Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Proposed decision –
Commence formal procurement activity to tender for additional Educational Psychologist capacity, award a contract and develop robust contract management for oversight of the contract performance.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) services in Kent remain subject to a Written Statement of Action (WSOA) following the inspection of the Local Area in January 2019 which identified weaknesses in nine key areas. One of those areas was the ability of the Local Authority to deliver Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) in a timely manner and to an agreed quality, meeting statutory duties to provide educational psychology assessment advice for all children for whom the Local Authority was carrying out an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.
In July 2020, the figures indicated that only 29% of EHCPs were delivered in line with statutory timescales, a key determinant being the provision of educational psychology advice within a six week timescale.
In 2020, an external provider was commissioned to provide additional capacity for the educational psychology (EP) advice necessary for education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment under the duties set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. This has reduced the number of initial assessments waiting over 20 weeks and brought Kent County Council closer to meeting its statutory duty. The volume of requests for EHC needs assessment remains high and capacity to provide EP assessment advice remains dependent on the additional capacity of locum agency EP provision.
The contract with the current provider ends on 30 November 2022, the proposal is to recommission a service with no break in provision with a new service in place from 1 December 2022.
The Council is seeking the provision of high-quality locum support to complete statutory assessments in accordance with the template provided by the local authority and within designated time scales. Ongoing support to the service will be provided, through the award of a contract to a third-party provider, to significantly reduce the likelihood of a future backlog.
As Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, I agree to:
A. Scope and develop a specification for a commissioned service to provide additional capacity for the provision of Educational Psychology services
B. Commence a procurement to tender for a service, award a contract and develop robust contract management for oversight of the contract performance.
C. Delegate authority for the Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Cabinet Member, to award a contract and implement the Decision.
Publication date: 08/06/2022
Date of decision: 08/06/2022
Effective from: 16/06/2022