The Commission considered a report setting out the latest Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) performance update.
Summary of main points raised:
1. In terms of this latest performance update, it was noted that the most significant points were:
a. The number of EHC Needs Assessments (EHCNA) finalised had increased in 2022 compared with 2021.
b. Performance continued to be affected by the rise in new EHCNA requests.
c. In overall terms, the EHC plan timeliness target of 50% had not been achieved.
d. All EHCNA requests which were over 52 weeks had now been finalised.
e. 85% of annual reviews had taken place over the last 12 months and 75% had been processed so far this year.
2. The Chair welcomed the improved position during September in finalising EHCPs and commented that the update report included the appropriate level of detail.
3. In response to a question from Cllr Bailes, it was noted that an increase in staff had been achieved in both the Statutory SEND Team and the Education Psychology service; in addition, through partnership working and the new allocation system, the Education Psychology service had been able to assess more children and young people prior to the summer holiday period, and the Statutory SEND Team had ensured consultation paperwork was available as soon as schools re-opened in early September, enabling plans to be finalised promptly thereafter.
4. It was anticipated that the increase in requests for assessment was likely to continue into 2022/23. Currently, weekly meetings continued to take place between the Statutory SEND service leads and key officers from Education Psychology and Children’s Social Care to plan work within resources and agree the best achievable balance between overdue cases and those EHCPs than could be issued within the 20-week timescale. All 20 cases which had exceeded the 52-week timescale would have finalised EHC plans by 30 November 2022.
5. In response to a point raised by Cllr Townsend, it was noted that, as now required by the DfE, basic annual review information would be submitted by the authority as part of the census (SEN2) return. It was anticipated that IT improvements through developing the electronic casework system and continuing work with schools would improve the Council’s data and delivery on its statutory duties.
6. Members noted that the report included a proposal to set up a working group to agree KPIs for EHC needs assessments for 2023. In discussion, the Chair and Cllr Weston both welcomed the opportunity to discuss this matter further but it was agreed that it would be more appropriate to consider this through a People scrutiny member briefing(s) to which all Commission members could be invited.
On the motion of the Chair, seconded by Cllr Weston, the Commission RESOLVED:
1. To note the report and the above information.
2. That an update on EHCP performance should continue to be submitted to each meeting of the Commission.
3. That a People scrutiny member briefing(s) be set up to agree KPIs for EHC needs assessments for 2023 (all Commission members to be invited to attend).