We are able to report that we are seeing significant progress in terms of improving timeliness of completing EHC plans within 20 weeks. In May, the SEND team completed 79% of plans due in May on time and they have already completed 48% of those due in June. This is from a benchmark of only 9% in January and takes account of the increasing number of needs assessments we continue to receive. The team are committed to maintain and further improve timeliness with capacity and systems now in place to ensure this level of performance is sustained.
There are currently only 17 EHC needs assessments that are over 20 weeks and we have plans in place that should ensure these are all completed in June. I appreciate if you are one of the cases where we are still outside timescales this can still be frustrating but I am confident where this is the case the length of time overdue is only a short period and communication with you during this period will be much improved.
In addition, we no longer have significant issues of outstanding requests for Educational Psychology ( EP ) assessments. There are currently only 5 cases where the Educational Psychology advice has not been received within the 6 weeks that the EP service are required to provide the advice.
Next steps for timeliness
Needs assessments are timelier however there are still some delays in annual reviews. We are establishing additional capacity to ensure that this is addressed and also reviewing the policy and practice in relation to annual reviews which will ensure clearer information is available for everyone.
We have been making progress in terms of quality but we will now be stepping up our work in this area. In terms of progress we have introduced a set of minimum requirements and asked plan writers to ensure a peer review takes place of draft reports against this set of minimum standards. In addition, all advice givers have put in place initial quality assurance arrangements so that we get better quality advice. We are being provided with Peer Support in this area from Wigan Local Authority so have some external moderation of our quality journey.
Next steps for quality
We want to hold some workshops in the Autumn so that education, health and care professionals along with parents and young people come together to further develop our quality framework and ensure shared understanding of what ‘Good’ looks like in Cheshire East.
We will also be further strengthening the co production of plans, which will become more achievable as capacity will now be moved to make sure this happens more effectively.
We will continue to provide rigorous oversight, support and challenge to ensure we have a SEND service which is effective and timely in meeting children’s needs.