings. Again, be specific and relevant to the child you are working with. We are not interested in general stuff: …….is a sociable girl and enjoys interaction with other children and adults. She likes music and dancing and has previously expressed a wish to attend such activities.".  You could say something like: (Having observed …… at home, school or in the community, having witnessed the child/carer interaction, or having used …… to establish ….. wishes and feelings, I can confidently say that ……… likes, wants, will benefit from, would enjoy a better day to day life experience. Etc)

Current Services Being Received

  • In this section you will explain what we have previously offered as well as the current package.
  • How many hours per week, per months and per year if that is the case. TOTAL

Reasons for request: New Request /Change in Need/In Principle Decision. Describe:

  • The allocated practitioner will produce an analysis of the relevant issues.  Keep short and succinct;
  • Be clear about health, education and care needs.  Be clear about diagnosis;
  • Talk about the young person and less about the adults. Provide a clear picture of the young person's needs, day to day life and evidence what level of support the young person is already receiving from universal services.

Planned Outcomes by Provision of this Request

  • Describe what impact the additional support will have on the citizens wellbeing.

Community Resources Explored to Meet Need

  • Describe the extended family and friends' network, support from the community/voluntary orgs, benefit any, local church groups (if applicable).
  • Provide a clear view of how well you have explored the community resources. Be specific and talk about strengths and inclusive activities

Current Support Plan

  • In this section you will what has been tried before as well as the current care plan
  • How many hours per week, per month and per year if that is the case. TOTAL

Requested Support Plan

  • How many hours per week, per month and per year if that is the case.
  • Do not confuse the reader by mixing the current plan with the additional request. 

CHC Funding / Other Resources to Meet Need

You must consider CHC for all requests as well as any previous. Admissions to psychiatric care that might entitle the young person to provision of MHA s117 aftercare

ACS8B, Care Payments, Any Debt or Financial Issues

A financial assessment must be in place prior to any submission of care and support. You will casenote that charging has been discussed and will not commence a care plan without receiving a completed ACS8B.

Capacity and BI if Applicable and Date Completed

Consider the MCA and DOLS in all care planning and describe that these considerations have been made in the process of planning

Last Assessment Completed

Enter the date of your last assessment or review and within expected timescales

Process for Submission after you have written your analysis – The Connected Conversation

Requests for funding need to all be discussed with Team Managers and will not be considered by Service Managers or Head of Service without a case note that endorses the request.

Managers must ensure that the request has considered:

  1. Assessment / Review within 6 months;
  2. ACS8B completed and on file;
  3. Strengths of CYP are harnessed and incorporated into analysis;
  4. Assessed Needs and identified risks;
  5. Needs of Carers and Impact of Decision upon Carers;
  6. Capacity to consent to support plan / Dols;
  7. CHC / S117.

The Supervision case note must confirm the assessment activity that has taken place, the alternatives that have been considered and the suggested timeline for the plan to be reviewed.

PACKAGES THAT REQUIRE SHARED THINKING AND SHARED DECISION TAKING (HIGH RISK, HIGH COST)

A connected conversation will be needed for all cases requiring long term accommodation or where services required are high cost

0-25 Future Planning Meetings will support decision taking;

Attendees at the Future Planning Meeting will include representation from:

0-25 Together Practice Leadership
Community Solutions Team
Finance Representative

This meeting will be scheduled in 3rd week of each month Tuesday afternoons

All cases must be presented for future planning prior to the start of support plans. The meeting will consider the budget for future support plans and outline all options for support to be considered.

Once a budget has been agreed this must not be exceeded without authorisation from Head of Service or Service manager with a clear rationale for the reasons for this.

Future planning decision will be recorded in ACSIS case notes and will support the future planning process.
Transfer of Direct Payments from Children's to Adults

Actions to be taken by the Allocated Worker

  • Funding Request (post 18) to be followed as above including connected conversation.  Do not assume that Childrens DP's simply convert to Adult DP's. (CPLI not to be entered at this stage);
  • Ensure all adult finance forms completed including the new DP agreement;
  • To inform Brokerage once in- principle start date for adult payment. At this stage request for the end date of children's DP;
  • Submit the Care and Support Plan for approval;
  • Inform families of the decisions including where not eligible and DPs to cease – check the balance in the account with family will cover any final payments prior to advising Brokerage to cease; ensure family aware they need to terminate employment of PAs unless will continue on self-fund basis.

Actions to be completed by Service Manager/HOS

  • Share quarterly report with team members to alert tasks required;
  • In –principle decision needs to added as a case note on both LCS/ACSIS;
  • All decisions regarding new Direct Payments either Agreed/Disagreed, a list of names to be emailed to 0-25 SEND Brokerage.
Emergency Packages

Emergency will be considered by the Service Managers in the following scenarios:

  • Due to behaviour of a young person that has impacted on the package * parent/carer suddenly became unwell;
  • Safeguarding;
  • Police involvement requires change of care package;
  • Notice from provider;
  • Poor care planning will not be considered as an emergency.

4.2 Herts Access to Resources Panel (HARP)

See Hertfordshire Access to Resources Panel (H.A.R.P) and Delegated Authority for Resource Agreement Procedure.

Where there are requests for family support, an independent placement and associated costs relating to the non-disabled children/young people in the family these requests will be presented to HARP using (Accessed through LCS Forms).

4.3 Multi-Agency Panel

The Multi-Agency Panel, consisting of representatives from Children's Services across Education, Health and Care. The panel meets twice per month to ensure children and young people with assessed additional needs receive appropriate support through agreed packages of interventions. MAP will receive requests from Children's Safeguarding and Specialist Services, Education and Early Intervention and Health services.

Multi Agency agreement about a given care plan should be achieved prior to presentation at panel. This means that the lead professional agency must convene a pre-map meeting to obtain the views of appropriate agencies and ensure their views are captured in the process of support planning.

  • Packages which are agreed best meet the needs of children/young people and families;
  • Agreed packages represent best value for money;
  • Joint packages can be agreed at one meeting;
  • Decision-making takes into account the budgetary position of all organisations;
  • Frequent and accurate budgetary monitoring by CS and Health;
  • Children and young people needs are met within County wherever possible;
  • The Multi-Agency Panel is designed to make funding decisions on joint packages of services for children/young people. The panel will not consider service responses which are single agency, nor for equipment or adaptations;
  • Review arrangements will be agreed by panel as part of the decision making process, this will include a focus on the outcomes that were identified when the package was agreed;
  • Emergency decisions by Heads of Service can be taken outside of this panel process to meet immediate needs, and will be brought to the next meeting for longer-term multi-agency decision making.

Click here for further details about the MAP Panel.

5. Preparation for Adulthood

Introduction

This section provides guidance with tasks that need to be completed from age 14 (Year 9) onwards.

Formal transition planning will start for most young people with EHCP at 14 (Year 9) who will leave school at 16 (Year11). It is noted that most young people with more complex needs will stay on in school until 18/19 and then may go on to college or other provisions.

Background

The Special Education Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice (2014) says that we need to start thinking about Preparing for Adulthood from an early age, and be making specific plans from Year 9 onwards.

It is recognised that preparing for adulthood is a process that all young people go through when they move on from being a teenager and become an adult. It is an exciting time but it has been recognised that this can be a difficult time for some young people, especially those with special educational needs and disabilities. It can sometimes take longer and take much more careful preparation than for other young people of a similar age. It is therefore essential that there is a worker that is trained and available to support a young person and their family during this process.

Objectives of the Preparing for Adulthood (PFA) Practitioner

  • To ensure that information about adulthood services is shared to families and young people from age 14.
  • Be a point of contact and a key worker for the young person during this process.
  • Ensure that all referrals to relevant agencies are completed timeously.

Age 14 -16 (Year 9/10/11)

The 0-25 Central Team will obtain Connexions Grid to assess young people who may need social care input.

A preparation for adulthood practitioner will attend the EHCP Review or provide relevant information if attendance is not required. PFA practitioners will usually be linked to a number of schools, colleges and settings to deliver preventative advice and routine care reviews.

One page profile should be developed with all young people receiving a service from the 0-25 Together Service and updated at each Review.

Social Care Review to include:

An emphasis on independence and discussion on what is required to support young person to independence in all domains and to be included in their plan as follows:

Lifeskills

A discussion should take place to identify the life skills that the young person would like to develop and identify the resources to support this development for example travel training, money management, having your say, making networks and friends.

This should be reviewed at each EHCP/Social Care Review.

Health

Young people and parents/carers need to be made aware of what changes will happen in terms of the health provision in the coming years. If a young person has an EHCP plan it is important that it is recorded in this document.

At Year 11 Review the health section in the EHCP needs to be clear on what services the young person will be discharged from and who will be taking responsibility for the young person's health needs. It is crucial that the role of GP is discussed.

Alert LD nurses on young people that may be coming to their attention in the coming years and to check if young people can be signposted to other health services.

Employment/Further Education

Although it may seem a bit early for these discussions at year 9 it is crucial these discussions commence at this stage and to note that some young people will require work experience in Year 10.

Continued work with Connexions should take place at each Review and there should be a clear plan as what the young person will be doing in the future years whether that is to remain in school, college, supported employment and apprenticeship.

Commence parallel planning with school, Connexions if there is concern about post 16 provisions.

Housing Pathway

It is important at Year 9/10 that young people and their families start to think about where the young person would like to live post 18. Information should be provided on all the options available.

It is essential in Year 11 that parents/carers and young people are provided with information on how to apply to be on the local housing register and have all information they need about welfare benefits, housing benefits and funding streams that are available to support people to live independently

Developing friends, relationships and community (Social Network)

We know that it is very difficult for our young people to develop social networks and therefore it important to explore this in the reviews and how the current care package can be used to support this. Community resources need to be explored.

If the young person is leaving school at Year 11 it is important that a discussion takes place on how contact with the friendship group will be maintained.

Having your say and being in Control

When developing a Transition Pathway Plan for a disabled young person who is looked after, at aged 15.75 years his or her mental capacity to manage his or her own affairs must be considered under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice. Practitioners should ensure information is provided and early conversations should commence with parents/carers regarding capacity, best interest assessments, DOLS and becoming an appointee.

At Year 11 to commence with capacity assessment and best interest assessments as required and provides parents with information on becoming an appointee and their right to deal with benefits of their son/daughter who can't manage their own affairs due to their disability.

Parent/Carers should be offered a carer's assessment.

Benefits

Ensure that information is provided and checked that young person and parent and carer are in receipt of all appropriate benefits.

Parents/Carers and Young Person needs to be provided with the following information:

From 16th birthday, a young person might be able to claim one or more benefits in their own right, such as:

  • Disabled Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP);
  • Job Seekers Allowance;
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

There may be an impact on the benefits that parents or carers claim as well depending on:

  • The disabled young person's education or employment status;
  • The benefits that the disabled young person claims in their own right;
  • If the young disabled person in the family is a parent themselves.

Advise parents/carers to contact Money Advice regarding benefits and tax credits to ensure you are claiming to correct benefits. Provide parents with the information on the charging policy for adults.

Age 17/18/19 (Year 12/13/14)

The PFA worker must attend school review and EHCP Review and review the post school plan for the young person.

Assessment to commence in line with adult requirements to determine the young person's needs, desired outcomes and the provision that will meet them. A transition needs assessment will be completed at 17, 5 years so that young person and carer know what care and support they will be entitled to as an adult.

Social Care Review should focus on the following:

Lifeskills

Review skills that have been achieved and what further needs to happen if young person still needs to develop these skills. Assess if these skills cannot be achieved what ongoing support the young person will need from hereon for example with travelling.

Health

EHCP must clearly document the health plan for the young person and it there is concern on the handover from one health professional to the other, it is important that this is raised with the school nurse if he/she is still involved or the GP.

Young people that are receiving a service from Children's Continuing Health Care must be referred to the Adults Continuing Care for an assessment as criteria is different and parents and young people need to know what changes in the health provision will take place.

Employment/Further Education

Some young people would still be in school and it is important that there is clear plan where the young person will be moving to once school finishes. Young people that are attending college, it is important that the College professionals are involved in the Review.

Continued work with Connexions should take place at (and between) each Review and there should be a clear plan as what the young person will be doing in the future years whether that is to remain in school, college, supported employment or apprenticeship during these years.

Under the Care Act 2014 the local authority has a duty to provide support to children/young people who are likely to have needs for care and support after becoming 18. See Care Leavers and Transition to Adulthood Procedure.

Whilst 0-25 Together administer all support plans, resources are managed separately by both Children's and Adult services

Disabled young people who meet the eligibility criteria of 0-25 Together Service and attend a local school, and who are in residential education, remain the financial responsibility of Children's Services rather than ACS until the end of the academic year in which they are 19 (this is a local Hertfordshire County Council agreement). The exception is for young people in receipt of Direct Payments, for example during the school holidays.

Where young people aged 18+ in out of county residential placements need respite care during school holidays, these are funded by ACS. For young people placed within Herts, CS retain funding responsibility for respite placements until the young person's educational statement ends.

See also Managing Disability Allowances for Children Looked After and Staying Put Supported and Staying Put Lodgings.

Housing Pathway

It is important to discuss future living arrangements at the review meetings. There are a number of options available and the Education, Health and Care plan should include what actions need to be taken to support the option chosen. Important that all relevant assessments and referrals to funding panels are done in sufficient time so that transition from one setting to the next is planned. Applications for general needs housing must be considered. 

Developing friends, relationships and community (Social Network)

This increasingly should become a very important aspect discussed at the Review and what support is required to maintain or develop these networks. Important to identify what technology is available to support these friendships and relationships.

Benefits

It is very important for a young person and their family and carers to get all the right benefits. At ages 17, 18 and 19 a disabled young person may be able to claim different benefits depending on their circumstances.

There may be an impact on the benefits that parents or carers claim as well, depending on:

  • The disabled young person's education or employment status;
  • The benefits that the disabled young person claims in their own right;
  • If the young disabled person in the family is a parent themselves.

Benefits and tax credits are complex and it is important to get specialist advice to ensure that you are getting everything that you are entitled to, and to find out the impact of making new or different claims.

Ensure that referrals are made to Money Advice to support the young person and the parents/carers.

Ensure information is provided on social care charges.

Becoming an appointee

Parent/ Carers can apply for the right to deal with the benefits of young adults who can't manage their own affairs because they do not have capacity or are severely disabled. This is called an appointee.

There are other ways of becoming responsible for managing someone's affairs in the long term, such as Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, and detailed information can be found on the Citizens Advice website.

Legal information and Assessments

Ensure that parents/carers and young adults are provided with all the necessary information for necessary assessments that need to take place. Capacity and best interest assessments need to occur as required and in advance so this does not prevent any delay in planning for the young adult. There also needs to be consideration to ensure a young person (aged 18 plus) residing in a care home has safeguards in place to prevent any Deprivation of Liberties (Deprivation of Liberties Code of Conduct).

Young people who are over compulsory school age have the right to participate in decisions about the provision that is made for them. Any decision that is then made should be made in the person's best interests.

Ensure that parent/carer is offered a carers assessment or the carer's assessment is reviewed if it has taken place some time ago.

Advocacy

It is important that a discussion takes place with the young adult and parent/carers on the need for an advocate for the young adult and referrals should be made to the appropriate service.

Age 19 to 25

Some young people may remain in education as the EHCP can remain until the young person is 25 and school /college will need to continue to hold annual reviews of the EHCP. The PFA practitioner will need to attend these reviews.

Social Care Review should focus on the following:

Lifeskills

Review of any new skills required and how this can be achieved with support by the young adult. Some young adults will always need support with some skills and it is important to review that the support provided is appropriate and meeting the need.

Education/ Further Employment

Young adults that are still in education setting need to have annual EHCP Reviews. An exit plan from any education setting needs to be clear and a transition plan to the next setting needs to be carefully planned with the young adult and parent/carer. Close liaison with Connexions is imperative.

Some young adults may be in employment and it is important to review that all support is in place to support the employment.

Housing Pathway

Young adults should now be or moving into their long term housing arrangements.

Young people who have lived away from home, either in a residential special school or an independent specialist college will need to plan carefully for their move back to their local area. Planning must include education, employment, health, accommodation, social needs, travel training, and care and support needs.

Developing friends, relationships and community (Social Network)

As the young adult moves to different settings and service this social work network is very important to be maintained or to develop new relationships.

Benefits/Finance

Young adults and parents/carers should be referred to Money Advice to ensure that they are receipt of the correct benefits.

Provide information on the charging policy for adults.

Personal Budgets

Legal Information and Assessments

It is important that the young adult and parent/carers are aware that the mental capacity assessment and best interest assessment takes place every time a significant decision is required.

Carer's assessments should be reviewed with parents/carers.

6. Occupational Therapy Assessments for Disabled Children and Young People and Adults

Occupational Therapy to children (and adults) is a service provided under part 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (1970). An assessment for a child's need for assistance in arranging adaptations, or provision of additional facilities, to promote their safety, comfort or convenience, is an assessment under part 2 of that Act. Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust provides the Children's Occupational Therapy Service in Hertfordshire. This has information for service users and professionals.

Please see the following links for For staff access to the OT Policies and Procedures for Adult Social Care and the Adults Practice Development Team Information.

For further details regarding the HAP panel, including the application process, please view the Disabilities - Adaptations for People with Disabilities page on Compass.

7. Local Offer and Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database

Local Offer and Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database (HAND)

Local Offer

The Local Offer is Hertfordshire's online "one-stop shop" to identify support and services for children and young people aged 0 – 25 who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

All local authorities are required to have a Local Offer under the Children and Families Act 2014.

Parents, carers, young people and professionals are encouraged to feedback their experiences of using the Local Offer, which is acted upon wherever possible.

See Hertfordshire's SEND Local Offer.

Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database (HAND)

HAND is Hertfordshire's database for children and young people aged 0 – 25 whose additional needs and/or disabilities have a significant impact on their everyday life.

All local authorities are required to have a register of disabled children under the Children Act 1989.

It is voluntary to register on HAND, an average of 30 new registrations are made each week.

The criteria for registering a child is that their additional need or disability must have a significant impact on their everyday life; however we do not require a diagnosis, as even though a child may have substantial additional needs, a diagnosis is sometimes not possible.

Those who register receive a HAND card which often helps with reduced entry fees at leisure venues or avoiding the need to queue. Concessions are completely at the discretion of the venue.

See Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database (HAND).

8. Resolving Disagreements

The following must be available for resolution of disputes:

  • Local authorities must make available independent arrangements for:
    • Disagreement resolution arrangements for disagreements across special educational provision, and health and care provision in relation to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans;
    • Independent mediation arrangements which parents and young people can use before deciding whether to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability) ('the Tribunal') and for health and social care complaints in relation to EHC plans.
  • The Complaints, Compliments and Representations Procedure;
  • Appealing to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability) ('the Tribunal') (see the GOV.UK website) or making disability discrimination claims.

Services for the provision of Dispute Resolution Arrangements and Mediation Arrangements, whilst commissioned by it, must be independent of the local authority – no-one who is directly employed by the local authority can provide the services.

Disagreement resolution arrangements apply more widely. They cover all children and young people with SEN (not just those who are being assessed for or have an Education, Health and Care Plan), and a range of disagreements, including any aspect of SEN provision, health and social care provision, disagreements during the processes related to Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments and Education, Health and Care Plans, and disagreements between health commissioners and local authorities. Disagreement resolution services are voluntary and can be used at any time, if both parties agree, including while an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment is being conducted, while the Education, Health and Care Plan is being drawn up, after the Plan is finalised or while an appeal is going through the Tribunal process (see: Disputes about special educational needs in England, House of Commons Library).

Mediation arrangements apply to parents and children/young people who are considering appealing to the Tribunal in relation to Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments and Education, Health and Care Plans, e.g. following a decision not to carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment, not to draw up an Education, Health and Care Plan, after a final or amended Education, Health and Care Plan is drawn up, following a decision not to amend an Education, Health and Care Plan, or a decision to cease to maintain an Education, Health and Care Plan. Parents and children/young people must contact a mediation adviser before registering an appeal with the Tribunal.

When the local authority sends the parent or child/young person notice of a decision which can be appealed to the Tribunal it must advise them of their right to go to mediation and that they must contact a mediation adviser before registering an appeal with the Tribunal. The notice must give the contact details of a mediation adviser, contain the timescales for requesting mediation and the contact details of any person acting on behalf of the local authority whom the parent or child/ young person should contact if they wise to pursue mediation. The notice should also make clear that parents' and child/ young people's right to appeal is not affected by entering into mediation.

If the parent or child/ young person decides to proceed with mediation then the local authority must ensure that a mediation session takes place within 30 days of the mediation adviser informing the local authority that the parent or child/ young person wants to go to mediation, although it may delegate the arrangement of the session to the mediator. Parents or children/young people do not have to pay for the mediation session(s). The local authority must attend the mediation.

The High Court in Kumar –v- London Borough of Hillingdon [2020] EWHC 3326 (Admin) held that, as part of the mediation process, a parent/child/young person is entitled to bring along any supporter they wish, including a lawyer.

Mediation for health and social care issues - Parents and young people can go to mediation about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan, but this is not compulsory.

Registering an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability

Children/young people/parents have 2 months to register an appeal with the Tribunal (see Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, GOV.UK website), from the date of the notice containing a decision which can be appealed or 1 month from the date of a certificate which has been issued following mediation or the parent or child/young person being given mediation information, whichever is the later. Where it is fair and just to do so the Tribunal can accept appeals outside the 2 month time limit.

The Tribunal can make a recommendation about health and social care needs or provision as part of an appeal by a parent or young person relating to:

  • A decision by the LA not to issue an EHC plan;
  • A decision by the LA not to carry out a re-assessment for a child/young person who has an EHC plan;
  • A decision by the LA not to amend an EHC plan following a review or reassessment;
  • A decision by the LA to cease to maintain an EHC plan;
  • The description of the child/young person’s special educational needs in an EHC plan;
  • The special educational provision specified in an EHC plan;
  • The school or other educational institution named in an EHC plan.

The Tribunal also handles appeals against decisions to refuse young people in custody:

  • An EHC assessment;
  • An EHC plan after assessment;
  • A placement to a suitable school or other educational institution after their release.

It also handles appeals against discrimination by schools or local authorities due to a child’s disability.

The Tribunal can dismiss the appeal, order the local authority to carry out an assessment, or to make and maintain an Education, Health and Care Plan, or to maintain a Plan with amendments. The Tribunal can also order the local authority to reconsider or correct a weakness in the plan, for example, where necessary information is missing.

For an appeal against a refusal to issue an EHC plan, if the Tribunal orders a plan to be made, it has the power to recommend that health and social care needs and provision be specified when the plan is drawn up. Where health and social care needs and/or provision are not included in the plan, the Tribunal has the power to recommend they be specified in the plan. Where health and social care needs and/or provision are included in the plan, the Tribunal has the power to recommend that the need or provision be amended. When the Tribunal orders the local authority to reconsider the special educational provision in an EHC plan, the Tribunal can also consider whether the education and training outcomes specified are sufficiently ambitious for the child or young person.

Since September 2021, the Tribunal has extended powers to hear appeals and make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, provided those appeals also include education elements.

See SEND Tribunal: Extended Appeals Guidance for Local Authorities, Health Commissioners, Parents and Young People.

The extended powers enable parents and young people to appeal to the Tribunal about decisions concerning EHC needs assessments and plans. Previously, they were only able to appeal about the special educational needs and provision sections and the placement section of EHC plans. The extended powers give parents and young people rights to request recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in EHC plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal. This applies for all SEND appeals apart from those that are only about carrying out an EHC needs assessment. The Tribunal’s extended powers to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of EHC plans, give parents and young people the opportunity to raise all their concerns about an EHC plan in one place.

The Tribunal can make non-binding recommendations on:

  • The health and social care needs specified in EHC plans;
  • The health and social care provision specified in EHC plans related to the learning difficulties or disabilities that result in the child or young person having SEN;
  • The social care provision specified in EHC plans that is made under Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

If the Tribunal orders a plan to be made it has the power to recommend that, when drawing up the plan, health and/or social care needs and provision are specified. Where health and/or social care needs or provision is not included in the plan the Tribunal has the power to recommend it be specified in the plan. Where health and/or social care needs or provision is included in the plan the Tribunal has the power to recommend that the need and provision be amended. Although any recommendations made by the Tribunal on health and social care elements of an EHC plan are non-binding and there is no requirement to follow them, they should not be ignored or rejected without careful consideration. Any reasons for not following them must be explained and set out in writing to the parent or young person. Should a local authority or responsible health commissioning body decide not to follow the recommendations of the Tribunal, parents and young people can complain to the Ombudsman or seek to have the decision judicially reviewed.

Local authorities must notify parents and young people of the Tribunal’s power to make nonbinding recommendations on the health and social care needs or provision specified in EHC plans when they:

  • Notify a parent/young person of a decision not to issue an EHC plan;
  • Send a final version of an EHC plan to a parent/young person;
  • Send an amended version of an EHC plan to a parent/young person
  • Notify a parent/young person of a decision not to carry out a reassessment where an EHC plan already exists;
  • Notify a parent/young person of a decision not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment notify a parent/young person of a decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan.

Local authorities must include information on the extended right to appeal in their Local Offers.

If requested by the Tribunal, local authorities must provide evidence from the health and social care bodies in response to the issues raised, within the timeframe specified, and as necessary can seek permission to bring additional witnesses to the hearing.

9. Further Information and Statutory Guidance

SEND: 19 to 25 year olds' entitlement to EHC plans

Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 - 25 years Statutory Guidance for Organisations who work with Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (revised January 2015) - This statutory code contains: details of legal requirements that you must follow without exception and the statutory guidance that you must follow by law unless there's a good reason not to.

0 to 25 SEND code of practice: a guide for health professionals – Advice for clinical commissioning groups, health professionals and local authorities

DfE/DHSC Send Resources - a range of resources to support the work on special educational needs and disability (SEND).

Care and Support Statutory Guidance (GOV.UK), Statutory guidance to support local authorities implement the Care Act 2014.

Children and Young People's Continuing Care National Framework (DHSC, 2016) - The process for assessing, deciding and agreeing continuing care for children with complex health needs.

The Young Carers (Needs Assessment) Regulations (DfE, March 2015)

Carers UK - resources and information on young carers (including assessment tools).

Special Education Needs in England: support in England (House of Commons Library, April 2021)

Disputes about Special Educational Needs in England (House of Commons Library)