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EHC Needs Assessment Process

Along with health and other agencies, the local authority will work with the parent/carer and child or young person to understand how best to minimise disruption during the assessment.  Where possible, appointments will be co-ordinated or combined and arrangements will be made to accommodate any particular needs or difficulties the child or young person has.   

Parents/carers and young people will have access to impartial advice and information in relation to SEND, including the assessment process itself, EHCPs and personal budgets from SENDiass 4 BCP.

Co-ordinating the assessment process

The local authority is responsible for ensuring effective co-ordination of the assessment and planning process. This will involve: 

  • managing the process to meet the needs of the child or young person and their parents/carers 
  • keeping everyone informed 
  • arranging meetings 
  • co-ordinating professional input

Information sharing

In order for the assessment and planning process to fully identify the education, health and care needs and desired outcomes of the child or young person, information sharing is vital. 

Information gathering and sharing should be simplified so that parent/carers and young people don't have to repeat the same information to different services.  
The local authority must have explicit consent and agreement to what information can be shared with other agencies in respect of confidentiality.

How long does the assessment process take?

The EHC planning and assessment process should take no more than 20 weeks from the date of the request until the plan is issued. 
See the EHCP timeline information for details on what happens, when. 

What happens at the end of the assessment process?

At the end of the assessment process, the local authority has to decide whether to issue an EHCP.  The decision will be advised by week 16 of the process as outlined in the EHCP timeline

In order to help with decision making, wherever possible, the case will be discussed with the SEND Panel (a panel of relevant professionals across agencies). 

If it's decided that an EHCP will be issued, the first step is to send the parent/carer or young person a draft version.

The plan will include information on the child or young person’s special educational needs, health and care needs, the provision required to meet those needs, and the outcomes that should be achieved. It will also record the child or young person’s aspirations, views and feelings.

This is an opportunity for parent/carers to check if the draft EHCP contains everything it should. A draft EHCP won't include the name of a particular school, college or other educational setting, or what type of placement the child or young person will attend. This will only appear only in the final EHCP. 

Parent/carers and young people have 15 days in which to:

  • make comments – ‘representations’ – about the draft EHCP;
  • request a meeting with the LA to discuss the draft;
  • request that a particular school or other institution is named in the final EHC plan.

If we decide not to issue an EHCP, all of the assessment information that has been gathered will be shared with the child or young persons education setting to enable them to update their SEND support plan.  

If a parent or carer disagrees with our decision, they can appeal through a SEND Tribunal. The appeal must be registered within two months of getting our decision.