Redditch MET Base To Remain Open After Threat Of Legal Action

Worcestershire Council Agree To Keep Provision Open As New Term Starts

31.08.2016

Worcestershire County Council has confirmed to solicitors acting for two children using the Medical Education Team (MET) base in Redditch that it will remain open as from the start of the term, after public law experts at Irwin Mitchell notified the council of its intention to challenge the closure on behalf of two families.

 

The decision to close the base, which offers education to children with physical or mental health needs who are unable to attend school, was not communicated to parents until July 2016, shortly before the end of term. The decision would have taken affect from September.

 

Two families, whose children attend the Redditch MET base, contacted Irwin Mitchell to investigate the decision-making process undertaken by the local authority and the lack of consultation with service users, many of whom have special educational needs or disabilities and rely on the base to access education provision.

 

Specialist public law solicitors informed the council of their intention to challenge the decision on the grounds that there was no consultation and the council had not had regard to its legal duties when taking such a decision.

 

Worcestershire County Council has now agreed to keep the Redditch base open as from the start of the new term, pending a consultation process with the relevant families and taking into account the public sector equality duties.

 

Polly Sweeney, a Partner and education law expert at Irwin Mitchell said:

 

Expert Opinion
“We are pleased that the council has agreed to keep the MET base in Redditch open and children will be able to continue to attend from the start of the new term pending a proper consultation which will allow parents and children to contribute to the decision making process.

“The Redditch MET base provides an important service to children locally and the decision to close without any notice has caused many families considerable worry and anxiety over the summer.

“We hope that the council will now work with the families to ensure that the right decision is reached in relation to the future of the base”.
Polly Sweeney, Partner