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Resolving disagreements


Rotherham SENDIASS works to prevent disagreements. The Service adopts a neutral role in situations involving disagreements between parents/carers, school, and/or LA. Service staff will negotiate on parents/carers behalf with schools or the LA. Emphasis is placed on keeping lines of communication open and resolving disagreements before it becomes necessary to use formal procedures.

Sometimes it can be difficult to reach agreement. Rotherham SENDIASS can provide information with regards to more formal procedures.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Local authorities must make disagreement resolution services available to parents and young people. Use of the disagreement resolution services is voluntary and has to be with the agreement of all parties. The service, while commissioned by it, must be independent of the local authority – no-one who is directly employed by a local authority can provide disagreement resolution services. (11.6)

Community Accord is an independent service that will provide a trained mediator to facilitate a discussion. The purpose is to look for a way forward that all the parties accept. The service is free and confidential - and you can choose whether to use it.

The disagreement resolution service is there to help resolve three kinds of disagreement between parents or young people and the organisations that are responsible for making provision for children and young people with special educational needs. These are about:

  • how early years providers, schools and further education institutions carry out their duties for children and young people with SEN. For local authorities this includes keeping education and care provision under review, assessing needs and drawing up Education, Health and Care plans. For governing bodies and proprietors of schools it includes using their “best endeavours” to meet children and young people’s SEN.
  • the special educational provision made for a child or young person by early years providers, schools or further education institutions. This includes children and young people receiving SEN support and those with EHC plans.
  • health or social care provision when this part of an EHC needs assessment, while EHC plans are being drawn up, reviewed or when children or young people are being reassessed. 

Disagreement resolution services can also be used:

  • during EHC needs assessments
  • while EHC plans are drawn up
  • while waiting for Tribunal appeals
  • at review 
  • during reassessments

Rotherham SENDIASS or Community Accord can help you decide if independent disagreement resolution is the right way forward.

You can find out more about disagreement resolution services in the SEND Code of Practice sections 11.6 to 11.10.

Contact us about disagreement resolution

View the SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years


Mediation

Mediation is a type of disagreement resolution for disagreements that can be appealed to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. The service is free and confidential.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

If parents and young people want it to, mediation can take place following decisions by a local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment, not to draw up an EHC plan, after they receive a final EHC plan or amended plan, following a decision not to amend an EHC plan or a decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan. (11.13)

If you wish to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability) you first have to consider whether to enter mediation and obtain a certificate saying you have considered it. This is called mediation advice. If you decide not to go into mediation and tell the mediation adviser, they will send you a certificate within 3 working days and you can then register your appeal. You do not have to go into mediation if you do not want to – you only have to consider whether to or not.

Your local authority must tell you about mediation and who to contact for the initial advice when they send you their decision. You must contact the mediation adviser within two months of getting the decision. Your time limit for appealing to the Tribunal is two months from the date of that decision, or one month from the date of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

There is one exception to this rule; you can register an appeal without considering mediation first if the appeal is only about the name of the school, or college, named on the plan, the type of school or college specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named.

If you choose mediation the local authority (or Clinical Commissioning Group) must take part. The meeting will be arranged within 30 days.

An independent mediator runs the meeting. When the meeting has finished the mediator issues you with a certificate within 3 working days. You need this certificate if you still want to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal. Your time limit for appealing to the Tribunal is two months from the date of the decision you disagree with, or one month from the date of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later.

Mediators must be trained and accredited and are independent of the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.

If you go over the two month deadline for considering mediation, or want to appeal without a certificate, the law says you can still approach the Tribunal to see if you can register your appeal.

Rotherham SENDIASS or Community Accord can help you decide if mediation is the right way forward.

You can find out more about mediation in the SEND Code of Practice sections 11.13 to 11.38.

Contact us about mediation

View the SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years


Community Accord

If it is not possible to informally resolve the disagreement we would recommend Community Accord SEN Mediation Service.

Community Accord SEN Mediation Service, is a specialist service that is being offered as part of the arrangements to help resolve disagreements that parents may have with either Local Authorities (LAs), or schools, about any aspect of Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision for their child. There is no charge to parents for using the service. 

Community Accord


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Unless otherwise stated.