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Local Authority round-up: 28/06/24

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.

Commercial

ESFA update further education 2024

In the 2022 to 2023 academic year, state-funded schools and state-funded 16 to 19 organisations with between 1 and 600 pupils are eligible for national professional qualification (NPQ) targeted support funding, receiving a payment for every teacher and leader they employ taking a NPQ. The targeted support fund eligibility has since been updated, for participants starting in the 2023 to 2024 academic year.

Allocations will be paid to academies and maintained schools in June 2024 with a further payment being made to independent special schools in July 2024. This will be followed by a sweep up payment in autumn 2024 to ensure all eligible schools and organisations will be paid in-year.

Eligibility is assessed using information provided during registration, and will include pupil data.

Apprenticeship Funding Arrangements

In regard to the Apprenticeship funding arrangements, the Department for Education (DfE) has published an update to the rules for 2023 to 2024.

For new starters from Monday 1 April 2024 with non-levy paying employers the government will fund the apprenticeship training costs of apprentices aged 22 to 24 years old who have either an education, health and care (HIC) plan or have been in the care of their local authority.

The technical funding guide is currently being updated, but will include information on:

  • how the funding will be applied; and
  • the actions that providers will need to take.

For more information on the ESFA update, and the apprenticeship funding arrangements, please click here.


Regulatory

Council failed to carry out needs assessment within statutory timeframe due to a shortage of educational psychologists according to Ombudsman

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has recommended that a council pay a mother £100 per month following a failure to carry out an Education, Health and Care (“EHC”) Needs assessment in the statutory timeframe for her son.

The delay was caused by a shortage of educational psychologists, which the council has now set up an action plan to rectify.

The Ombudsman found that the mother had initially put in the request for her son to receive the EHC needs assessment, but this was declined by the council and led the mother to appeal to the SEND tribunal. Following the appeal the SEND tribunal ordered the council to complete an EHC needs assessment.

Following the tribunal order, the council sent assessment requests to the educational psychology service and NHS services, and despite this, the EHC assessment has still not been completed to date. The mother made a stage one complaint to the council regarding the delay in her son’s assessment. The council could do little except issue an apology, placing blame upon the national shortage of educational psychologists.

As a result, the council has recently embarked on an external review with the aim of setting out new processes which would put the needs of children and their families at the forefront. A range of proposals have risen from this including securing additional external educational psychologists.

For more information, please click here.

LGA publishes guidance on Care Quality Commission’s Health and Social Care Act 2008 local authority assessment process for lead members

On 21 June 2024 the Local Government Association published ‘Care Quality Commission assessment for adult social care: must know guide for lead members’ explaining the process the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will apply when assessing if local authorities are meeting their duty to deliver adult social care under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014.

The CQC is required to review and report on the performance of English local authorities under section 46A of the Health and Social Care Act 2008. The guidance gives detail on the steps the CQC when assessing local authorities, including the data collection and on-site inspections stages.

The four themes for this assessment framework for local authority are:

  1. Working with people
  2. Providing support
  3. How the local authority ensures safety within the system
  4. Leadership

There is a timetable for the local authority assessment which starts with a notification to the local authority giving them three weeks to complete an information return including a self-assessment and key documents. Following the council assessment, a report will be produced which will give a rating for the council – inadequate, requires improvement, good or outstanding.

Whilst there is no requirement for self-assessment, failing to carry out this step may increase the time spent completing the assessment report  by the CQC. In order to assist the CQC, Lead members may:

  • prioritise preparation for CQC assessment by allocating resources appropriately.
  • regularly update internal policies and preparation procedures.
  • consider peer review of services, or regional support.
  • familiarise lead members with the Care Act 2024.
  • prepare a communication place following the CQC inspections.
  • brief the relevant people with important financial metrics and data.

For more information, please click here.

 

 

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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