Officials from the Department for Education (DfE), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England (NHSE) are working together closely to implement the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms underpinned by the Children and Families Act 2014.
We are addressing the finding on access to therapy services through follow up by DfE and NHSE officials with the individual local areas following the publication of an inspection report. This is particularly the case where Ofsted and CQC have required a local area to produce a written statement of action to address weaknesses.
We are about to launch a two-year national trial looking at extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND) to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Currently the First-tier Tribunal (SEND) hears appeals with regard to education only. Health and social care aspects of EHC plans are resolved through separate complaint routes. The trial will give the Tribunal the power to consider all parts of a child’s EHC plan. We are trialling this (following an earlier small-scale pilot) as we need to gather further evidence to understand whether the new appeal route is easier for families, the impact on health and social care and whether recommendations are followed. These new powers will apply to local authority decisions made and EHC plans issued or amended from 3 April 2018.
We are working with stakeholders, which include DHSC and NHSE, through the Children’s Complex Needs board and across the Transforming Care programme to assure better support across health and care services for children and young people
Finally, the green paper, ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’, set out our proposals on how to improve access to mental health support for children and young people including those with SEND.