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 25, with 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:
- 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.