Independent (Private) Reports – will they be accepted?

Independent (Private) Reports – will they be accepted?

Should parents pay for independent reports?  Will they be ‘accepted’?

A question often asked in SEN forums.  

… of course the important question is ‘should’ they be accepted.  The answer is absolutely they should.  If, in your case, this is not happening then there are some suggestions about how to handle this at the end.  

It is important that as parents, teachers and other professionals, we give don’t give strength to the inappropriate practice by Local Authorities [LAs] (and others) by supporting the myth that organisations can pick and choose whose diagnosis or recommendations they can ‘go with’.

LAs (and others) cannot pick and choose.  It is not appropriate practice to deny the inclusion in an EHCP private diagnoses or recommendations. If NICE guidance has been followed and the professionals are registered with the appropriate body, then it is not within their gift to pick and choose who they believe.  

The SEND Code of Practice (page 155/156) states:

9.49  “In seeking advice and information, the local authority should consider with professionals what advice they can contribute to ensure the assessment covers all the relevant education, health and care needs of the child or young person. Advice and information must be sought as follows:

  • Advice and information from any person requested by the child’s parent or young person, where the local authority considers it reasonable to do so.”

Those unfortunate enough to have been to tribunal will attest to the fact that private or independent reports are most certainly considered, with equal value, along with the other evidence presented for consideration for inclusion in the EHCP.  

If it is the case that a private diagnosis is ‘not accepted’ or private report ‘not used or accepted’ then I suggest a robust challenge as follows…

“The professionals carrying out this assessment and writing the report and recommendations are appropriately qualified and registered with the xxxxx body. This is documented in the report, transparent and the credibility of this is easy for you to check. The process they followed is consistent with NICE guidance and again this is transparent in the report and can be compared against NICE guidance.  Please answer the following questions and supply the following information:

1a) Please can you describe the process you have followed when choosing not to follow the diagnosis and recommendations contained in the report. 1b) please send me a copy of the guidance you have followed when doing this.

2a) Please confirm in writing who is clinically responsible for the decision made not to ‘accept’ the report and its contents and 2b) who has accountability for the outcomes that may follow.

3a) If the decision to continue to not accept the clinical advice in the report, please furnish me with specific details as to why, and 3b) what actions have been taken to report the authors of the report to their professional body; assuming you have reached the conclusion that their practice, diagnoses and recommendations fall outside that expected by their appropriate validating body.    

A final plea… again to all parents and professions – please do all you can to dispel the myth that these reports (often the only truly independent ones gained) can be discounted by any health, education or by social care.  

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6 thoughts on “Independent (Private) Reports – will they be accepted?

  1. Superb. Our LA challenged a highly respected clinical psychologist of 40 years repeatedly with no evidence as to why they felt able to dispute her diagnosis. This cost my child 3 failed school placements, poor MH and 14 months without education whilst the LA attempted to prosecute for non-attendance at a school that could not meet need and an LA that would no fund the correct provision. The questions are really usefully- thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, they should (by law). But the law also needs to be amended to require LAs to reimburse familes where private assessments are needed because of LA incompetence or negligence (failure to commission sufficiently thorough reports in a timely manner). My LA’s attitude is that ‘many families choose to pay for private reports’; without the reports that I commissioned, my daughter would have received no provision at all – but the reports and the years with no education provision cost us our home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used this wording in a stage 1 complaint. The la responded but did not answer the questions – instead they have said they have considered the report by adding it to the appendices yet they still have no intentions of using the report to build sections b and f 😡 looks like it will be tribunal :/

    Like

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