Local authority tribunals over supporting children with disabilities treble in five years

A special report by The Guardian shows an increase in the number of local authorities taken to tribunal by parents and carers for refusing to support children with disabilities. 

  Figures show that local authorities were taken to tribunal 1,186 times during 2014-15 compared to 3,274 times than the period 2018-19 – a three-fold increase in five years. The data in The Guardian’s report, taken from the Freedom of Information Act requests, covers 71 local authorities over periods 2014-15 and 2018-19 in England and Wales. The piece looks at the knock-on effects on the families and children with disabilities of having to wait for support decisions.    The report states that a lack of educational support can lead to wider problems for children with Send. SEND reforms were put in place in September 2014 designed to protect school budgets and extend SEND support from birth to 25. However, the reforms received criticism. Many appeals against councils are resolved before the hearing date but the process can take a long time and prove costly for parents. Some families spoke to The Guardian about the mental strain caused while they waited for support. One organisation taking action over children’s health and social care service is the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) formed In September 2016. This major coalition of more than 70 organisations campaigns for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families. The DCP worked with The Sun to deliver the Give It Back campaign and in October 2019 created its three pillars campaign to provide the government with a solid base to build on to deliver better support and care for disabled children and their families.
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