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 County 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 and EHCP following an annual review meeting.

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 at the setting would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources
    This applies both in the EHCP 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 TeamEducation RepresentativesHealth RepresentativesSocial Care RepresentativesOther
Strategic Managers

Operational Managers

Senior Assessment and Reviewing Officers

Assessment and Reviewing Officers
Senior Educational Psychologist

Head of the Virtual School

Area SENCOs

Head Teachers (mainstream and specialist settings)

Additional Learning Needs Strategic Managers
Designated Medical Officers

Designated Clinical Officers
Early Help Assessment Officers

Team Manager
Local authority finance officer

Local authority panel administrator

Specialist Commissioning Officer for transport

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Education, Health and Care plans and school placements

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