SENSAP MAP meeting review

Review of the Multi Agency Panel, decision making process - June 2018


The Multi Agency Panel (or MAP) was introduced to enable parents and families and young people to have a voice in the decision making as part of the process of deciding whether or not it is necessary for the Local Authority to proceed with an EHC needs assessment.

This was introduced in September 2014 as part of the changes to the legal framework included in the Children & Families Act 2014. 

Schools and other professionals are also welcome to attend with the family and this has improved the quality of decision making overall.

MAP is supported and chaired by an officer from the Local Authority, (SENSAP), Educational Psychologists, School and Educational Setting SENCos, Social care and Health representatives.

MAP has a lot to offer in terms of improving the quality of EHC plans and family engagement.  It not only enables the LA to put in place Section 19 of the CFA (family participation) and offers the ability to reduce the gaps and duplications when it comes to gathering advice. It reduces the escalations to tribunal when the LA does not agree to assess.   

MAP currently has 12 spaces a week, 8 for families and 4 non-family slots.

The current process now needs reviewing as there are now over 100 new requests for assessment a month. MAP can only make slots for 8 families a week.  An additional MAP now has to run every week without parental slots and the consistency of decision making needs to improve.

MAP has been running since September 2014 and largely is overall a positive process however we also recognise that families may still feel anxious and stressed about the process even when the outcome is yes.
Outcome from the review

Ensure that Leeds is able to implement a fair and consistent decision making process with regard to the decision whether to proceed with an EHC needs assessment that still enables parental and young person participation in the process.

The following recommendations have been considered by the SENSAP team.

Question Title

* 1. Option one
MAP cases will be considered through a triage approach. 

·         Triage meeting will decide whether the LA will proceed with assessments for pupils.  If it is a yes, then the families will not be offered a MAP slot.   Where the decision is not clear then the LA will offer families a MAP slot.  Therefore allowing families to attend the sessions where the LA may issue a refusal to assess decision.

·         MAP – 9 slots with 3 breaks. 

·         Initial home contact (home visit or parental telephone call) are imperative to make sure the new system works.

·         Triage meeting is an internal meeting following the legal framework and Code of Practice.  Existing additional map ceases to exist.  Triage will include a Casework Officer and a Senior Casework Officer and an Educational Psychologist. 

Advantages – Families will be able to attend where the LA needs further evidence or where the LA may issue a refusal to assess decision.  This enables health and social care colleagues to support the panel. It provides sufficient parental spaces. It allows families to have a real voice in the process.

Disadvantages – The number of new assessments proceeding may increase, those families attending may have additional anxiety around decision. Triage needs staff capacity. MAP’s role in ensuring advice and information is correctly requested could be lost in this process so supporting home contact is essential.

Question Title

* 2. Option two- To increase the number of panels to 2 panels, running next to each other in Adam’s Court.  Panel members would include another EP and CO, minute taker and split the school reps to share the panel.  Allowing not a Triage but a meeting which also includes the family.  Thereby allowing 2 x 9 slots per week.

Advantages – MAP is now more likely to be able to offer families a slot and a reduced demand for additional MAP is required. Time needed to triage with CO, Senior and EP can be used for second panel.

Disadvantages – MAP panel members are mainly LA and so one panel would not have a Health or Care representatives.  There may still be a shortage of parental slots.

Question Title

* 3. Option 3 – Remain with the current process and increase parental slots to 12.  With a reduced time slots of 20 mins and 4 breaks in the day.

Advantages – Increases current capacity within a known panel arrangement

Disadvantages – Long day for panel members, time slots may run over increasing delays, does not give the required increase in parental slots. Additional MAP still needs to exist.