Agenda item

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) - Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) - Review Process

To consider the report of the Director of Children and Families providing an update on the current position regarding Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), detailing the work which had been done by Leeds in this area and which seeks endorsement for the further work proposed as part of the review process.


The Director of Children and Families submitted a report providing an update on the current position regarding Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) both locally and nationally. The report noted that in relation to Leeds City Council, a 60% post-pandemic increase in applications for EHCPs had been experienced. Given this, it was noted that a review was being undertaken into the Council’s approach towards EHCPs by external consultants in order to provide independent challenge and insight. The report also provided details of the related work which had been undertaken to date and further proposed as part of the review process.


In presenting the report, the Executive Member highlighted the significant increase in demand for EHCPs which had been experienced post-pandemic both nationally and in Leeds and highlighted the range of reasons why an individual may need an EHCP. The importance of the review process being undertaken by external consultants was emphasised in order to ensure that the process was as effective as possible, and it was noted that the submitted report was the first of two scheduled reports, with this initial report providing detail on the work done to date, emerging findings and opportunities for change. The second report is scheduled to be submitted to the Board in December 2023.


The Board welcomed the submitted report and the priority that was being given to this important area.


A Member highlighted how this process affected many young people and their families in Leeds and emphasised the importance of the Council’s relationships with those key stakeholders. In response, the Director of Children and Families emphasised her absolute commitment to ensuring that improvements were made to the EHCP process and to the experiences and outcomes for young people and their families. The Director highlighted the integral role that key stakeholders, including young people, parents and carers would play in that improvement, alongside the external consultants undertaking the review. Emphasis was also placed upon the clear objectives for the next phase of the process, which included that the Council achieved full legal compliance in its statutory duties; and that moving forward clear performance metrics around timeliness of assessment and issuing of EHCPs were developed together with a robust management framework in order to measure and scrutinise progress in a timely way. 


It was noted that the Children and Families Scrutiny Board was also considering these matters in parallel to the review work being undertaken, and that overall, the aim was to ensure that a ‘Leeds approach’ is established in response to the issues being experienced nationally in this area. 



(a)  That the prevailing situation nationally in relation to EHCPs, as detailed within the submitted report, be noted;


(b)  That the work undertaken to date to improve performance in Leeds, be noted;


(c)  That the review work instigated, as referenced within the submitted report, be endorsed; that it be noted that the review seeks to highlight areas of opportunity and improvement; and that the key lines of enquiry which the work to date has generated also be noted;


(d)  That the proposed 5 key principles, as referenced within the submitted report, which will form the basis of more detailed organisational and process design over the next six months, be agreed;


(e)  That a further report be submitted to the December 2023 meeting of Executive Board around detailed planning for future arrangements.

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