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Updated guidance for professionals working with SEND children released.

The government has issued guidance to clarify changes to legislation around the creation and assessment of education, health and care (EHC) plans.

The legislation relaxes four sets of regulations that specify timescales for creating, assessing and implementing EHC plans which principally apply to local authorities and health commissioning bodies.

There are also relaxations on how often EHC’s need to be assessed and to what lengths local authorities must go to enforce directions given in the plans.

The changes include:

  • Allowing plans to lapse if a local authority is unable to issue an EHC plan within 20 weeks after assessment.
  • ‘Reasonably practical caveat’ replaces 15-week time limit for re-assessment of an EHC plan.
  • Relaxed time scales relating to assessment for and implementation of a personal budget.
  • Removal of mandatory annual review of EHC plans.
  • Relaxed time scales around non-binding recommendations made by First-Tier Tribunals.
  • Local authorities must use “reasonable endeavours” to secure or arrange the provision named on a child’s EHC plan, however, local authorities may secure something different to the provision stated in the plan which may be delivered in a different location by different people.
  • Frequency and timing of provision may be altered or modified in the light of available staff and risks that may cause harm.

Whilst the changes are set to expire on 25 September concerns have been voiced that they could be made permanent.