The Local Government

The local government and social care ombudsman dropped a bombshell – the services for kids with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are in chaos. Families are waiting for ages – up to 90 weeks – to get the support they need. And to make matters worse, complaints are shooting through the roof.

Complaints Piling Up

Michael King, the ombudsman, spilled the beans – complaints from fed-up parents shot up by 45% in just two years. What’s shocking is that a whopping nine out of 10 complaints were backed by families. It’s pretty obvious that councils are dropping the ball big time when it comes to supporting Send kids.

EHCPs Under the Microscope

King’s report zooms in on families’ struggles to snag an education, health, and care plan (EHCP) for their child, and the shoddy delivery of promised services. An EHCP is a big deal as it spells out a child’s special needs and the help they need.

Councils Buckling Under Pressure

King’s waving a red flag – councils, battered by years of budget cuts, are putting up roadblocks to services to stretch their resources. That means kids with special needs are left behind, and parents are left holding the bag.

System in Crisis

Let’s call a spade a spade – King’s calling this a crisis. He’s sounding the alarm that nearly nine out of 10 investigations into EHCPs are coming out in favor of families. That’s way higher than before and shows there’s something seriously off with the system.

Big Impact, Small Numbers

Sure, the number of complaints might seem small, but King says they paint a big picture of how badly the system’s failing families. Compared to other areas like adult social care, where most complaints don’t go through, the Send situation is a disaster.

Councils Coming Clean

Even the Local Government Association (LGA) is owning up – councils are struggling to meet their duties for Send kids. They’re freaking out about the future as more and more kids need help.

Time for Action

Judith Blake, head of the LGA’s children and young people board, is ringing the alarm bells. She’s glad about the extra cash for Send services and the promise of a system review. But without a solid plan, things are only going to get worse.

Government’s Take

The Department for Education is finally admitting – the system’s not cutting it for every family. They’ve promised a review to fix things up, but it’s clear there’s a long road ahead to sort out this mess.