Lib Dems press for answers on SEN delays

16 Dec 2022

Lance Spencer, Lib Dem councillor for Goldsworth East and Horsell Village submitted a question to this week's meeting of Surrey County Council to reveal the extent of the backlog in issuing Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) for children with special educational needs. EHCPs are a legal document drawn up by the Council following an assessment which describes a child or a young person's (aged up to 25) special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.

The response from the Cabinet Member for Education and Learning confirmed that there were currently 988 active requests for an EHCP, of which 284 were known to have already exceeded the 20 week statutory limit. She attributed a large part of the delays to staffing issues, in particular a shortage of educational psychologists who were needed to complete the plans. She explained that the Service had been focussing on the recruitment and training of additional caseworkers, and that the workforce was now around 80 per cent staffed across the county and they were doing their utmost to improve the timeline for applications.


Lance commented: "These excessive delays are just not acceptable and undermine the Council's ambition that no one should be left behind. The children and young people affected are already disadvantaged in terms of their education and the situation is made worse for them and their families by having to wait such a long time for an EHCP to be put in place. I have even been contacted by residents who have threatened to take legal action against the Council to try and expedite their case. I understand that some of the staff shortages talked about are apparent not just locally, but also on a national level, but we need to keep the pressure up on the Council to make sure they are doing everything possible to improve this situation for Surrey's SEN children and young people."



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