Acts and regulations

Acts of Parliament and regulations must be approved by the Commons, the Lords and the King before they become the law. Then the relevant government department is responsible for putting the acts and regulations into practice.

There are three main government departments that are responsible for creating guidance from the law relating to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability:

  • Department for Education (DfE)
  • Department of Health (DH)
  • Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Their guidance (codes of practice and advice) sets out what local authorities, schools and health bodies are supposed to do to meet their obligations in practice.

Some guidance is known as statutory guidance. This guidance must be followed unless there is a very good reason not to – in practice it is very difficult to demonstrate why this should not be followed.

If local authorities and other bodies do not meet their duties in the way set out in statutory guidance, this is unlawful, and they can be ordered by the Court of Tribunal to do something differently or make their decision again.

When courts and certain tribunals make decisions, this is called case law. Case law interprets the laws laid down by Parliament. These decisions can be binding.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Legal Framework

The laws and rules which make up the legal framework for SEN.

Acts

Regulations

Statutory Guidance

The SEN and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 has also been produced as guidance documents for:

The following must have regard to the SEND Code of Practice 0-25

  • Local authorities (education, social care, relevant housing, employment and other services)
  • Early years providers, schools, academies/free schools, FE colleges, sixth form colleges, independent special schools and specialist providers, pupil referral units and alternative provision providers
  • NHS England, integrated care systems (ICS), integrated care board (ICB), integrated health and care partnerships (ICP), primary care networks (PCN), NHS trusts and foundation trusts, primary care providers, youth offending teams and relevant youth custodial establishments
  • First-tier SEND tribunal

This specific SEN Legal framework also sits alongside existing laws related to Education, Health and Social Care.

Social Care - the main laws and rules which make up the legal framework for Social Care are:

Healthcare - the main laws and rules which make up the legal framework for Healthcare are:

Disability and Equality - the main laws and rules which make up the legal framework for disability and equality are: