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Norfolk council rapped over education plans for children

Watchdogs have rapped Norfolk County Council for delays in getting essential plans in place for children with disabilities and special educational needs.
meals school education

Watchdogs have rapped Norfolk County Council for delays in getting essential plans in place for children with disabilities and special educational needs.

It comes as an annual report revealed the results of Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigations launched after complaints about the actions of Norfolk County Council.

The ombudsman conducted 30 investigations into County Hall between April 2022 to March 2023 and upheld 18 (60pc).

A third of upheld complaints related to delays in the authority issuing education health and care plans (EHCP).

Those plans are a formal acknowledgment of a child’s special educational needs and disabilities, which lay out the support they need.

But in 2022, the county council had only put plans in place for 53pc of youngsters within the 20-week government target – below the national average.

The ombudsman investigations found instances when the authority was at fault for delays in sorting plans, with the council ordered to pay hundreds of pounds in compensation.

In 2020, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission raised “significant concerns about the effectiveness” in special educational needs and disabilities services in Norfolk, including the speed of getting plans in place.

In February, inspectors said County Hall leaders had acted “with determination” to address the issue, with private educational psychologists brought in to reduce delays and cut a backlog.

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