EHCPs during COVID-19

Temporary changes to Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments and plans

On 1st May 2020 the government announced temporary changes to the law on Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments and plans. This is to give local authorities, health commissioning bodies, education settings and others who contribute to these processes more flexibility in responding to the demands placed on them by coronavirus.

These changes will expire as planned on 25 September 2020. The normal statutory timescales will apply from that date. 

The DfE have published a minor update to Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus to reflect this.

Changes include

  • The duty on local authorities or health commissioning bodies to secure or arrange the special educational provision and health care provision in accordance with EHC plans is temporarily modified to a duty to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to do so.
  • There will also be changes in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Regulations, temporarily amending the statutory timescales for various EHC needs assessment and plan processes. The timescales are replaced with a duty to complete the relevant action as “soon as reasonably practicable”.

The guidance provides a summary of these legislative changes and sets out the key implications. It also confirms which key elements of the processes relating to EHC needs assessments and plans are unchanged.