Costs of Counsel at SEN tribunals

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

I wish to make a freedom of information request in relation to children with SEN on the borough. Please respond to the following:

1) How many refusal to assess tribunals were lodged by parents during the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20.

2) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the Authority seek the advice of legal services to defend cases including in house or external locum solicitors?

3) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the Authority seek the advice of or representation by counsel to defend cases?

4) How many refusal to issue EHCP tribunals were lodged by parents during the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20?

5) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the Authority seek the advice of legal services to defend cases including in house or external locum solicitors?

6) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the Authority seek the advice of or representation by counsel to defend cases?

7) How many content or placement (B, F, I) EHCP tribunals were lodged by parents during the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20? Please include national trial appeals where relevant.

8) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the Authority seek the advice of legal services to defend cases including in house or external locum solicitors?

9) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the Authority seek the advice of or representation by counsel to defend cases?

10) How many Judicial reviews were lodged in relation to children with SEN during the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20?

11) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the authority seek the advice of legal services to defend cases including in house or external locum solicitors?

12) Of each of the years above, in how many cases did the authority seek the advice of or representation by counsel to defend cases?

13) During the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, what was the overall cost of legal services to advise the SEN department around EHCP cases. Please include commissioning costs of the service by the SEN department if these differ on a case by case basis and an overall 'annual cost' of legal services. Please include all tribunals for each year as an overall cost ie refusal to assess, issue and B/F and/or I appeals - overall cost for all.

14) During the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, what was the overall cost of using Counsel to support the SEN department or legal services in tribunal applications made by families. Please include all tribunals for each year as an overall cost ie refusal to assess, issue and B/F and/or I appeals - overall cost for all tribunals and all counsel charges incurred and include those conceded ahead of the hearing if costs were incurred.

15) in response to question 15 'overall cost' can you please break the costs into the following:
a) Travel costs for counsel to attend hearings to include any transport and hourly travel rates charged
b) preparation costs where counsel has perused the files and prepared for a hearing
c) hearing attendance - costs for attending at tribunal in person
d) Miscellaneous - any other costs associated with counsel relating to EHCP cases

I look forward to receiving a full response to all of the above.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Susan Peacock

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

In relation to the FOI submitted cost of counsel at SEN tribunals, please note this is yet to receive a response. Can you please outline a reason for the delay and an expected timeframe for response?

Yours faithfully,

Susan Peacock

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mrs Peacock

Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your enquiry. Due to the ongoing covid-19 situation, Council resources have been deployed to areas of immediate need and as such, we have been unable to provide a response within the statutory timescale.

The requested information is currently being collated. We will respond as quickly as possible and no later than 30 June 2020. Your patience and understanding at this time is appreciated.

Yours sincerely

Lynette Paterson
Principal Information Management Officer
Wirral Council
Treasury Building
Cleveland Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

Email: [Wirral Borough Council request email]

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

show quoted sections

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Peacock

Thank you for your Freedom of Information enquiry regarding children with special educational needs within the Wirral area. Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding.

Please see the attached document that provides a response to Q1-12 of your request. In relation to Q13-15, there will be a further short delay as updates to our software system have caused some technical issues in extracting the information required from the database. We will forward the remaining information as soon as we are able to.

Yours sincerely

Lynette Paterson
Principal Information Management Officer
Wirral Council
Treasury Building
Cleveland Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

Email: [Wirral Borough Council request email]

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.