Two new Government reports looking at the Education, Health and Care (EHC) process, have delivered a strong call-to-action for councils and specifically highlighted the need for a more efficient, family-orientated process.
The reports – released by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) – discuss the requirement for councils to implement robust procedures to avoid common failings being carried into the new EHC system.
One extract from the Ombudsman’s report cited that the EHC system should be:
“Less confrontational, more efficient and involve families better, while reducing the administrative burden on them.”
The DfE publication echoed these findings, stating that:
“In over a third of the local areas inspected, leaders across education, health and care did not involve children and young people or their parents sufficiently in planning and reviewing their provision (a process known as co-production).”
For the past 18 months, Idox’s Open Objects has been working with local authority partners, parent carer forums and young people to co-produce the EHC Hub – a digital platform that directly tackles some of the issues raised in both reports.
The Hub facilitates real-time collaboration and provides a platform for engagement with families right from the beginning of their EHC journey. The ability to contribute to the EHC process online offers families more transparency compared to paper processes. It ensures issues are identified earlier in the process, leading to more timely resolutions and improved outcomes, while complementing report findings that regular family involvement typically leads to successful EHC planning.
The reports also identified that the quality of EHC plans varied:
"In the cases we have investigated, we have seen examples of councils not obtaining professional advice within the six week timeframe, and not giving professionals clear instructions, meaning the advice obtained is then not detailed and specific enough to write a clear EHC plan.”
The Hub solves this issue by delivering an efficient way of collating advice from professionals. Through a co-produced structured template for advice, the Hub securely captures the specific strengths, needs and outcomes of a child or young person, which in turn provides a clear and robust starting point for drafting the EHC plan.
The EHC Hub provides the tools needed to improve joint working across education, health and care services, and has already been adopted by six English local authorities as they strive to meet their statutory requirements. It is hoped that the use of the Hub will help children and young people with special educational needs reach their full potential.
To find out more about the EHC Hub, call Open Objects on 01223 422200 or click here to complete the contact form.
To read the reports mentioned in this article, please follow:
- Education, Health and Care Plans: our first 100 investigations. Focus Report: Learning lessons from complaints, October 2017. (Published by the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman)
- Local area SEND inspections: one year on (Published by the Department for Education)