SEND panels in Central Bedfordshire
Our EHC team holds three separate advisory panels to assist with decision making regarding:
- EHC needs assessments
- special school and additionally resourced provision placements
- funding for post-16 placements
Each panel consists of multi-agency professional groups to support our decision making. Once the panel has made a decision about a case, a member of our EHC team will contact young people and/or parents and settings to inform them of the decision. This usually happens 5 working days after the date of the panel meeting.
The purpose of the SEND panel is to provide guidance to enable consistent and focused decision making. This is in line with the legislation as outlined within the Children and Families Act (2014), in relation to requests for EHC needs assessments. The focus of this panel is to consider agreement to requests for EHC needs assessment and whether an assessment should lead to the completion of an education, health and care plan (EHCP). The panel may also consider requests for personal budget, funding and equipment.
The multi-agency group is responsible for providing professional guidance to enable our decision making to be fair and transparent and in line with the legislation. It is expected that all panel members read the necessary paperwork and provide advice to the Chair on each case. The final decision remains with the EHC team.
It is important to note that our decisions do not have to be made following guidance from a panel. To ensure speed and efficient decision making, for those cases where agreeing to an EHC needs assessment is clear, we will make a decision as soon as possible, without the necessity of a panel’s advice. The panel’s main purpose is to offer guidance and consistency where decisions require further professional advice, and where EHC needs assessments may not be agreed.
This also enables advice as to an appropriate way forward to support the child and the setting following our decisions. However, in order to ensure compliance with statutory timescales around decision making, we will exercise our right to make decisions outside of panel where necessary, within the legislative framework.
Special School and Additionally Resourced Provision Panel
The panel is a multi-agency team, responsible for providing professional guidance to the EHC team to enable consistent and appropriate decision making, in line with the SEND Code of Practice 2015. Representatives from each of our four special schools attend this panel and share their views as to the suitability of the requested placement.
Please be aware that the panel is not a statutory requirement for decision making on placements.The final decision on where to place a child or young person with SEND remains with the EHC Team.
Post-16 SEND Panel
The purpose of the Post-16 Panel is to provide professional guidance that enables transparent, consistent and focused decision making in line with the legislation for the top-up funding for educational placements for young people with Education, Health and Care Plans in addition to the funding allocated by the Education Funding Agency for post-16 pupils or the Skills Funding Agency for post-19 students.
The panel is a multi-agency team, responsible for providing professional guidance to the EHC team to enable consistent and appropriate decision making, in line with the SEND Code of Practice 2015.
The following representatives attend this panel and share their views as to the suitability of the requested placement and associated funding:
- the main college
- alternative post-16 settings attended by Central Bedfordshire students
- a senior advisor from our youth support service
Please be aware that the panel is not a statutory requirement for decision making on placements. The final decision on funding and placements for young people with SEND remains with the EHC team.