SEND services ‘in crisis’

That compares with an ‘uphold’ rate of 57 per cent across all other complaints about council services.

In his latest report about the education, health and care (EHC) plan process, the Ombudsman identifies issues including long delays in issuing plans and a lack of oversight by senior staff, with some of the most vulnerable children in society not getting the right support at the right time.

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “This report supports our long-term concerns that councils are in danger of being unable to meet their statutory duties for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

“While we are pleased the Government has announced an additional £700 million for children with SEND, without certainty over funding for the future the situation will get worse as the number of children who need support continues to increase.

“This is why we are also pleased the Government plans to review the system, and we will work with them to get a clear picture of what more can be done to make sure vulnerable children can get the best support possible.”

The ombudsman’s annual review of social care complaints has shown a slight decrease in the number of complaints and enquiries received – 3,070 in 2018/19 compared with 3,106 in the previous year.

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