Applying for an Independent Specialist Provider (ISP)
For the majority of young people who have Special Educational Needs and, or a Disability (SEND), education and training provision will be delivered in a mainstream setting. Outcomes for the vast majority of young people, including those with SEND, will be met most effectively when they are able to maintain their connections with their families, their friends and communities.
It is important to note that local authorities are required to take into account funding considerations when making ISP educational placement decisions and can refuse if a placement is:
- unsuitable to a young person’s age, ability, aptitude or SEN
- or be incompatible with the efficient education of other young people with whom they would be educated
- or with the efficient use of resources (Code of Practice 2015)
Birmingham City Council will not confirm funding and commissioning decisions until the full costs and affordability of an educational placement have been considered in the light of the overall budget available. The total costs of the placement may include the additional social care and health costs that might be needed.
In considering and securing an education program, and with a view to an efficient use of funds, the city council may look at pooling resources between different agencies; encouraging the formation of partnerships and building community capacity to secure appropriate funding from other agencies during the decision making process.
The city council will liaise with other agencies and service areas to request funding to cover any health and care costs associated with the placement. However, the city council cannot guarantee that such funding will be forthcoming.
In the event that a local package of provision and support cannot be identified a decision will be sought from the relevant Local Authority Panel which will consider cases in good time in order to meet the deadline of 31 March.
To fund a day ISP placement the city council will need to be satisfied, on the basis of the available evidence that the majority of criteria below are met:
- There is no suitable local mainstream provision or package of provision that can meet the student’s reasonable education or training needs
- There is evidence that the student has medical or care needs that cannot be addressed by local providers and that would prevent the students from accessing suitable education or training
- The independent specialist provider is appropriate to the student’s needs
- The programme proposed for the student, includes progression pathways and clear outcomes and identified destinations in line with the student’s preparation for adulthood
Additionally, requests for residential placements must also evidence that the assessment of the student’s reasonable education or training needs demonstrates that an essential element can only be provided in a residential setting and that other provision or packages of provision cannot meet those needs.
It is essential therefore, that the evidence provided in support of any placement request is up to date (within last 12 months) and appropriate to the request being made.
Evidence will need to demonstrate that the match between the aspirations of the student, their identified reasonable education and training needs and the learning programme is only available through an ISP.
Sources of the evidence include:
- EHC Plan
- Careers Action Plan
- Relevant and up to date report(s) from the Multi-Agency Team around the student who have assessed the student and concluded they cannot put in place or source a suitable package of provision and support to meet the student’s educational and or training needs
- A report from the ISP detailing how the provider can meet the student’s reasonable assessed education and training needs set out in the EHC Plan
- The preference form
The list is not exhaustive and the city council may wish to seek additional relevant and up to date information depending on the individual circumstances of the student.
Whilst the city council will take account of the wishes of students and their parents or carers, it does not have a legal duty to fund a preferred independent specialist provision, if it is satisfied that it can secure adequate provision locally.
The city council will automatically seek a view from mainstream colleges or other local provider where an ISP application has been made, based on the preferences listed in Part 3 of a student’s preference form.
Where no mainstream provider has been listed the city council will seek a view from a local provider that it feels can meet the student’s needs. The city council may also look to develop a personalised package of provision and support in a local setting(s) to meet the student’s needs and aspirations.
Should the student and their parent or carer not be satisfied with the decision, they have the right to appeal against the decision and should follow the city council appeals process.