According to the SEND Code of Practice, all local authorities must set up moderation groups to support transparency in decision-making. Transparency and equity are two values held in high regard by Somerset Council. A multi-agency panel meets to consider statutory decisions as part of the Education Health and Care needs assessment and Annual Review processes.
SEND Statutory Panel makes decisions about the Education Health and Care needs assessment process, particularly whether to agree to continue with a request for an EHC needs assessment and, if agreed, whether to issue a plan or not. The panel also considers a number of requests to amend EHC plans following an annual review meeting.
The placement and Travel Panel makes decisions on placement allocations, travel expenses and any additional resources identified as part of the assessment process or subsequent annual review recommendations. When deciding on a particular educational setting to allocate to a child or young person, the panel must comply with parental preference unless:
- it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or the attendance of the child or young person in the setting would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources. This applies both in the EHC plan process and for change of placement requests occurring post-annual review.
Who is on the SEND Statutory Panel
The SEND Statutory Panel is made up of multi-agency professionals and is always chaired by a local authority senior manager. The panel must have a minimum number of members to meet and make decisions, and all decisions made are recorded and signed off by the chair of the panel.
Panel members may include:
|SEND Team||Education Representatives||Health Representatives||Social Care Representatives||Other|
|Strategic Managers||Senior Educational Psychologist||Designated Medical Officers||Early Help Assessment Officers||Local authority finance officer|
|Operational Managers||Head of the Virtual School||Designated Clinical Officers||Team Manager||Local authority panel administrator|
|Senior Assessment and Reviewing Officers||Area SENCOs||Specialist Commissioning Officer for transport|
|Assessment and Reviewing Officers||Head Teachers (mainstream and specialist settings)|
|Additional Learning Needs Strategic Managers|