EAST SUSSEX CC v. SUSSEX CENTRAL AREA JUSTICES 2019 WL 00237607 (2019)
This is a judgement in a judicial review handed down in January 2019.
Derbyshire County Council v EM & DM  UKUT 240 (AAC)
The Upper Tribunal held that there is no absolute requirement that all EHC Plans must specify a school or other institution (or type of either) in Section I of an EHC Plan. The Upper Tribunal found that if the local authority thinks that no school or other institution (or type of either) would be appropriate for the child, the ‘naming’ duty under these sections and thus in Section I of the EHC Plan cannot as a matter of law arise.
Summary: Mrs X says the Council failed to arrange alternative education for her son when he was absent from school for medical reasons in the autumn of 2018 and between April and September 2019. There was fault by the Council because it did not properly consider its duties to provide alternative education. The Council agreed to address the injustice to Mrs X and her son through a financial remedy.
Summary: Mrs X complained the Council failed to provide suitable alternative education for her daughter after she became unable to attend school. Mrs X also complained the Council took too long to issue an Education, Health and Care plan. She said her daughter had missed out on education and was socially isolated.
Leicestershire County Council
The Council failed to provide suitable alternative education Mrs B’s daughter, C, when she was unable to attend school due to anxiety. The Council also failed to support C and her family, arrange a multi-agency meeting or make a referral to Autism Outreach. The Council accepts these failings and has offered to apologise to the family, make a payment, and undertake a review of its policies and procedures. The Ombudsman considers this to be a satisfactory remedy for the injustice caused.
Gloucestershire County Council
Mrs M complained the Council had failed to put in place alternative educational provision when her son was out of school. There is evidence of fault and the Council has been asked to apologise, make a payment and change its procedures.
Norfolk County Council
The Council expected the school to continue to meet the need and put the provision specified in the EHC plan in place until a suitable placement was found even once they have told the Council they cannot meet need. This is not acceptable. The duty is on the Council to secure the provision is made. Once it is on notice that the school is not making the provision then the Council must arrange the provision.
There is a further issue in that the Council was on notice that Y was not attending school because of her anxiety. Where a child cannot attend school because of illness the Council must arrange suitable full-time education. I have seen nothing to show the Council had any regard to its duties to Y in this respect.
Derby LA fined over £8000 after 18 months of EHCP delays left an autistic girl without education. The girl was too anxious to attend her mainstream school, but Derby failed to provide sufficient alternative education.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council
The Council delayed communicating a decision not to issue an EHC Plan for a child (B) following statutory assessment. The Council failed to put in place Alternative Education for B when this was justified. The Ombudsman recommended and the Council agreed to apologise in writing to Mr and Mrs C, pay B £1,500 to acknowledge lost educational provision, pay Mr and Mrs C £500 to acknowledge distress caused by failure to issue a timely decision on whether to make an EHC Plan, and finalise and publish policy on Alternative Education.
Dorset County Council
The Council was at fault for failing to ensure Z received a suitable education. The Council also took too long to finalise Z’s Education, Health and Care Plan. The Council has agreed to make a financial payment to remedy the injustice it has caused Z and to make procedural changes.