Mediation & Disagreement Resolution Services (DRS) - The Together Trust

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 and 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.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Suzy Franklin
Contact Position
Mediation Manager
0161 283 4848 0161 283 4848
The Together Trust
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Where to go

Together Trust Centre,
Schools Hill,
View SK8 1JE on a map

Our mediation and dispute resolution service is available in Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, St Helens, Stoke on Trent, Cheshire East, Tameside and Telford and Wrekin.


Associated Cost


Referral not 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 notes

Mediation Process:

Mediation starts with an initial phone call. We’ll give you factual and unbiased information so you can decide if mediation is right for your situation. We’ll also answer any questions you might have about the process. If you decide to request a mediation meeting, we’ll then take a brief case history so we understand the needs of the child or young person and the disagreement you want to be resolved. We’ll also discuss who should attend and how we can support you throughout the process. We’ll then contact your local authority and get back in touch with possible dates and potential venues. Once meeting details are agreed, we’ll send details in writing to everyone involved.

If you decide mediation is not for you, we can provide a certificate to allow you to submit an appeal to the first tier tribunal.


Disagreement Resolution Process:

Disagreement resolution begins with an initial phone call to chat through the disagreement or issues that need to be resolved. We’ll ask for a brief case history so we understand the needs of the child or young person. We’ll also agree the focus of the meeting, who should attend and how we can support you throughout the process. 

After this call, we’ll contact the relevant parties and ask if they would be willing to take part. If everyone agrees, we’ll discuss a suitable date, time and neutral venue for a meeting.

As disagreement resolution is voluntary, sometimes agreement to proceed is not reached. If that happens, we will inform all involved and that will, unfortunately, be the end of our involvement.

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