Mediation and disagreement resolution

If we decide not to assess or make special educational provision in accordance with an EHC plan we will send you a letter with a summary telling you why. You have the right to appeal this decision through a SEND tribunal, but steps must be taken before any appeal is started. While ‘disagreement resolution’ and ‘mediation’ are often used interchangeably, under the Children and Families Act 2014 they refer to different processes.

  • Decisions about the SEN provision for children and young people with SEND should be made jointly by providers, parents and carers and children and young people. A person-centred approach should take into account the views of children, young people and parents and carers.
  • The education, health and social care services should be open in their communication, so that parents and young people know where they are in the decision-making process and why decisions have been made.
  • Parents and children should be given information about and (where necessary) be supported to take part in the decision-making and complaints processes.
  • All schools and education settings will have a complaints policy that can be provided on request.

Single Route of Redress – National Trial

The Government are extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), sometimes referred to as the ‘SEND Tribunal’, to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans as part of a two-year trial from April 2018. The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC plans issued or amended from 3 April 2018. More detailed information is on the Local Offer.

What to do if you are unhappy with a decision

Please ring our Customer Contact Centre , who will arrange for you to speak to one of the EHC team members.

The following bodies can offer independent advice to help you with the resolution of your problem:

Disagreement resolution is the process for exploring and addressing issues about any aspect of a child's SEN provision, including health and social care disagreements.

It is intended to provide a quick and non-adversarial way to resolve disagreements. They are independent, confidential and do not affect the outcome of a tribunal hearing.

Do parents and young people have to engage with the service?

Before you can register an appeal with the First tier Tribunal service, you must contact a mediation advisor who will provide information on entering into mediation and / or obtaining a certificate from the mediation service.

The only exception to this is if an appeal relates only to section I of an EHC plan - you do not need to consider or contact the mediation services.

Any appeal to the First-tier SEND Tribunal service must be lodged within 2 months from receiving our decision letter or within 1 month of receiving the mediation certificate.

Partial agreement achieved through mediation can help to focus any subsequent appeal on any remaining areas of disagreement.

Appeals can be made via GOV.UK.