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National Trial: Online Toolkit

This page contains information and guidance for the National Trial only, which ended on 31st August 2021. To access post-national trial resources on the extended powers SEND Tribunal which took effect from 1st September 2021 please click the link here.

Ministerial Announcement on the Outcome of the National Trial:

On 20th July 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) confirmed the extended powers given to the SEND Tribunal to hear appeals and make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, provided those appeals also included education elements, will continue.

The National Trial ended as planned on 31st August 2021 and the extended powers given to the SEND Tribunal will continue.

This decision has been taken following the conclusion of the independent evaluation of the National Trial. The independent evaluation considered the impact of the trial on value for money on the public purse; the experiences and outcomes of families; and impacts on Local Authorities (LAs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The evaluation has been published in full on Extended powers SEND tribunal: national trial - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Guidance on the current extended powers and duties that will continue, is available to view: The Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017 (legislation.gov.uk).

Guidance:

Guidance for local authorities, health commissioners, parents and young people - Updated November 2020

This guide was for all local authorities, health commissioning bodies and parents and young people in England, who from the 3 April 2018 took part in a national trial to extend the powers of the First-tier Tribunal SEND to make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. The guidance was also used to inform advice that Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS) and others provide to parents and young people.

The guidance set out the extended powers and duties in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017. It explained how the appeal process will work, what happens if recommendations are not followed and the support available for commissioners and families. This guidance was also published on GOV.UK. at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extended-powers-send-tribunal-national-trial.

Summary for local areas explaining the key elements of the national trial - Updated November 2020

This short document set out the context, aims and objectives of the trial, and provided a helpful summary of the responsibilities of local authority SEND teams, health and social care commissioners, and the support available.

Summary for parents and young people explaining the key elements of the national trial - Updated June 2020

This short document set out the aims of the trial and what it means for parents and young people. This included the support available for parents and young people.

Tribunal guidance on presenting evidence

The Tribunal Service provided guidance for how to prepare and present written evidence during the tribunal process. It set out what information should be included, how to prepare the bundle and how to submit supplementary or late evidence.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/739230/send40-eng.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions - Updated November 2020

This document was developed for local authority SEND teams, health and social care commissioners, parents, and young people, to help answer some of the more frequently asked questions about the national trial.

Tools and Templates:

Summary presentation slide on the national trial - Updated November 2020

This is a summary presentation slide that was used for briefing teams. It included the context, aims and objectives of the trial, responsibilities of local authority SEND teams, health and social care commissioners, and the support available

Sample local offer wording for local authorities - Updated June 2020

Example wording local authorities used to populate their local offers. It is a statutory requirement that all local authorities include information on the extended rights of parents as part of the national trial within their local offers.

Sample decision letter checklist and summary wording for local authorities - Updated June 2020

A decision letter checklist which acted as a guide to support local authorities to amend or create the necessary decision letters in a compliant manner, along with summary wording on the trial to include. It is a statutory requirement that all local authorities include information on the extended powers of the Tribunal in their decision letters.

Sample letter template for drafting responses to recommendation letters

A response letter template with sample wording to provide a consistent structure for drafting responses to recommendation letters for health and social care commissioners.

The Council for Disabled Children’s advice for Education, Health and Care Plans

The purpose of these documents was to support local authorities to set up processes that facilitate getting good health and social care advice and can be found at https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/help-resources/resources/education-health-and-care-plans-examples-good-practice.

Appeal forms

Appeal forms which are required to be completed and sent to the SEND Tribunal if parents or young people wish to appeal can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Ministerial Communications:

18 June 2020: Ministerial letter from DfE announcing the extension of the national trial

Ministerial letter from Minister Ford, Parliamentary-Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, announcing the extension of the SEND Tribunal national trial to August 2021.

30 April 2020: Joint ministerial letter from DfE and DHSC announcing temporary changes under the Coronavirus Act 2020

Joint ministerial letter from Minister Ford, Parliamentary-Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and Minister Whately, Minister of State for Care, to all children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers regarding temporary changes to the law in relation to Education, Health and Care plans.

4 November 2019: Ministerial letter from DfE announcing the extension of the national trial to August 2020

Letter from Michelle Donelan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of Children and Families, outlining the extension of the single route of redress national trial until 31 August 2020.

3 April 2018: Joint ministerial letter from DfE and DHSC announcing the launch of the national trial

Letter from Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care, written to Directors of Children’s Services, Directors of Adult Social Services and Chief Nurses or their equivalent in Clinical Commissioning Groups announcing the start of the SEND Tribunal single route of redress national trial.

Contact support details:

If you have any queries please email national.trial@education.gov.uk.