Here is the response from the RCOT on professional standards

Thank you for contacting the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).  The Royal College wants its members to fully engage with The Children and Families Act 2014 and provide the best quality contributions to Education and Health Care Plans to identify what children want and need to achieve and what support is needed to realise this. In order to do this, we endeavour to provide our members with various ways to engage in this in different formats to provide the right advice and information and to assist with ensuring that they are skilled and competent to contribute to Education and Health Support Plans.  We do this through:. 

 

  1. Web resources e.g. We have a dedicated ‘Childhood to Adulthood’ webpage for our members which includes the following information:

               Balancing what is important to a child/young person (to lead a fulfilling life) with what is important for the child/young person (become or stay healthy, happy and safe).

              Guidance for the occupational therapy contribution to writing Education, Health and Care plans

 There will be transitional arrangements for children and young people who have existing statements and information can be found on the GOV.uk website. 

 

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has developed two ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ documents to assist occupational therapists in defining and presenting occupational therapy involvement for children and young people who have education, health and care needs including contributing to joint plans and tribunals.

  1. Through resources such as webinarsThis webinar video below provides practical advice for teachers and school staff in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in schools from an occupational therapy perspective.
  2. Through training and education. We run a week’s course for children’s therapists on skills required to practice effectively, focusing on effective occupation focused outcomes for children. This course includes writing EHC plans
  3. Resources for Supporting Practice which draw upon latest evidence in the field – We call them SPEAR topics   Supporting Practice- Evidence and Resources (SPEaR)
  1. Specific Clinical resources for RCOT Members
  1. Dedicated staffing resource to support occupational therapists working with children, families and Young people.  RCOT also has a Professional Advisor post, specialising in Children, Young People and Families, and another dedicated to Professional Practice Enquiries who can advise members regarding their queries and they provide 1:1 guidance related to each individual client.  

 

  1. Members of the public, who contact the College for advice

The Professional Advisor for Children, Young People and families and the Professional Practice Enquiries Officer are available to answer any queries from members of the public and provide advice tailored to their query.

  1. Outward facing activities by the College

               RCOT believes that it is important that members of the public and other stakeholders, e.g. teachers are also able to access information related to occupational therapy.

 

               The information below is also available to members of the public via RCOT’s You Tube channel:

 

 

               RCOT has also worked in collaboration with the Council for Disabled Children https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/ to produce the following guidance:

 

               https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/help-resources/resources/advice-education-health-and-care-plans

 

               https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/making-ourselves-heard/resources/send-reforms-explained

 

               Our professional Advisor in collaboration with Pearson’s has produced a webinar specifically focusing on Practical Advice for supporting children and young people with special needs and disabilities in schools: an occupational therapy perspective. This webinar   has a clear focus on the content of EHC plans.

 

               https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9122653843886093314  www.pearsonclinical.co.uk

 

Kind regards,

 

Anne

 

Anne Keen

Professional Advisor – Professional Practice Enquiries Service

Good morning, sincerely, I hope it is…

For the second time this year, the wonderful Jayne McCubbin and BBC Breakfast have been raising attention on SEND and in particular, the delays in the transition from SSEN (Statements of SEN) to EHCPs (Education Health and Care Plans).  If you click on the SEND link above, you will see thousands of testimonies on Twitter of parent’s, carers, and advocates, talking about the old process, the delays, the poor plans, the poor transitions etc.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog (here) I believe one of the most critical factors in obtaining a competent and lawful plan, is the quality of reports, the relevancy of reports, which inform the plan.

So what did I do?

Off the back of the first week of #BBCSEND, I contacted both the RCSLT (Speech and Language professional body) and the HCPC (Health Care Professionals Council) which is the regulatory body for the vast majority of specialists who inform, Health, SEN and Social Care elements of plans about standards and requirements under the law which governs that required for a plan, the entire purpose why their professionals are commissioned.

Here is what I asked;

Good afternoon,

I am a blogger who focusses on Autism, Special Educational Needs and the Law, my site is here www.asddadadvocate.com

My query to you today is this.

Sections 20 & 21 of the Children and Families Act 2014 govern the identification of SEN and Provision to meet that under the duties of the act by a Local Authority, commissioning services from members under your governance.

Regulation 6 and 8, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Regulations 2014 show under Reg 6 the scope of reports in terms of professionals under your governance, and duties to comply with those requests within 6 weeks of commission.

Whilst content and suitability of an EHCP for section B (SEN) and F (Provision) can be challenged to Tribunal by Young Persons, Parents and Carers etc, the suitability of content provided is either a contractual obligation between the Principal (The Local Authority carrying out the investigation) and the Contractor (your registrant who has been commissioned to inform any possible requirements under their expertise under Sections B & F).

The application of C&F Act 2014 and SEND Regs 2014 law shows that the description of SEN & provision must (legal duty) be specific as applied in;

R V THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION AND SCIENCE, EX PARTE E [1992] 1 FLR 377 CA
L V CLARKE AND SOMERSET COUNTY COUNCIL (1997) [1998] ELR 129
R V LANCASHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL EX PARTE M [1989] 2 FLR 279
LONDON BOROUGH OF BROMLEY V SENDIST AND OTHERS, QBD AND CA [1999] EWCA CIV 3038

and most recently

JD v South Tyneside Council (SEN) [2016] UKUT 0009 (AAC)

and that reports must not be delayed

http://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/education/special-educational-needs/15-011-838#point4

I am unable to find any guidance:

http://www.hcpc-uk.org/publications/brochures/

Or instances where for example, Speech and Language Therapists, have been sanctioned by yourselves for non-adherence to law, unlawful acts.

https://www.hcpts-uk.org/hearings/search/results?sm.prof=13&sm.rno=&sm.rname=&sm.outcome=&sm.htype=&sm.fDay=28&sm.fMth=11&sm.fYr=2016&sm.tDay=29&sm.tMth=11&sm.tYr=2017

Although only one of the professions, I have chosen Speech and Language Therapists as their professional bodies’ guidance (updated in 2016), which is freely available, clearly has a good grasp of the law (although makes no reference to stare decisis) and gives clear guidance on good and lawful practice.

https://www.rcslt.org/cq_live/resources_a_z/docs/SEND/cfa2014

However, the regulator, yourselves, appear to neither sanction nor give guidance on the same for your members.  I find this particularly of concern, given that you state you do not punish, but merely protect the public.

It will be my assertion in my new article, that protection of the public, should and does include young persons under the duty to educate, the duty to care for, the duty to make adequate provision for and crucially, the duty to inform those requirements.

I have evidence personally of a report by a member which falls woefully short of the RCSLT guidance, yet there is no way to know whether this is something that the regulatory body, yourselves would take action for either an individual to not repeat this malfeasance, nor to give guidance to your members on their duties under the law, which gained Royal Assent on 13th March 2014.

I would like to include your response, a link to guidance or policy on how members should ensure they follow the law and good practice (as the RCSLT do) and conversely, the possible ramifications and actions they may face for unlawful practice in the exercise of these functions.

Kind Regards

ASD Dad Advocate

So what happened next?

Eventually, I got a reply…

Here it is;

Thank you for your email, and apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

In relation to your concerns about professionals’ adherence to the law, our Standards of conduct, performance and ethics apply to all of our registrants, and state that they ‘must keep up to date with and follow the law, our guidance and other requirements relevant to [their] practice’ (Standard 3.4).

Our standards of proficiency are specific to each of the professions we regulate, and the standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists outline that registrants must ‘be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession’ (Standard 2). Furthermore, they must ‘know about current legislation applicable to the work of their profession’ (Standard 2.5).

We don’t provide guidance covering all aspects of our registrants’ scope of practice but, as can be seen above, we expect them to follow current legislation, as well as local policies and guidance. Professional bodies provide more detailed guidance to professionals, so I recommend that you get in touch with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists – you can find their contact details here.

In relation to our fitness to practise process, it is part of the HCPC’s role to deal with concerns about registrants. Concerns are raised from a variety of sources, such as from employers, members of the public, or by registrants themselves. If a concern meets our ‘standard of acceptance‘, it will be investigated to see if there is a case to answer about whether that registrant is fit to practise their profession. When there is a case to answer, the registrant’s case will be heard by a committee, at which the registrant and any witnesses are able to give evidence.

Whether a registrant has failed to maintain specific standards will inform the decision-making about whether their fitness to practise is impaired. Where there is impairment, a committee may then decide to impose a range of sanctions on the registrant, for example, by issuing them with a caution, placing conditions on their practice, or suspending or striking them off our Register.

I hope that helps.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Shewey 
Media and PR Officer
The Health and Care Professions Council

So what does this mean to me?

Firstly, whether you are a parent, carer, young person, advocate, or professional, you can see from my request the standards which are required citing the relevant law about reports and specificity, you can also see the links to the professional bodies guidance to their members on expectations and requirements under those standards. 

The duty is clearly laid out by HCPC to follow the law and guidance, this is a requirement of fitness to practise and if a professional falls short, they rely upon professionals observing the lapse, or parents/carers/YPs/advocates/contractors who rely upon these standards of professionalism and quality to formally make a complaint to the HCPC and or professional body.

For professionals reading this, I would suggest, regardless of your actual profession and or body, you take a look at the RCSLT guidance, not as it pertains to necessarily your area of expertise, but upon how it relates the law, to professionalism and accountability.

Guidance for Physiotherapists (from Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists)
Guidance for Occupational Therapists (Awaiting guidance from the RCOT)
RCSLT Guidance as above

Feel free to tweet to me about this or anything else @asddadadvocate