Snap Care - cease to maintain education, health and care plans (EHCPS)

I spoke with SNAP Care on 9 February 2022 about EHCPs, and what you need to know about when a Plan can be ceased, and when one is ceased, by the local authority (LA).

Here are some of the questions and answers:

  1. If a young person (YP) reaches 19 years old and they have an EHCP, does that mean the EHCP has to stop?

No – there is no automatic rule that means an EHCP is to cease once a YP has turned 19 years old. The EHCP should continue to remain in place and be reviewed at least annually.

EHCPs can remain in force until a YP is 25 years old so. It will depend on the individual circumstances when it is appropriate for an EHCP to cease.

  1. When can a LA cease an EHCP?

In one of these scenarios:

  • The LA must determine it is no longer necessary for EHCP to be maintained, or;
  • The LA is no longer responsible for the YP:
  • YP leaves education and takes up paid employment. Note this does not include apprenticeships which can be supported by EHCPs;
  • YP goes into higher education;
  • YP over 18 leaves education and does not wish to engage in further learning;
  • YP moved to new LA and this LA then becomes responsible.

If the LA feels the EHCP is no longer necessary, they need to consider:

  • if the Section E outcomes have been met;
  • if the YP needs the EHCP still to access the provisions in Section F;
  • if  the YP staying in education would help them to achieve the outcomes;
  • the YP wants to stay in education to complete/consolidate learning;
  • the YP’s progress/provision in the EHCP;
  • whether vocational skills/life skills/learning skills will make a significant difference to the YP;
  1. What is the process a LA must follow if they want to cease an EHCP?

They must first inform and consult with YP/parents and the placement named that they are considering ceasing to maintain the EHCP. If, after a consultation, the LA still wishes to cease the EHCP, then they need to confirm in writing about their plan to do so – this is known as a ‘cease to maintain notice’. The LA needs to set out the reasons why they want to cease the EHCP. This ‘cease to maintain notice’ must be issued within four weeks of an Annual Review of the EHCP.

  1. What can parents/YP do if they do not agree with the LA’s decision to cease the EHCP?

They can appeal to the SEND Tribunal following the LA’s decision to cease the EHCP after consultation.

The EHCP will remain in place (including attendance at the placement named in Section I), and must continue to be delivered as written until either one of these happens:

  • Timeframe to lodge an appeal expires, or;
  • The conclusion of an appeal.

If they do appeal, they can also challenge the content of the EHCP, if necessary, as well as the LA’s proposal to cease the Plan.

  1. What needs to happen ahead of an EHCP ceasing and YP moving into the next stage of their life?

The LA, and all professionals involved with the YP, will need to consider what is available for them without an EHCP. LAs need to provide clear information about support for health and social care/continuing studies in adult or higher education. See a LA’s local offer on their website.

Remember that good exit planning is crucial. Any plans for a YP whose EHCP is to be ceased need to be made in good time and to provide for a smooth transition into next stage of YP’s life.

I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved. 

James' mother, Boyes Turner client

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