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Needs Code February 2017

Draft%20Additional%20Learning%20Needs%20Code%20February%202017

Case friends 18.61 [This

Case friends 18.61 [This section sets out the detail relating to case friends, as it appears on the face of the Bill. Regulations may make further provision regarding case friends. This section will be expanded in due to course to reflect the detail included in the regulations and provide further guidance as necessary] 18.62 Section 76 of the Act provides for a child who lacks capacity to understand information or documents given to them, or understand what it means to exercise the rights conferred on them by the Act (for example, their right to access arrangements for resolving disputes), have a person support them, known as a “case friend” 266 . 18.63 Case friends are appointed by the Tribunal on the application of any person or on the Tribunal’s own initiative and may: Represent and support the child; and take decisions and act on behalf of the child. 18.64 The Act provides that a case friend must: act fairly and competently; have no interest adverse to that of the child; ensure that all steps and decisions taken by the case friend are for the benefit of the child; and take account of the child’s views, so far as possible. Good practice examples - avoiding and resolving disagreements An example of dispute avoidance Local authority X offers a parent drop-in service where parents of children with ALN are invited to discuss any concerns they may have regarding their child. Parents are able to initiate a meeting by contacting the ALN administrative support team to discuss the nature of their concerns and arrange an appointment. Alternatively, the local authority ALN team may contact the parents and invite them to attend a drop-in meeting. The local authority representatives chosen to host the meeting will depend upon the nature of the concerns or matter to be discussed, their role within the team and their knowledge of the individual child. Meetings can be arranged in a variety of locations to ensure they are convenient for parents. These meetings offer a forum where concerns can be discussed openly, as well as where advice and support on how best to resolve concerns can be provided. 266 Section 76 of the Act. Page | 180

Experience has shown that these meetings help to prevent concerns escalating by providing an appropriate pathway for parents who are beginning to feel frustrated. They offer early intervention and reassurance as well as forging positive relationships between parents and local authority representatives. They also ensure that early decisions can be taken on the support the learner receives, which is in the interests of all involved, particularly the child or young person. Placement Frank has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Global Developmental Delay. In the early years and primary school phases of his education he received specialist unit placement. There is a disagreement between the local authority and the family as to where his needs can best be met at secondary school level. This includes a disagreement about how his needs are being described. The local authority informs the family of the resolving disagreement arrangements and an independent person is assigned. This independent person supports the family to be involved by helping them to understand and fully participate in the process. The independent person works with the family, school and local authority to unpick where genuine disagreements lay and to support several meetings where there is disagreement between the local authority and the parents over Frank’s placement and agreement cannot be reached. The resolving disagreement arrangements comprise the following actions: Paperwork is sent to the child’s parents to gain explicit consent to proceed Once consent is gained, an independent person was appointed, having first checked that this person had no vested interest The independent person contacts the family and clarifies their concerns and then contacts the local authority to clarify it position in relation those concerns. Through this process the independent person learns that the local authority holds a strong and well evidenced view that the preferred placement would not meet the child’s needs A neutral venue is selected Time frames are selected to fit in with the father’s work requirements and up to three shorter meetings agreed An Educational Psychologist and specialist teacher attend from the local authority. Arrangements are also made for a Speech and Language Therapist to attend. At the first meeting there is a great deal of disagreement The independent person ensures that the family had several Page | 181

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