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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Slough mum gets £500 pay out after council mishandles education plan for her son

A mum from Slough has received a £500 pay out after the council mishandled an education plan for her son.

Problems began when Slough Borough Council decided not to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan for her son, who has undisclosed disabilities.

EHC plans determine what care and support children and adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) require.

The mum successfully appealed to get a EHC needs assessment conducted for her son at a SEND Tribunal, which handles appeals against council decisions relating to SEND children.

However, Slough Borough Council was ultimately found guilty of delays in conducting the assessment.

The council did seek advice from an Educational Psychologist a Community Paediatrician (health practitioners who specialise in caring for children) and a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT).

Ultimately, while the needs assessment was carried out, it did not fit into stipulated time frames and the council decided not to give the boy an EHC plan.

The mum received a £500 pay out after she asked the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSO) to look into her complaint.

It was found that the council’s decision not to give the boy an EHC plan should have been made within 10 weeks. However, the council’s decision only came two months after that deadline.

The ombudsman ultimately found fault in the delays in making its decision not to issue an EHC plan and for not obtaining all professional advice needed.

They also ruled that the mum and her son had faced injustice due to the delays.

The ombudsman interceded for mum, with the council agreeing to compensate her for the injustice, and obtain up-to-date speech and language therapist advice on her son’s speech and language needs and the provision needed to address them.

The conclusion to the ombudsman investigation implies that the boy will obtain a final EHC plan.

Slough Borough Council also agreed to review its process of getting professional advice for the electively home educated children with SEND to ensure arrangements are put in place for getting SLT advice for these children, and provide training to staff dealing with complaints about EHC needs assessments on the Council’s duties in line with the SEND Code of Practice, which governs how procedures should be handled.

A council spokesperson said: “We have totally accepted the ombudsman recommendations, including providing the suggested compensation and have already issued an apology to the family.

“The issues around this case occurred in 2022 and we have since provided training for all SEND staff to ensure that speech and language needs assessment advice, contributing to an EHC needs assessment, are undertaken when necessary for young people who are not in an education setting and to ensure similar complaints are handled in line with the SEND Code of Practice 2015.”

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