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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 7628
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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My question is about Direct Payments for my SEND 10 year old

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My question is about Direct Payments for my SEND 10 year old son. Can anyone help?
Assistant: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have written to them and they are now threatening to suspend the DP as they say I have breached a condition
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have sent in all receipts showing how the payments have been met. I did exactly the same when required last year - and it was found the council owed me money. They are insisting to see my bank account as they say it’s their policy that the DP is paid into a separate account. I don’t want to show them my personal statements. I have receipts for everything the payments have been spent on.

Hello my name is***** am a solicitor and I am happy to help you today.

Are these direct payments in respect of a provision on an EHCP?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

Were you informed at any point that the direct payments must be made into a separate account?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
He was receiving 500 per year until an assessment in 2017 increased to 3k. I receive 250 approx every month. It is used for his 121 swimming, horse riding, carers, extra nappies and sensory toys. All payments are made by me, my husmsbdor from my husband’s amazon account. I have given them all evidence of payments.

Ok I understand, can you tell me if you were in fact ever told that this money needed to be paid into a separate account or not?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No! They only advised me that It should be in a separate account by phone a month ago, following the audit. My award letter makes no mention of this requirement.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No! And certainly not by written communication
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Are you still there?

Ok you need, in the first instance to raise a formal complaint using the Local Authority's complaints procedure about this, they cannot impose a policy on you in this way that you were not aware of or threaten to remove payments on this basis. You should threaten them with taking the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman www.lgo.org.uk if it is not resolved.

They cannot, as a matter of law, refuse to make the payments under the EHCP, if they were to do so you can take Judicial Review.

There will be breaks in my answers as this is not a chat service but a question and answer site, it can take some time for me to read and type a response.

Is there anything further you would like to know about this?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Wonderful! I shall write to them and say this. Btw - my son was only moved to EHCP last year. I don’t even know where it mentions the DP. But I have my award letter.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
thank you for your help!

It should be included in section J of the EHCP.

Good luck with it. If you have any further questions please do ask. Otherwise please take the time to rate my answer so that I can be credited for my time, thank you and all the best.

Jenny and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
What if the EHCP makes no mention of the DP and the amount? And is my reasoning solely because they never communicated this policy to me?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I will def come back to you ! Great service!!

It will almost certainly be included in section J. If it is not you need to ask for an emergency review of the EHCP to get it included.

3 main grounds of complaint -

a) policy not communicated to you so you cannot be penalised for not having the separate bank account.

b) The provision is a legal requirement, removing the direct payment effectively removes the provision and is in breach of the law.

c) If this is resolve you will need to take judicial review.

All the best with it.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Final question - should I only complain? Or respond to the DP team who wrote the letter?

I would respond to the DP team and say that your response amounts to the formal complaint and you would like it to be passed to their complaints department.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Wonderful!

no problem, all the best.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello! Section J only says Direct Payments - it does not specify an amount or what it needs to be spent on. Should I still urgently insist an EHCP review? Thank you!!

does section F specify the things that you are paying for, if so there is no need to review.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi - thank you. No. Section F is blank. However does the fact that it mentions Direct Payments in section J mean that they cannot “as a matter of law, refuse to make the payment under the EHCP” as you state above?

Yes that's right, when it comes to reviewing the EHCP you need to make sure that the provision is specified in F. I wouldn't worry about that for now though, just raise the complaint based on J.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Again!! Wonderful! Thank you Jenny!!

No problem.