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Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

Volume 480: debated on Friday 17 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will reassess his Department's proposals to merge the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal with the Care Standards Tribunal and the Mental Health Review Tribunal in England; what assessment he has made of the likely effects of this merger on parents of children with special educational needs; and if he will make a statement. (227236)

I am responding as Minister responsible for Tribunals. I do not consider that a reassessment is necessary. It is proposed that the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) will cease to exist as a stand-alone body and become part of the First-Tier Tribunal in accordance with the provisions of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (the “Act”). The Government consider that the Act provides the most appropriate statutory framework for maintaining strong and independent tribunals and for improving the services they provide to users.

Groups representing the interests of the parents of children with special educational needs have been consulted during the development of the proposals to transfer the SENDIST jurisdiction into the Health, Education and Social Care (HESC) Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal. Rules of procedure for the Chamber have been drawn up with the foil involvement of SENDIST's judiciary and members.

The tribunal is committed to the ethos that it has always had, namely of keeping the interests of the child at the forefront of its procedures and decision making.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of cases going to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal concerned children with autism over each of the last five years; in what proportion of these cases the applicant was successful; and how many local authorities conceded the case before the case reached the hearing. (227572)

The following table shows the outcomes of special educational needs (SEN) appeals for children where autism was recorded at registration as the main or only SEN. Decided cases are those where a tribunal hearing takes place and a decision is issued. The decided cases can then be broken down into those that have either been successful in whole or in part and those that were dismissed. In this table those that were dismissed include those that were struck out. Withdrawn cases are those where the appellant decides to discontinue their appeal before a hearing takes place or decision is issued. Conceded cases are those where the local authority meet the requirements of the appeal before a hearing takes place or a decision is issued.

Decided

Percentage

Upheld

Dismissed

Withdrawn

Percentage

Conceded

Percentage

Total

2003-04

238

38

202

36

298

47

94

15

630

2004-05

264

37

218

46

338

48

107

15

709

2005-06

287

38

249

38

318

42

155

20

760

2006-07

293

38

245

48

305

40

176

23

774

2007-08

284

32

242

42

371

42

235

26

890

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many disability discrimination cases concerning children with autism spectrum disorders went to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal in each of the last five years; and in what proportion of these the applicant was successful. (227578)

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) does not record autism as a type of disability. As a result, no Disability Discrimination Act claims have been recorded. The following table shows the outcomes of all SEN appeals. Withdrawn cases are those where the appellant decides to discontinue their appeal before a hearing takes place or decision is issued. Conceded cases are those where the local authority meets the requirements of the appeal before a hearing takes place or a decision is issued.

Decided

Percentage

Upheld

Dismissed

Withdrawn

Percentage

Conceded

Percentage

Total

2003-04

1,197

35

930

267

1,528

45

662

20

3,387

2004-05

1,147

36

879

268

1,370

43

695

22

3,212

2005-06

1,038

32

832

206

1,260

39

920

29

3,218

2006-07

1,045

32

841

204

1,258

38

968

30

3,271

2007-08

872

27

691

181

1,215

38

1,087

34

3,174