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EHC: The EHC Process ('At a Glance' Guide) - WNC

EHC: The EHC Process ('At a Glance' Guide) - WNC logo


Stage 1 (Weeks 0-6): Is an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Assessment Needed?

- The education providers,  parents, professionals working with the child/young person, or the young person themselves (aged 16+), makes a request for an EHC assessment to the EHC Team.

- SEN Officers will review the request to decide if it meets criteria for an EHC Assessment.

- If the need for an assessment is agreed, a caseworker will be allocated. They will contact the family to explain the process and offer to arrange for a meeting.

What Happens in Stage 1 for Parents and Carers

- Parents will have already had discussions with their child’s education provider (and the professionals working with their child) to prepare for making the request for an EHC assessment. Parents may have made the request themselves.

- If an assessment is agreed, the caseworker will contact the family to explain the process, arrange a meeting, and agree on what information can be shared.

- If an assessment is not appropriate, parents will be offered a meeting with the SEN Officer to consider other options for support.

- If parents wish to appeal the process at this point, they may choose not to attend a formal mediation meeting but should obtain a mediation certificate. Details around this process (and the independent mediation provider) are included in the letter sent to parents.  Parents may also wish to contact IASS for independent and impartial support and advice.

What Happens in Stage 1 for Professionals?

- Professionals and education providers must ensure that they have discussed with the parents any emerging issues, the child/young person’s needs and resources or strategies in place for helping the child or young person.

- Relevant information and a one-page-profile is sent to EHC Team. This ensures that all relevant information is available in the assessment and helps make sure that parents, children and young people only have to ‘tell it once.’

- The child or young person’s education provider will be told whether an EHC assessment will be carried out. The Clinical Commissioning Group for the child or young person’s GP will also be informed.

Stage 2 (Weeks 1-12): Information Gathering

- The EHC caseworker will be allocated, and they will make contact with the family. The caseworker makes arrangements for any assessments that need to take place to ensure everyone understands the needs of the child or young person. The caseworker will act as a point-of-contact for the family. They will explain timescales, explain the process, and answer any queries throughout the process.

- Relevant agencies carry out the required assessments and hold assessment meetings with the parents and child/young person.

- Assessment meetings will take a person-centred planning approach and will focus on outcomes.

- The caseworker will bring together all the information so it can be reviewed by an SEN Officer.

What Happens in Stage 2 for Parents?

- The EHC caseworker will meet with the family to gather information. This discussion will include what works and what is not working, what needs to change, and the desired outcomes.

- The EHC caseworker will explore the aspirations and outcomes that the family would like, both from the child/young person's views, the parents’ perspective and from other professional assessments.

- The EHC caseworker will explain personal budgets.

- The parents will meet other professionals to co-produce the assessment information.

What Happens in Stage 2 for Professionals?

- Professionals must undertake relevant assessments and:

  • Provide the information required to identify the needs of the child/young person.
  • Identify the resources that are supporting the child/young person already.
  • Identify the outcomes that the school, college, or professionals are working towards with the child/young person. Views about their future will be needed.

- The information provided by professionals for the statutory assessment should be co-produced with the parents, child/ young person.

- Wherever possible, assessment within (and across) agencies should be coordinated to avoid too much disruption for the family.

Stage 3 (Weeks 8-16): Analyse and Agree

The EHC panel reviews all the information and decides whether an EHC Plan is appropriate. The EHC caseworker informs the family of the decision.

If the decision is to not draw up an EHC Plan, the caseworker will contact the family to make them aware of the decision.  The family will receive a formal notification of the decision, and will be offered a 'Way Forward’ meeting.  This will be arranged and chaired by the caseworker. The meeting will include the parents, the child or young person (if considered appropriate), a member of staff from the education setting, and any other relevant professionals. The caseworker will explain the decision, and explore options with the family around support that can be offered through the school and other agencies. The 'Way Forward' meeting does not affect the parents' right to appeal.

Parents have a right to appeal if the decision is to not issue an EHC Plan, after considering formal mediation.

If an EHC Plan is agreed, the caseworker writes the draft plan, which is sent to the family for consideration. They will also be asked if they wish to request a personal budget.* Any health care provision should be agreed in time to be included in the draft EHC plan sent to the child’s parent or to the young person.

A multi-agency meeting with the parents and professionals to discuss the draft document may be arranged and facilitated by the caseworker if required.

*A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the Local Authority to deliver all or some of the provision set out in an EHC Plan.

What Happens in Stage 3 for Parents?

If it's decided that an EHC Plan is not needed:

The work undertaken to assess the child or young person's needs (and outcomes) will be used to support the child/young person. The family will be offered a 'Way Forward’ meeting.

Parents and young people have a right to appeal the decision (via the SEND Tribunal) after considering formal mediation.

If it's decided that an EHC Plan is needed:

The caseworker draws up a draft plan, which is sent to the parents.

What Happens in Stage 3 for Professionals?

If it's decided that an EHC Plan is not needed:

Professionals may be asked to attend a 'Way Forward’ meeting. 

Stage 4 (Weeks 12-20): Finalise Plan

After receipt of the draft plan, parents or the young person can:

  • Contact the caseworker to discuss minor amendments
  • Meet with the SEN Officer to discuss the draft Plan

The indicative personal budget allocation can be discussed.

The draft EHC Plan (along with any amendments agreed) is reissued to parents, and they are invited to identify their preferred school placement.

Parents return the draft to the SEN Officer to consult the requested education placement.

If a personal budget has been requested, the caseworker will work with all agencies to complete the resource allocation system and provide an indicative budget.

What Happens in Stage 4 for Parents?

- The parents or young person either agree the draft Plan or requests changes.

- Parents should notify the caseworker if they wish to request a personal budget. A parent supporter can help with this decision process.

- Following the agreement of the draft Plan, parents will be asked to name a preferred school or education setting. Parents will also be asked to confirm whether they would like a personal budget.

What Happens in Stage 4 for Professionals?

- The caseworker, the SEN Officer, and professionals involved in the assessment will support the parents/young person to finalise the Plan.

  • Brackley Area
  • Daventry Area
  • Northampton Area
  • Towcester Area
  • West Northamptonshire
  • Northamptonshire
Additional languages
Translation and/or Interpreting Available on Request
Age range
Suitable for ages from 0 to 25 years
Referral route
  • Education or School Referral
  • Self Referral
For people with
Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)
Eligibility criteria
  • Age Range - Early Years
  • Age Range - School
  • Age Range - Adulthood
  • Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)
Provider category
Specialist Services - For those who require longer-term support


c/o The EHC Team, West Northamptonshire Council, One Angel Square, Angel Street
United Kingdom


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Last updated 07 June 2024