The support we provide through this package includes:
- 100 hours of support which can be used flexibly and in the following areas:
- telephone and written advice on general SEN queries
- advice on individual SEND appeals
- drafting letters and documents in response to parental queries or complaints
- drafting documents on a range of SEN issues
- attending meetings to provide advice
- Free copies of our quarterly SEN Brief for one year; this sets out developments in the law which officers need to be aware of
The SEND Advisory Package costs £8,000.00 per annum. A 5% discount off of the package is provided to SEN Members.
We provide full management of an appeal, including:
- Providing initial advice on the merits of the appeal.
- Attendance at case planning meeting with SEN Officers to discuss the case and what evidence is required.
- Drafting and preparation of documents, including case statements and witness statements.
- Liaising with SEN Officers on the conduct of the appeal and the preparation of evidence – i.e. the preparation of expert reports and reports from school.
- Liaising with parental representatives in respect of the appeal.
- Liaising with the Tribunal and dealing with all case management.
- Supporting the preparation of the local authority’s evidence.
- Pre-Tribunal meeting with witnesses.
- Representation at the hearing or arranging representation from Counsel.
- Post hearing written review.
These services are provided in accordance with the following rates, which are competitively priced:
- Solicitor Advocate £150.00 per hour.
- Senior Solicitor £120.00 per hour
- Solicitor £100.00 per hour
- Trainee Solicitor £85.00 per hour
- Paralegal £75.00 per hour
Our fees our discounted by 5% for SEN Members.
At the commencement of a case, we would provide an initial estimate of costs so that you have some idea of the likely legal cost involved overall in resolving the matter. As the case progresses, we will provide you with regular cost updates.
Where counsel is instructed, we are able to secure competitive rates from leading chambers, ensuring that at all stages of the process you have the best representation possible.
What Support We Provide
Every health check is different and depends entirely on the local authority. However, a typical audit may involve the following:
- We will meet with your senior SEN Managers and agree a brief for the audit; we will set a timescale for completing the audit.
- We will attend your offices and undertake the audit which may involve:
- Observing several SEN Panel meetings
- Considering a random selection of Statements of Special Educational Needs
- Considering a random selection of annual reviews
- Considering a random selection of case files
- Providing a questionnaire for officers to complete so as to establish the level of SEN awareness
- Liaison with Parent Partnership, which can provide useful feedback on how parents perceive the service
- Consider the number of SEN Appeals and the nature of the appeals
- Liaison with a selected pool of local schools to obtain their feedback on how they perceive the service. We will prepare a preliminary report setting out our findings and recommendations
- We will undertake any remedial action required on your behalf or provide you with the guidance to do it
We have experience undertaking a number of SEN Health Checks for a number of authorities, in particular:
- Establishing SEND appeal services for a London Borough and eastern county resulting in better preparation of appeals, legal support for officers and improving outcomes at the tribunal
- Reviewing the SEN panel procedures for a London Borough and suggesting new terms of reference to reduce the bureaucracy of the process and implementing new decision-making procedures to ensure that decisions are taken with legal considerations in mind and recorded more transparently
- Establishing an appeal system for parents to appeal against SEN transport decisions, where the local authority has declined to provide transport for a child with a Statement of Special Educational Needs
- Reviewing the specificity and quantification of Statements and undertaking staff training so that officers are confidently able to draft Statements; this reduced the Council’s reliance on external consultants
The SEN Health Check is available either via our daily agreed rate or via a fixed fee, tailored to your own individual needs. Our daily rate is £450.00 per day. The level of fixed fee will depend on the nature of the agreed brief but can range from £2,000 to £10,000. Our fees for conducting any work under this package are discounted by 5% for SEN Members.