(UK) Worcester: Local govts fight parents over providing for SPED needs

Dec 31, 2018, Worcester News: Worcestershire County Council spent £163,750 fighting families of children with special needs MORE than £160,000 [$200K US dollars] has been spent by Worcestershire County Council on battling legal cases involving children with special needs. Between January 2017 and August 2018, the county council paid £163,750 to legal firms fighting special educational needs and disability (SEND) cases on its behalf. It is understood that these disputes relate to education, health and care plans (EHCPs), which are required before a child can attend a special needs school or receive extra funding. The council said it reaches agreements with the majority of families who complain about EHCPs, although in some instances the cases go through a legal process. Louise Hunt, who spent £17,000 on lawyers in her battle to get a plan for her son. ... She said the council agreed to assess Noah, who has autism and other disorders, ahead of a tribunal which was then cancelled. However, the council later refused to provide her boy with a plan. Mrs Hunt appealed this decision and came up against the legal firm Baker Small, which had been employed by the council. According to the BBC, Worcestershire County Council spent £302,000 on Baker Small between 2010 and 2016.... "There are a number of cases where the issues are complex and where specialist legal advice and support is required. ... The Advertiser previously reported that the county council was placing unlawful demands on parents seeking EHCPs for their children.