The teams within SEND Services are responsible for carrying out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) and also for preparing and issuing the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan if it is decided that one is needed. Once a child or young person has an EHC plan one of the area teams will continue to be involved with the maintenance of it until it ceases, or the young person becomes 25.
EHCP – Education, health and care plans.
SEND Services has two Group managers, who, between them, oversee the Assessment and Area Teams.
There are four Area Teams, two who cover the North of the county, and their group manager is Charlotte Krivosic and two for the South, with Lucy Hall as their group manager (who also manages the Assessment Team).
The area teams are responsible for writing and issuing new EHC plans, and also for their ongoing maintenance, including any updates or revisions following an annual review.
Each area team has a manager, a senior case work officer along with a number of case work officers. They are all supported by a small team of administration workers and business support officers. If you call the SEND Services helpline, it will be someone from the administration support team who will initially answer your call and try to help you.
Call the SEND Services helpline: 01905 845579
Call the North Area team: 01905 845134
Call the South Area team: 01905 843125
The Assessment team is responsible for any requests for a statutory assessment, or the education, health and care needs assessment (EHCNA). They respond to any requests and undertake the initial work of a needs assessment, including deciding whether to assess or not and gathering evidence if needed. The EHC needs assessment timeline below, shows the time periods for each stage of the assessment process: EHC Needs Assessment timeline (PDF)
The Assessment team comes under Lucy Hall and is made up of a team manager and senior case work officer. They are supported by a small administration team of administrators and business support officers, who will be your first contact if you call the service.
There is also SEND Tribunal case work officer and business support officer who deal with cases which are going to Tribunal.
SEND Case Officer roles and responsibilities
SEND Case Officers oversee Education, Health, and Care plans (EHC plan) for a caseload of children and young people aged 0 to 25 yrs. They work in partnership with families, education settings, health, and social care services.
The SEND Case Officer is the Local Authority's point of contact for children, young people and their families who have an EHCP or where an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) is being undertaken.
The SEND Case Officer carries out comprehensive casework and oversight of a caseload of children and young people with EHC plans in place or going through assessment, in accordance with the requirements of the Children's and Families Act 2014 and the SEN Code of Practice 2015. On average Case Officers hold a caseload of 170 to 230 children and young people.
Tasks carried out by SEND Case Officers
- collating information, advice/reports from families, settings and professionals about children and young people going through an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) or where there is a request for a change in provision
- submitting information, advice/reports to relevant panels to enable decision making
- combining the advice, reports and information gathered through assessment to create the initial EHC plan, where this is agreed, in collaboration with the family, child or young person and professionals
- communicating the decisions made at panels to families and professionals involved with the child or young person. This includes supporting the young person and/or their family to understand the rationale for the decision and what happens next.
- attending EHC plan reviews where required and appropriate. Case Officers are not decision-makers, but they will record what is said so that it can be submitted to the relevant panel who will make recommendations on decisions. They can also provide information and sign posting to further support where needed
- processing annual reviews, submitting the case to the relevant panel where needed and issuing a response/decision on whether the plan will be maintained as it is, amended or ceased
- amending an EHC plan where there is agreement to do so
- consulting directly with schools and colleges as well as liaising with the Commissioning Team to secure placements for children or young people where a change of placement is needed
- liaising with families, professionals, and education/training providers about all aspects of the EHCNA and EHC plan if agreed.
- dealing with any work that arises throughout the statutory processes and the life of the EHC plan, for example requesting updated advice from professionals
How do I contact my Case Officer?
You can contact a Case Officer by phone or email. If you do not have the contact information for your Case Officer, you can contact the SEND Area Team Directly by phone or email.
North Worcestershire Teams, for example, Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest, and Redditch
Telephone: 01905 845134
South Worcestershire Teams, for example, Worcester, Wychavon, and Malvern.
Telephone: 01905 843 125
What happens if a Case Officer is on holiday or off sick? Who takes over in the interim and how is this communicated to parents?
The Case Officer's line manager oversees the case work and will ensure urgent work is covered when one of their Case Officers is absent. They will decide how to cover the case work dependent on the length of time a Case Officer is away from work and whether this is planned or not.
If a Case Officer is absent unexpectedly any urgent actions will be dealt with by the Senior Case Work Officer. If a Case Officer will be away for a longer period, their work may be temporarily reallocated to a specific Case Officer to oversee. In the case of a reallocation the Case Officer taking over will advise the family and school of this where appropriate.
Where a Case Officer is on planned leave, dependent on the length of this, they will manage their work to take account of their leave. If there is active case work underway the Case Officer will advise those involved, including families, of their intended absence and who is covering their work where applicable.
The Business Support Officer or Administration Officer takes any telephone queries for Case Officers who are not in work.
Why might the Case Officer be unavailable?
As Case Officers spend a considerable proportion of their working week in meetings, they are not always available to speak to immediately. We understand how frustrating it can be if you can’t speak to your case worker when you call due to them being unavailable because of meetings and other commitments.
We have increased the number of people who answer the calls in the first instance, and it maybe that they can answer some of the queries that you have. However, we do realise that in most cases you are looking for an update from your case worker. We need to ensure there is a balance between the time case workers are on the phone and doing their other case work, so we have introduced a new system which we are calling Phone Surgery Appointments.
The phone surgery system means that if you contact the office and your case worker is not available, a time for a call back from them will be agreed and booked.
Case workers have allocated time in their diaries each week for these phone surgeries. Whoever answers your call will be able to see these surgery slots and discuss with you what is the best time and day for you.
Once a time has been agreed details of your query will be taken and they will book a 15-minute appointment in the case worker’s calendar. You will then know when you can expect your call back and case workers will have the time allotted in their virtual diary.
If you are continually struggling to get responses from a Case Officer, you can escalate this to their manager.
What training do Case Officers receive and what understanding of SEND do they have?
We have a robust recruitment process which ensures we employ the best candidate for the job. We expect all Case Officers to have knowledge and understanding of the SEND system and law and preferably have some experience of SEND.
Once employed Case Officers complete an induction programme including mandatory training which is relevant to their role. On going learning and development also takes place for example IPSEA training.
Who is responsible for oversight of Case Officers?
Within the four area teams Case Officers are line managed by the Area SEN manager. The area manager reports to the Group Manager who reports to the Director of the service. All Case Officers have regular supervision with their line manager or the Senior Case Work Officer, where they will receive specific guidance on their case work.
All-Age Disability Directorate staffing structure
To keep our SEND families informed we regularly update the SEND team information in the document below to reflect any changes.