Why the new powers?
The extended Tribunal powers enable parents and young people to have a single route of appeal about the education, health and social care elements of an EHC plan. This forms part of a two year national trial.
When parents or young people appeal about a refusal to issue an EHC plan, or about the educational needs, provision and educational placement in an EHC plan, the tribunal will also be able to make non - binding recommendations about the health and social care parts of the EHC plan at the same time.
If the tribunal order a local authority to issue an EHC plan, they can also recommend that health or social care needs are included in the EHC plan when it is drawn up.
If a health or social care need or provision is not included in an existing EHC plan, the tribunal can recommend that it should be included.
If health or social care provision is already included in an EHC plan, the tribunal can recommend that the needs or provision is amended.
What this means for parents and young people
Following the tribunal decision, health or social care commissioners will have to respond in detail to the local authority and parents/young people, setting out the steps they are going to take, or giving reasons why they have decided not to follow the tribunal recommendations. They will also have to respond to the evaluators of the trial.
When the results of the two year trial have been evaluated, a decision will be made as to whether the new tribunal process should continue.
These powers apply to local authority decisions made from 3rd April 2018 onwards.