SEND children and young people

Councils are calling for clarity regarding the removal or relaxation of statutory duties set out in the Coronavirus Act as the Local Government Association (LGA) says many local authorities are struggling to provide support for children with disabilities and special needs.

According to the LGA, despite councils working hard to continue supporting SEND children and young people, the impact of school closures, staff sickness and coronavirus demand on resources is straining their capabilities to deliver support.

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “In these difficult times, councils and their partners are trying to do all they can to support children with special educational needs and their families.

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“With stretched resources and competing demands during the coronavirus crisis, this has become increasingly challenging and has made current statutory timeframes unrealistic to meet.”

The LGA reports that difficulty in delivering support set out in Education, Health and Care Plans (ECHP) has led to many councils finding themselves challenged by parents.

In response, councils and their partners say they need greater flexibility to meet the needs of children with EHCPs and is urging the Department for Education to urgently set out its definition of “reasonable endeavours” that takes account of the pressures that councils are under in delivering support.

The call follows the passing of the government’s Coronavirus Act which allows for the temporary removal or relaxation of statutory provisions, including those relating to EHCPs and duties set out in the Care Act.

“It is vital that the Government urgently sets out the flexibility it intends to give councils so they can try and ensure all those on EHCPs continue to receive the best possible support,” added Cllr Blake.

The LGA says that a collaborative effort between councils, government and parents is needed to ensure there is a “common-sense approach to meeting the needs of special needs children during the coronavirus crisis. This may mean a child or young person’s provision may differ temporarily from what is set out in their EHCP.”

The request for clarity of easements comes as a number of services set out for those with disabilities have been scaled back or stopped in the wake of the pandemic.

Recently, the Chief Executives of CECOPS and Simple Stuff Works raised concerns over NHS guidance to CCG bosses to stop lower and medium priority work relating to wheelchairs, prosthetics and other vital assistive technology during the crisis.

https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/disabled_child_equipment.jpg?fit=1000%2C677&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/disabled_child_equipment.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Calvin BarnettCoronavirus NewsCOVID-19 Sector NewsGovernment & Local AuthoritiesNewsroomSector NewsCECOPS,Coronavirus Act,Councils,disabled children,easements,Education Health and Care Plan,EHCP,LGA,local authorities,relaxation,SEND,Simple Stuff WorksCouncils are calling for clarity regarding the removal or relaxation of statutory duties set out in the Coronavirus Act as the Local Government Association (LGA) says many local authorities are struggling to provide support for children with disabilities and special needs.According to the LGA, despite councils working hard to...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals