Wokingham’s dad has waited a long time for his son’s education plan
A father in Wokingham suffered a 19-month ordeal after the council mismanaged his son’s special education planning.
Children and adults who need more educational support than regular schools and colleges can provide Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plans.
These plans must be issued within certain deadlines.
But these aren’t always issued on time, and a father received payment from Wokingham City Council after it took 19 months to release his son’s final EHC plan.
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He was able to get the payment after complaining to the Local Government and Social Services Ombudsman (LGSO).
The father argued that the board failed to conduct EHC exams on time in 2018 and in two exams conducted in January and November 2020.
He said that not taking the exams had a negative impact on his whole family and his son’s school had not supported him as it should.
The ombudsman investigated his complaint and found that an EHC review had taken place in January 2020, but the father was never notified.
In July, he wrote to the board arguing that it was not following the correct EHC procedure, which requires the board to notify parents if changes are made to an EHC plan – and give parents the opportunity to consult with them. recommendations and appeal the plan. if necessary.
The investigation found that none of this had been done, and in August 2020 the board responded to the father by blaming the high staff turnover, schools sending overdue reports and the coronavirus pandemic for the delays. in the publication of the final EHC plan.
The father argued that the lack of progress in releasing the EHC plan meant his son’s school was operating on an outdated plan, which meant he was not receiving enough educational support.
He also disagreed with the council’s excuse that the pandemic had had an impact because the review was conducted before the pandemic, and expressed frustration at having to fight to get correct information in the EHC plan of his son.
He filed a formal complaint with the council – but he was not happy with its response and raised it.
He also sought ombudsman arbitration in August 2020, but was told he had to wait until the council complaint process was completed.
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Eventually, the board conducted another review of the son’s final EHC plan in November 2020, but the investigating ombudsman found that this final plan had not been released when they contacted the board about it. subject in August and September 2021.
This means that the final EHC plan took at least nine months to be released.
As a result of the inquest, Wokingham Borough Council agreed to pay the father Â£ 250 to alleviate the distress, frustration and unnecessary time and trouble he experienced in suing the council to resolve problems with his son’s EHC plan.
The mediator asked the council to release the man’s EHC plan “without delay.”
To rectify the problem, the board also pledged to put new measures in place when conducting annual reviews of the EHC and made “systemic changes” to the review process.
Councilor Graham Howe (Tory, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe), Executive Member of Children’s Services, said: âWe have apologized to the family for this.
We are very sorry for the distress the family went through.
“We have improved our internal processes to prevent this from happening again and can confirm that the board has completed the actions agreed to in the final decision, and that evidence of this has been sent to the mediator.”
The father is only referred to as Mr. X in the survey, while his son is anonymized as âMr. Yâ.
The complaint about the EHC plan in 2018 was not part of the investigation.