Wherever possible issues and disagreements should be discussed and resolved at the earliest opportunity. This may be an informal chat with a teacher, social worker or health professional initially. Schools, colleges and services will have their own published policies and/or guidance for addressing complaints and disagreements and the arrangements described below are not intended to replace these.
However, it is recognised that there may be instances where a more formal opportunity for meeting and talking with those involved in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, facilitated by an independent and neutral third party, is required. Such discussions would include the parents and carers. They may also involve the children and young people themselves, as appropriate.
This page sets out the different processes available depending on the nature of the issue/disagreement, in line with the SEND Code of Practice 2015 and updated to include the Single Route of Redress which came into force in April 2018.
DRS is the process for exploring and addressing issues about any aspect of SEN provision, including health and social care disagreements. The child or young person does not have to have, or be in the process of being assessed for, an Education, Health and Care Plan in order to access the disagreement resolution process. It is intended to provide a quick and non-adversarial way to resolve disagreements.
Following a tendering process Global Mediation Ltd was appointed to provide a Disgareement Resolution Service across the East Midlands region. This service is free of charge to users and their contact details are as follows:
Tel: 0800 064 4488 or from a mobile phone at local rate on 0208 441 1355
For more information on Global Mediation Ltd please click here or on the image below:
Mediation Services are specifically focused on issues and disagreements relating to the Education, Health and Care (EHC) process. Parents have the right of appeal to the First Tier tribunal if they disagree with a Local Authority decision within the EHC process, e.g.:
- The LA decides that an EHC needs assessment is not necessary
- After an EHC needs assessment is completed, the Local Authority decides that an EHC plan is not necessary
- Other changes to the EHC plan following the Annual Review process.
Parents and young people are required to consider formal mediation if they wish to lodge an appeal against these decisions, unless they are only disagreeing with the name of the education placement named on an EHC plan. Mediation advice is also not required where the disagreement is in relation to a disability discrimination claim. (Please see the downloadable guidance on this page for further information about disability discrimination claims).
Parents and young people will need to obtain a certificate to demonstrate that they have at least considered mediation prior to lodging an appeal, or a certificate to say they have taken part in mediation. This certificate will be issued by a Mediation Adviser, who can provide support and guidance to you about what can be appealed to tribunal, how mediation can be accessed and who the appointed mediators are for the East Midlands.
Following a tendering process Global Mediation Ltd was appointed to provide mediation advice across the East Midlands region. This service is free of charge to users and can be accessed via the following Freephone number – 0800 064 4488 or from a mobile phone at local rate on 0208 441 1355.
For more information on Global Mediation Ltd please click here or on the image below:
What is the First Tier Tribunal?
When Local Authorities make certain decisions about the education and/or training of a child or young person with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND), there is a right of appeal. The First Tier Tribunal is an independent national tribunal, which hears parents and young people's appeals against Local Authority decisions about the special educational needs of children and young people.
What reasons can I appeal a decision?
You can take a case to the SEND Tribunal for the following reasons if a Local Authority:
- refuses to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment or re-assessment;
- refuses to issue an EHC Plan;
- issues or amends an EHC Plan but you disagree with any or all of Section B (special educational needs), Section F (special educational provision) or Section I (placement);
- decides not to amend an EHC Plan after an annual review;
- decides to cease to maintain the EHC Plan at any point.
Who can appeal a decision?
If the decision concerns a child, it is the parent who has the right of appeal. If the decision concerns a young person (16-25), then it is the young person who has the right of appeal. However, if there is an agreement that a young person does not have the capacity to make the appeal, in most cases a parent will be the 'alternative person' and can register the appeal.
You must consider mediation before an appeal
Before taking an appeal to the SEND Tribunal, you must consider mediation. This does not mean that mediation is compulsory, but it must be considered. Parents and young people will need to obtain a certificate to demonstrate that they have at least considered mediation prior to lodging an appeal, or a certificate to say they have taken part in mediation. The exception to this is if you are appealing only about the school or college placement, or where no school or college is named and you are appealing about that fact.
Details of the mediation service can be found in the drop down section above on this page.
Further guidance and appeal forms
For further guidance on the First Tier Tribunal please click here https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/first-tier-tribunal-special-educational-needs-and-disability .
To access the appeal forms please click here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/special-educational-needs-and-disability-tribunal-forms
Previously parents and young people have only been able to appeal against the educational aspects of the EHC plan. However, there is a new national trial which now gives parents or young people rights to request non-binding recommendations about health and social care needs and the associated provision specified in the EHC plan. The trial applies to decisions made or EHC plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018. This trial is also known as the ‘Single Route of Redress’.
The First-tier Tribunal is only able to consider appeals against the health and/or social care aspects of an EHC plan if you have already registered an appeal against the educational elements of the plan and this part of the appeal remains ‘live’ throughout the appeal process.
The national trial of the Single Route of Redress has now been extended until at least 31st August 2021. Further details on this can be seen in Minister Ford's letter below.
For information on the Single Route of Redress please click here or on the icon below:
For Minster Ford letter please click here or on the icon below:
If you are a young person aged 16 -25 in school or college and have a complaint or dispute about the education provision you are receiving and need help to sort these problems out you can access guidance on this called 'SEND Complaints: A Guide for Young People In Education' You can view it by please clicking here or on the icon below:
Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Services are detailed in Chapter 11 of The SEND Code of Practice (0-25).
Chapter 11 tells you how disagreements between yourself and School, Health, Social Care and or the Local Authority can be addressed. It shows you the types of disagreement you may be having and tells you who you should write to to address those concerns so that disagreements can be resolved as quickly as possible.
The link below will take you to chapter 11 of The SEND Code of Practice (0-25) and will help you to understand your options and your rights when faced with a disagreement about the Special Educational Needs provision that is being made for you or your child / young person.
Please click here for more information or on the icon below:
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities and organisations, including education admissions appeal panels.The service is free, independent and impartial. Please click here to access their website: LGSCO
PLEASE NOTE: Before you make a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman you first must have made a complaint to the Local Authority for them to investigate and try and put things right. For further information on how to make a complaint on Nottinghamshire County Council Services including school admission please here NCC Complaints
Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS) offer free, impartial and confidential information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN from birth to 25, and their parents/carers. They are statutory services, which means there has to be a service in every Local Authority. In Nottinghamshire the service if offered by Ask Us. Watch this animation, which explains all of the support on offer from IASS:
Ask Us Nottinghamshire
Ask Us Nottinghamshire offer the following support services for parents/carers of children and young people with SEND:
- Telephone helpline.
- Face-to-face support.
- In-depth casework support for parents including attendance at education-related meetings.
- Support to request EHC Needs Assessment and with the EHCP process and appeals.
- Advice and support relating to exclusions of children/young people with SEND.
Ask Us Nottinghamshire can be accessed via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 0800 1217772