Together Trust SEND Disagreement Resolution and Mediation Services
At Together Trust we believe everybody deserves an equal chance in life. There are no exceptions. We understand that special educational needs, including autism, emotional and behavioural difficulties and speech, language and communication difficulties, affect not only the individual but also inpact on the whole family and those around them.
Disagreement Resolution (DRS) & Mediation Services are designed to help settle disagreements surrounding the provisions provided for a child/ young person with special educational needs/ disabilities and how their needs can best be met. Here at Together Trust, we have been providing these services to a number of Local Authority areas to enable parties to have their voice.
This is done by organising a meeting involving key people to the disagreement (where possible) which is facilitated by our trained, impartial SEND mediators. Discussion surrounding the disagreement enables each party the opportunity to provide their views and also to listen to others. The mediator isn't there to take sides or to make decisions, but to assist you and those present, to share individual views/ concerns, ensuring that each person is heard. The mediator will encourage those present to problems solve together which can enable a way forward to resolve the situation. Meetings will usually last about 2 hours and are held as centrally as possible to all parties within a neutral venue, with the exception of our mediator who travels to your location.
While 'disagreement resolution' and 'mediation' are often used interchangeably, under the Children and Families Act 2014 they refer to different processes.
Mediation is specifically linked to decisions relating to an EHC Needs Assessment and/or Plan and is a statutory service commissioned by the Local Authority. Mediation must be considered by parents, carers or young people before submitting an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. Your right to appeal decisions is time limited and advice must be sought within 2 months from the date of your letter from the LEA.
Families have the option to choose whether or not to take part in a mediation meeting. Should you choose not to go to mediation, a certificate must be obtained from your mediation adviser to confirm this option has been considered. You will not be disadvantaged at a Tribunal should you feel mediation wouldn't be productive at this stage and Tribunal will not take account of whether or not mediation has taken place.
Disagreement Resolution applies to any aspect of SEN regardless of whether or not a child or young person is being assessed for or has an EHC plan, and can be used at any time with the agreement of parties involved.
DRS covers a range of disagreements including:
- The performance of duties.
- Any aspect of SEN provision.
- Health and social care disagreements during the processes related to an EHC needs assessment.
We welcome contact from parents, carers and professionals who are interested in our services. Our mediation co-ordinators are available to provide impartial and unbiased information and guidance on DRS and Mediation, including the timescales involved in the process, and to answer any questions that you may have to enable you to make an informed decision. For more information, please contact us on 0161 283 4848 or visit www.togethertrust.org.uk and search 'mediation'.
Who to contact
- 0161 283 4848
Where to go
- SK8 1JE