Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats were shocked at the findings of a recent Judicial Review which exposed the failure of the Conservative-led County’s SEND service to both recognise that a child should be given an Education Health and Care Plan, and when eventually agreeing to one being prepared, failed to ensure its completion until 3 months after the statutorily required 20 week deadline. The Judge said in his summary when dealing with requests for EHCPs that Herts County Council had:
“… conceded 79 out of 91 appeals in 2021/22. That suggests that, in the case of parents who sought to exercise their right of appeal … the Local Authority accepted that it had made an erroneous decision in 86% of cases” and “The approach demonstrated [in this letter] was not consistent with a public authority that recognised the seriousness of having breached its legal obligations and was determined to remedy them as quickly as possible.”
It is also of particular concern that the council argued to the court that it was not in breach of its statutory duties when it knew that it was.
“This case has revealed a service that was in chaos and instead of carrying out its duty and responsibility for the young people in its community, in its confusion became heartless and cruel. The defence it presented confirmed the picture revealed in the latest OFSTED review which found it to be inadequate.
“Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats will do everything in our power to see this service is transformed into the child-centred and caring service it must be. There is absolutely no excuse that the most vulnerable members of our society should be abandoned in this way.”, said County Councillor Mark Watkin, Opposition spokesperson for Education.”