Local Offer - Information Advice and Support

Resolution, Mediation and the Appeal Process

The Word Mediate Spelt out in word blocks

There are times when as a parent or carer you are unhappy about the information you have been given and you may wish to challenge it.  The process is described below.

This section is primarily about resolving disagreements between parents or young people and early year's providers, schools, colleges, local authorities or health commissioners.

 

This section covers the following:

  • It supports early resolution of disagreements at the local level.
  • It explains the independent disagreement resolution arrangements which local authorities must make available for disagreements across special educational provision, and health and care provision in relation to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.
  • It also explains the independent mediation arrangements which parents and young people can use before deciding whether to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability) (‘the Tribunal’) and for health and social care complaints in relation to EHC plans.
  • It goes on to describe the conditions for appealing to the Tribunal.

 

Early Resolution of Disagreements at the Local Level

Chapter 11 of the SEN Code of Practice  describes the process of resolving disagreements between parents or young people and early years providers, schools, colleges, local authorities or health commissioners.

Click here to view a table which shows the various avenues for complaint and redress. In all cases the parent or young person can be assisted and supported through the process by a relative, friend or other supporter.  In limited cases there may be some assistance available through Legal Aid.

Initially the table shows that any potential dispute or complaint should start directly with the educational setting, i.e. the early years provider, the school or college concerned. Most disputes can be settled in this way.

If this does not solve the dispute, representation can be made to the Local Authority, through the SEN Assessment and Review team or the Parent Partnership service.  Alternatively complaint can be made to the Funding Agency responsible for a school or Academy.

 

Disagreement Resolution and Mediation

In the unlikely event that these measures do not produce a satisfactory outcome, this section describes how the local authority will make known to parents and young people the mechanism for resolving disagreements across education, health and social care through disagreement resolution and mediation procedures and how education, health and social care providers have complaints procedures which, along with details about appealing to the Tribunal, should be made known to parents and young people through the local authority’s information, advice and support service.

While ‘disagreement resolution’ and ‘mediation’ are often used interchangeably, under the Children and Families Act 2014 they refer to different processes.  Use of the disagreement resolution arrangements is voluntary for both parties to the dispute whereas if parents or young people want to go to mediation then the local authority and/or the relevant health commissioning body or bodies must attend.

 

Disagreement Resolution

The disagreement resolution arrangements are designed to resolve disputes about the performance of duties, SEN provision, disagreements over health and social care provision and disagreements between health commissioners and local authorities and are voluntary for both parties.

Disagreement resolution arrangements cover all children and young people with SEN, not just those who have or are being assessed for an EHC plan, and cover a range of disagreements.  They are available to parents and young people to resolve disagreements about any aspect of SEN provision, and health and social care disagreements during the processes related to EHC needs assessments and EHC plans.

 

Mediation

If it has not been possible to reach an agreement with the Local Authority over the assessment process or the provision of or content of an EHC Plan, you have the right to appeal to SEND.  SEND is an independent first-tier tribunal who hear and decide parents or young peoples’ Appeals against the decisions of the Local Authority in relation to special educational needs.

In order to register an Appeal you must first contact an independent Mediation Adviser and obtain a certificate to prove that you have done so. The Mediation Adviser will provide you with factual information about mediation.  You do not have to have mediation advice if your Appeal is only about Placement, the health and social care elements of an EHC Plan or if it is a disability discrimination claim.

Global Mediation’s Mediation Adviser can be contacted on 0800 064 4488.  This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential. Once you have received mediation advice it is up to you to decide whether you want to go to mediation before any Appeal you might make to the Tribunal.  If you do not want to try mediation, the Mediation Adviser will issue you with a certificate so that you can register your Appeal.  If you do want to try mediation, our SEN Case Manager will make all the arrangements for you.  Your right to Appeal is not affected if you do not have mediation first and no inference will be drawn by the Tribunal if you have not used the mediation services.

 

Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Arrangements

Mediation aims to help resolve disagreements for children and young people that are being assessed for or have an EHC Plan, whilst disagreement resolution arrangements are available for parents of and all children and young people with SEN, not just those who are being assessed for or have an EHC Plan, where it has not been possible to resolve those issues though the normal routes such as a school or college complaints process.  Mediation and disagreement resolution meetings aim to resolve your disagreements in a quick, informal way using a neutral third party, a mediator, to help you reach a resolution that is mutually satisfactory.

Contact Global Mediation’s SEN Case Manager on 0800 064 4488.  This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential.

If you disagree with the decision not to carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs assessment for your child or are unhappy with the wording/educational provision/placement in your child’s EHCP, you have the right to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (SEND). SEND is an independent first tier tribunal who hear and decide parents or young peoples’ appeals against the decisions of the Local Authority in relation to special educational needs. If you wish to register an appeal, you must do so within two months of the date of the decision letter.  Appeal forms and details of the procedure to be followed can be obtained direct from the Tribunal at:

HM Courts and Tribunals Service

Address: Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, 1st Floor, Darlington Magistrates’ Court, Parkgate, Darlington, DL1 1RU

Telephone: 01325 289350

For further information regarding the appeals process, please visit the justice.gov.uk website.

 

In order to register an appeal, you must first contact an independent Mediation Adviser and obtain a certificate to prove that you have done so.  The Mediation Adviser will provide you with factual information about mediation.  You do not have to have mediation advice if you appeal is only about school placement, the health and social care elements of an EHC Plan or if it is a disability discrimination claim.

Global Mediation’s Mediation Adviser can be contacted on 0800 064 4488.  This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential.  Once you have received mediation advice, it is up to you to decide whether you want to go to mediation before any appeal you might make to the Tribunal.  If you do not want to try mediation, the Mediation Adviser will issue you with a certificate so that you can register an appeal.

If you do want to try mediation, one of our Casework Support Officers will make all the arrangements for you.  Your right of appeal is not affected if you do not have mediation first and no inference will be drawn by the Tribunal if you have not used the mediation services.

Mediation aims to help resolve disagreements for children and young people that are being assessed for or have an EHC Plan, whilst disagreement resolution arrangements are available for parents of and all children and young people with SEN, not just those who are being assessed for or have an EHC Plan, where it has not been possible to resolve those issues through the normal routes such as a school or college complaints process.

Mediation and disagreement resolution meetings aim to resolve your disagreement in a quick, informal way using a neutral third party, a mediator, to help you reach a resolution that is mutually satisfactory.  Contact Global Mediation’s SEN Case Manager on 0800 064 4488.  This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential.  For more information go to global mediation site by clicking here.

 

South East and South Central SEN Mediation Service

Region: Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Medway, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Portsmouth, Reading, Slough, Southampton, Surrey, West Berkshire, West Sussex, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham.

Service Provider: Global Mediation
Service Co-ordinator: Adam Gersch

Address: Global Mediation Limited, Elwood House, 42 Lytton Road, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5 5BY.

Tel: 0800 064 4488
Fax: 0208 441 4101
Email: info@globalmediation.co.uk Website: www.globalmediation.co.uk.

For further information please click here, this is a free service for parents and carers.

 

The First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability)

The Tribunal forms part of the First-tier Tribunal (Health, Education and Social Care Chamber).  Tribunals are overseen by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service.

The Tribunal hears appeals against decisions made by local authorities in England in relation to children's and young people’s EHC needs assessments and EHC plans.  It also hears disability discrimination claims against schools and against local authorities when the local authority is the responsible body for a school.

Parents (in relation to children from 0 to the end of compulsory schooling, i.e. the academic year in which the child’s 16th birthday falls) and young people (over compulsory school age until they reach age 25) can appeal to the Tribunal about EHC needs assessments and EHC plans, following contact with a mediation adviser in most cases (see paragraph 11.18 SEN Code of Practice).

Parents and young people who are unhappy with decisions about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan can go to mediation.  They can also complain through the health and social care complaints procedures.

 

When appealing to the Tribunal parents and young people will be required to give the reasons why they are appealing.  Once the appeal is registered the local authority will be given a date by which they must respond and both parties will also be told of the approximate hearing date.  Hearings are heard throughout the country at Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service buildings.  The Tribunal will try to hold hearings as close to where the appellant lives as possible.  For Isle of Wight cases these are usually held in Southampton, Winchester or Portsmouth.

Appeals are heard by a judge and a panel of Tribunal members who have been appointed because of their knowledge and experience of children and young people with SEN or disabilities.  Advice on making SEN appeals to the Tribunal is available from the Ministry of Justice website, to view, please click here.

Parents of children and young people having an EHC Plan, or undergoing that assessment process, will appeal in line with these provisions under the Children and Families Act 2014.  Parents of children having a Statement of SEN but not an EHC Plan will appeal under the present system as governed by the Education Act 1996.

A DVD is available from the Ministry of Justice website which gives appellants some guidance on what happens at a hearing, this video can be requested from the Tribunal by writing to: First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington, DL3 9BG.