Identifying service users' experience of the education, health and care plan process: A systematic literature review

Anila Ahad, Angela M. Thompson, Katherine E. Hall

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    77 Downloads (Pure)


    Abstract: Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) were introduced in 2014 to improve provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Some service users have found this change positive, but there is also dissatisfaction among service users with the EHCP process. This was captured in the recent Education Select Committee report, which took evidence from a range of stakeholders, representatives and service users examining the context, support and barriers associated with SEND (House of Commons, 2019). This review identifies and appraises research concerning service users' experience of the EHCP process, to establish key barriers to improving SEND provision. Papers evaluating the experience of children, young people, parents and professionals with EHCPs were included to assess levels of user satisfaction. A total of 25 studies were reviewed in‐depth. Five key themes were revealed: lack of integration with health and social care; insufficient knowledge and understanding; involvement of children, young people and parents; increased expectations and demands for professionals; and need for greater parity and clarity. Most service users were dissatisfied with the process and expressed a need for greater funding and time spent disseminating knowledge of the EHCP process. This paper summarises key limitations of, and potential improvements to, the current EHCP process. Structural reform is required to ensure accountability of service failures. Further research is required focusing on the experience of additional professional groups, such as educational psychologists and social workers, whose experiences are under‐represented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere3333
    Number of pages24
    JournalReview of Education
    Issue number1
    Early online date22 Jan 2022
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.© 2022 The Authors. Review of Education published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association


    • education
    • education health and care plan
    • SEND reforms
    • service user experience
    • special educational needs
    • statutory assessment


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