A Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats revealed that Derbyshire County Council successfully defended just 4.35% of cases where Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) were disputed for Special Educational Needs and Disability provision in 2018.
EHCPs are for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support. The plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs. So they are designed to identify essential support for some of the most vulnerable in our communities.
Ross Shipman, the Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for N-E Derbyshire, said: “It’s absolutely terrible. The Tory controlled council are failing the most vulnerable children in Derbyshire; and in the vast majority of cases the courts are finding against them.
“In 2017, only 7.92% of the cases were successfully defended by Derbyshire County Council and in 2018 this figure fell to 4.35% – this highlights the extent of Derbyshire County Council’s failings in Children’s Services since the Tories took over.
“Of course the biggest unknown is how many parents chose not to dispute the EHCP. These figures could just be the tip of the iceberg.”
Derbyshire County Council has paid almost £38,000 pounds to legal firms defending their decisions since the Tories took control in May 2017.
Ross continued; “Despite having such a poor record in 2017, the Council continued throwing away money trying to defend the indefensible; and it’s still continuing. Already this year there are 31 cases waiting for a Tribunal Hearing. We need Cllr Alex Dale [Cabinet Member for Children’s Services] to instruct a full review into these failings and to actually start doing his job to protect vulnerable children across Derbyshire.”
You can join the Liberal Democrats campaign to improve Derbyshire’s Children’s Services by visiting www.libdems,org.uk/join