EHC pathway boosted by £45 million additional funding for local authorities

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a further fund of £45 million for local authorities. This latest package is intended to support councils as they continue transforming Education, Health and Care planning for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Since the introduction of The Children & Families Act (2014) and the SEN Code of Practice (2014), local authorities have been implementing new processes and pathways to support children and young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities.

At the heart of the new legislation is a vision of collaborative working across Health, Education and Social Care and an engaging person-centred approach to the whole EHC pathway. However, the administrative processes currently in place are a barrier that has left many local authorities challenged with sustaining the volume of work, as well as to meet the statutory time-frames set out by the Code (SEND Code of Practice 2014).

In this latest DfE funding announcement, Minister for Children and Families Robert Goodwill said: “Councils are making encouraging progress, but there is still work to be done to fully embed this improved system across education, health and care sectors.”

The introduction of the reforms has been a period of significant change set against the backdrop of increased demand and challenging budgets for local authorities. In many cases, the DfE’s implementation funding provided to date has been used to employ additional staff to support and subsidise the new process and for the transfer of existing Statements to EHC plans. However, this approach cannot be sustainable in the longer term. A new digital way of working is needed that not only supports the local authority to meet their statutory obligations more efficiently, but also supports the SEND Code’s core principle of the child or young person being at the heart of everything they do.

Idox’s Open Objects has collaborated with a number of local authorities to understand the complexities of this challenge. Working with professionals across education, health and social care – as well as parents, carers and young people – Open Objects has developed a digital-first platform that truly transforms the way in which local authorities work to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and /or Disabilities.

Launched in July 2017, the EHC Hub is an innovative digital platform for families, professionals and education settings to engage, contribute and collaborate on EHC assessments, plans and reviews. To find out more about the EHC Hub and to book a demonstration, please call 01223 422000 or complete the form and one of the Open Objects team will be in touch.