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Mediation & Disagreement Resolution Services (DRS)

The Together Trust Mediation & Disagreement Resolution Services (DRS) are designed to help settle disagreements surrounding the provisions for a child/young person aged 0 to 25with special educational needs & disabilities.

Mediation is specifically linked to decisions relating to an EHC needs assessment and/or an EHCP which must be considered by parents, carers or young people before submitting an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. Your right to appeal decisions are time limited and advice must be sought within 2 months from the date of your letter from the local authority.

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

During the initial enquiry we provide factual and unbiased information about mediation to help families and young people decide if it could be helpful to proceed with a mediation.  We will do our best to answer any questions asked about the process. Families and young people have the option to choose whether or not to take part in a mediation meeting. 

Should a family or young person choose not to go to mediation, a certificate must be obtained from the mediation service to confirm this option has been considered before lodging an appeal with the first tier tribunal. The tribunal will not take account whether or not mediation has taken place. 

Disagreement Resolution applies to any aspect of special educational needs and disability (SEND) regardless of whether or not the child or young person is being assessed for or has an EHC plan, and can be used at any time with the agreement of the parties involved. 

DRS covers a range of disagreements including: 

  • Placement 
  • The performance of duties 
  • Any aspect of SEN provision 
  • Health and social care disagreements during the processes related to an EHC needs assessment

Both mediation and dispute resolution meetings are arranged by involving key people in the disagreement (where possible) and are 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 those present, to share individual views/concerns, ensuring that each person is heard. The mediator will encourage those present to problem 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.

The Together Trust's mediation and dispute resolution service is available in the following local authority areas: Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Cheshire East, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, St Helens, Stoke on Trent, Tameside and Telford and Wrekin.

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 about mediation and dispute resolution and to answer any questions that you may have to enable you to make an informed decision.

For more information you can call us on 0161 283 4848 

Email us at

You can visit the Together Trust mediation service at  

Who to contact

Contact Name
Mediation Team
Contact Position

Where to go

Together Trust Centre,
Schools Hill,

Time / Date Details

When is it on
Monday to Friday work hours
Time of day


Referral required
Referral Details

Parents, carers or young people aged between 16 and 25 years can contact us by phone, email or website enquiry form. We can also take referrals from local authorities, independent information, advice and support services, school staff or other agencies. If you’re a third party making a referral, please get permission from parents and carers before sharing any details with us.

Other Details

Other notes

Mediation can help settle any disputes with your local authority over your child's education, health and care plan (EHC). If you want to challenge a decision that’s been made, mediation is your first stop before before considering an appeal to the first tier tribunal. It’s an opportunity to get all parties together to resolve any issues early. We can give you factual and unbiased information about the process to help you decide if mediation is right for you. If it's not right for you, we can issue you with a mediation certificate.

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
  • If a decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan is made

Parents and young people do not have to contact the mediation adviser prior to registering their appeal with the Tribunal if their appeal is solely about the name of the school, college or other institution named on the plan, the type of school, college or other institution specified in the plan or the fact that no school or other institution is named.


The mediation and disagreement resolution service is free to parents, carers and young people. You may also be able to claim back some expenses incurred while attending a mediation meeting. Speak to your local authority for more info about this.