The Doctor won't see you now...
Another round of Tribunal statistics has recently been released. This time they run from April 2018 to April 2019 and paint a worrying picture of the current state of the Tribunal system that parents and individuals who work in this area of law are all too familiar with at this point.
In these newly released figures (click here to see the report) it shows 3/4 hearings are postponed on the first listed date. This means that you have a 75% chance of the Hearing being cancelled and being left scrambling for a new Hearing date! We have also begun to see a worrying trend emerge (although no stats exist for this) that, even when a parent has had one date postponed and the Appeal designated as a priority, the Hearing is being cancelled again and parents are left looking for a further date.
That is a lot of doom and gloom! So, what is the solution?
The Tribunal has already taken steps to recruit 20-30 Judges, with some starting in the coming week, to try and ease the backlog, as well as offering the chance for some cases to be considered on the papers in August. It is clear circa 6,000+ Appeals are not a blip or a one off and, as parents become more aware of their rights and cash strapped LA’s continue to deprive children and young adults with SEN of basic provision, the SEND Tribunal will continue to remain the only recourse available to correct the problem.
This will no doubt prompt questions in Parliament, and after the recent High Court case against the Government over SEN funding, maybe the tide will turn. Only time will tell!