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Section: Education

Subsection: Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans

EHC Assessment Timescales

What are the timescales for EHC plans?

There are a number of timescales set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice which Local Authorities and other organisations must adhere to. These are called the statutory timescales.

The whole process, from the point when an assessment is requested until the final EHC plan is issued, must take no more than 20 weeks (there are some exemptions to this such as school holiday dates - see the Code of Practice for these).

The EHC Assessment and preparation of the plan must be completed as soon as possible. If you agree, it may be possible to carry out steps much more quickly than the statutory timescales, but you should not be put under pressure to agree things more quickly than you feel comfortable with.

Local authorities must tell you whether they will carry out an EHC needs assessment within a maximum of 6 weeks from when they receive the request for one.

When local authorities request information from others as part of the EHC needs assessment process (such as therapists or doctors), they must respond within a maximum of 6 weeks from the date of the request.

If a local authority decides, following an EHC needs assessment, not to issue an EHC plan, they must inform you within a maximum of 16 weeks from the date of the request for an EHC needs assessment. They should also give reasons for this decision and advice for what steps to take next. In Portsmouth, if a decision not to issue an EHC plan is given, they will offer to meet with you and school to discuss ways forward and help build a comprehensive Support and Achievement Plan (SAP).

If a draft EHC plan is issued, you must be given at least 15 days to give your views on this and say what school or setting you would like your child or young person to attend.

The final EHC plan must be issued within the 20 week overall time limit.