How long does it take to get an EHC Plan?

As stated in the SEND Regulations 2014, the EHCP process (from the date of request for an EHC Needs Assessment) must be finalised within a maximum of 20 weeks.  It is worth noting that they are some exceptions to this rule (please see below), however, in reality, unfortunately this timescale comes and goes for many. The first timescale that must be adhered to is that the LA must reply within six weeks, to inform you of their decision whether or not to issue an EHC Plan. They should always reply to you as a parent or young person – even where the request was made by the school or college. If this deadline is not met, it can be very difficult for the process to stay on track, so we would advise you to take action as soon as possible at this point.

Once it has been agreed that an EHC Plan is to be issued, this must be done within a maximum of 20 weeks from the request for an EHC needs assessment, but there are other stages in the process that we can monitor to ensure this deadline can be met.


  • 0 weeks
    • Request for EHC Needs Assessment is submitted.
  • 6 weeks
    • LA responds to say they agree or refuse to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment. (Decisions can be appealed).
    • If agreed, professionals will be contacted and assessments / reports obtained within 6 weeks (week 12).
  • 12 weeks
    • A draft EHCP or Summary of Assessment will be compiled using the information gathered. A co-production meeting will give you an opportunity to discuss the EHCP draft before it goes to panel to be agreed.
    • You will want to make your school preference known so they can be consulted, should it be agreed.
  • 16 weeks
    • By this time the draft EHCP or Summary of Assessment will go to the SEND Panel, it will be decided if an EHCP is to be issued and also the type of provision to be named (mainstream / specialist).
    • If agreed, you will have 15 calendar days to make representations on the plan.
    • If it is not agreed, you will be sent details of how to appeal.
  • 16-20 weeks
    • Provisions will be consulted, including your preference (unless it is a wholly independent school (not a Section 41 school) in which case the onus will be on you to prove other provisions unsuitable and to have a school place agreed by your chosen provision).
  • 20 weeks
    • The final plan will be issued, stating the school / college / setting they will be attending.


There are some exceptions to the timescales given above, which extend the 20 week timescale, they are:

  • Appointments with people from whom the local authority requested information are missed by the child or young person. 
  • The child or young person is absent from the area for a period of at least four weeks. 
  • Exceptional personal circumstances affect the child or young person or their parent/carer. 
  • The education setting is closed for at least four weeks which may delay the submission of information from the school or other institution. 

You should be informed if exemptions apply so that you are aware of and understand the reason. As soon as the conditions that led to the exemption no longer apply the process should be completed as quickly as possible.  


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