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Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information and guidance is available to users of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal whose cases will be taken forward under the new system after 3 November 2008. (227573)

The Special Educational Needs Appeal booklet and the Disability Discrimination Act claim booklet are currently being revised; both will be available before 3 November. Guidance is also being drafted for the case management hearings and will be sent out when a case is acknowledged.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the changes to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal on users who have an autism spectrum disorder. (227575)

This group of service users need extra and expert support under the current regulations for the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. Panels who deal with these service users deploy specialist experience and great skill in facilitating their presentation and participation to achieve balance, fairness and appropriate outcomes for the child who is the subject of the appeal. The judiciary with input from the Special User Group, which has included the National Autistic Society, have taken the needs of this user group into account in the development of the forms and processes resulting from the new Health, Education and Social Care Rules, and the accompanying Practice Directions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information is available to advocacy groups and other groups providing support to families using the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal about the changes to the Tribunal taking place after 3 November 2008. (227577)

Current guidance on how to appeal or make a claim, the Special Educational Needs Appeal booklet and the Disability Discrimination Act claim booklet, are both being revised. They will be available before 3 November. Guidance will be drafted for the case management hearings. In addition we are undertaking comprehensive training in November of all users.