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Luton Borough Council

Education, Health & Care needs assessment

The Special Educational Needs Assessment Team (SENAT) is responsible for coordinating Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments, overseeing the assessment and planning process, ensuring timely decision making and producing coordinated EHC Plans.

Between September 2014 and April 2018 the team will also be working with parents, schools and other professionals to convert existing statements of SEN into EHC plans in accordance with the Children and Families Act 2014 (Part 3).

Special Education Needs – why a coordinated EHC needs assessment?

Most children and young people with SEN and Disabilities will have their needs met within their local mainstream nurseries, schools and colleges.  However, a small number of children (around 1 in 50 across the country) may need more intensive help or specialist support than can  be provided from the resources that are usually available to the school or setting. The Local Authority then will consider whether an EHC needs assessment is required.
The purpose of the EHC needs assessment is to determine whether an EHC plan is necessary to make the special educational provision that the child or young person needs.

Who can request an EHC needs assessment?

An EHC needs assessment can be requested by you (the child’s parent), by a person acting on behalf of the school or setting that your child attends, or by the child or young person themselves provided  they are over 16 years old and under the age of 25. Children and young people under the age of 19 in Youth Custodial establishments also have the right to request an assessment for an EHC plan. Anyone else who works with your child can tell the Local authority if they think an assessment is needed.
Requests for an EHC needs assessment should be sent to the SENAT team in writing.

What happens next?

Phase 1  – Processing the request (up to 6 weeks)
Requests for an EHC needs assessment are logged onto a data base as soon as the request is received. We will write to you straight away to tell you that we have received the request and that this is being considered.

The request will be considered by the Local Authority’s Moderation Group, made up of representatives from Local Authority services, school staff, the Health Authority and Community Groups.  The Local Authority has six weeks to decide whether an assessment is needed, though we will try to make a decision earlier if this is practical. .
We will write to you with a decision within six weeks of the request being received. If the request is agreed, we will set a date during week 14 to meet with you to discuss the outcomes and support arrangements for your child. If the request is not agreed, we will explain the reasons in wiring and offer you an appointment to meet to discuss the reasons behind the panel decision.
Phase 2 - Seeking advice and information (Weeks 6 – 12 )

We want to ensure that you are able to participate fully in the assessment process. We will therefore identify a key worker who will contact you by telephone within the first few days of the decision being made to talk through the process and to begin to understand your views about your child‘s needs and the outcomes that you would like for them.  The key worker is likely to be an SEN Assessment Officer from the SENAT team, but might also be a professional who is already known to you, such as an Early Years Advisor or Educational Psychologist.
You will also be asked to give your views in writing. In letter that we send to you at the end of week 6, we will have asked you to tell us about your child's strengths and needs so that we can begin to understand what is important to your child and your hopes and aspirations for them.
At the same time, we will also seek advice and information  from -
Your child's school, early years setting or college

  • If your child has a hearing or visual impairment, we will seek advice from a qualified teacher
  • An Educational Psychologist
  • Health care professionals involved with your child or young person
  • Social care advice and information
  • Any other people who have worked with your child (including from year 9 onwards those professionals involved in preparation for transition to adulthood)

Phase 3 – Producing the EHC plan (Week 12 – 16)
Once all the advice has been received, we will hold a meeting with you and the key professionals who have been involved in writing advice, in order to agree the future support arrangements for your child and the desired outcomes.
This meeting will be held in Week 14 - the date will have been set at the beginning of the process when the request was agreed and will have been given to you and to involved professionals in the letter sent giving the decision at week 6.
The Assessment office will have populated some parts of the plan prior to the meeting, but the outcomes and provision will be agreed at the meeting so that we achieve a co-ordinated response against agreed outcomes.
Following the co-ordination meeting, the Assessment officer will complete a draft EHC Plan and this will be taken to the Statutory Provisions and Assessment Group (SPAG) panel for approval. The panel considers:

  • Whether the Local Authority should issue an EHC Plan for your child;
  • What that EHC Plan should provide.
By Week 16 you will either receive a draft EHC Plan for your child, or a letter to tell you why the Local Authority has decided not to issue the plan.
Phase 4 – Finalising the EHC plan (Week 20)
We hope that you will be satisfied with the outcome of the assessment and that the draft EHC plan reflects your hopes and aspirations for your child. You will be given 15 days to comment on the plan and you can ask for a meeting to discuss it further if you want one.
The draft EHC plan will not contain the name of the school or setting that your child will attend, but at this point you can request a specific setting or school.  This could be a maintained mainstream or special school. The Local Authority will consult this school on your behalf .
If  the Local Authority has issued an EHC plan and you agree with the contents, we will finalise the plan. The final plan will record the type of setting and the name of the school that  your child will attend .
The final EHC Plan will be issued within 20 weeks of t he request being received.
Your child's needs and progress will then be reviewed at least annually.
What if I am unhappy with the outcome?
If you are not happy with what is happening at any stage, you should contact your named Assessment Officer.
You may also contact the Parent Partnership Service.

If you do not agree with the outcome of an assessment please contact us to discuss this. Your named Assessment Officer will meet you to explain exactly how the decision has been taken. /div> div>If you do not agree with the wording or contents of a plan please phone or write to us. Your named Assessment Officer will meet you to discuss this. Very often, these difficulties can be resolved quite easily.
If you are still not in agreement you have the right to appeal to an independent Tribunal, called the SEN and Disability Tribunal. You can get information about this tribunal from us, from the Parent Partnership Service or directly from the Tribunal Office (the address is also provided at the end of this document).
You can appeal to the SEND Tribunal when:-

  • the Local Authority decides not carry our an EHC needs assessment of your child
  • the Local Authority decides not to draw up an EHC plan for your child following an assessment
  • you do not agree with the parts of the plan that describe your child’s special educational needs
  • you do not agree with the special educational provision set out in the plan
  • you do not agree with the school or setting named in the plan
  • the Local Authority decides not to amend the plan after a review or re-assessment
  • the Local Authority decides to cease to maintain your child’s plan
The Local Authority provides an independent  mediation service which is specifically linked to decisions about EHC needs assessments and plans. You will need to contact the medication service if you are thinking about appealing to the tribunal as you will need a mediation certificate to confirm that you have engaged in medication, or have considered mediation, in order to register an appeal.
Parents, schools and the Council also have access to a Disagreement Resolution Service. This service provides an independent person who will aim to help the parties reach an agreement. If you decide to use the Disagreement Resolution Service you may also go to the Tribunal at the same time.
Luton Borough Council uses ‘KIDS’ for disagreement resolution and mediation.
If you would like more information please contact the Parent Partnership Service on Luton (01582) 548156.

Useful addresses

SEN Code of Practice July 2014  (DfE  - 00547-2014)
Useful downloads 

Special Educational Needs and Disability
HM Courts and Tribunal Service
Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates Court
Telephone 01325 289350 or email [email protected]
KIDS London SEN Mediation Service
7-9 Elliots Place
London N1 8HX
Telephone - 0207 – 359 - 3635


Contact info
SEN assessment team
Luton Council, Leagrave Centre, Strangers Way, Luton, LU4 9ND
Tel: 01582 548187

[email protected]


© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ