When a request for a Education, Health and Care needs assessment is received, the local authority must consider the information carefully and make their decision according to the legislation.

An Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment may be required for children and young people with SEND aged 0 to 25 if the following apply.

The child or young person:

  • Has severe and/or complex long- term needs
  • Requires provision and resources which are above those ordinarily available in their educational setting
  • Requires intensive and longer- term help and support from more than one agency
  • Is making limited or no educational progress, despite evidence of high levels of support and purposeful interventions

The local authority will have regard for the two-part legal test as outlined below.


The local authority must secure an EHC needs assessment for the child or young person if, after having regard to any views expressed and evidence submitted under subsection 7 the authority is the opinion that:

  • The child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and
  • It may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan (Children and Families Act 2014, section 36)

On receipt of a request, an Assessment and Reviewing Officer (ARO) from the Statutory SEND Team will contact the young person or the parent or carer to complete an initial phone call. Through this contact the ARO will make sure all relevant information has been received and will make sure that they understand the child or young person’s education, health and care needs. The ARO will also explain the assessment process.

The ARO may also contact the educational setting for more relevant information. The local authority will consider the information provided at the Statutory SEND Panel and a decision to assess or not will be made in accordance with the legislation.

The local authority must decide and communicate the decision to the child’s parent or carer, or the young person within 6 weeks of receiving the request.

If the decision is not to carry out an assessment the young person or the parent or carer will be told about the reasons why and will be given information on how to appeal this decision if they wish to do so.

If the local authority agrees to carry out an assessment, relevant professionals from education, health and social care will be approached and will be asked to provide information and advice in relation to the child or young person’s needs. The young person, or parents or carers will be contacted by relevant teams to complete assessments or to get more information to provide the best information and advice. All advice givers must have 6 weeks to complete and return their advice to the local authority.

After no more than 16 weeks from when the request first arrived at the local authority, the ARO will inform the family about the panel’s decision on whether to proceed with creating an EHCP. Where the decision is made to issue a plan, a draft EHC plan will be sent to families – who have 15 days to review it and suggest any necessary changes. The name of the educational setting will be left blank on the draft plan, as it is only at this point where parents or families can be asked for their preference on this matter.

Stages of the EHCP Assessment Process

Find more information on how families can track the progress of their EHC assessment

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How to find out the progress of an EHC needs assessment

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The Statutory SEND Team – Helping you through the EHC Plan process