Complaints, Disagreement Resolution and Appeals
Useful Information Coronavirus COVID-19
We have put together some helpful information and support that you may find helpful during the current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic
These can be accessed on the dedicated page for Help and Information: Coronavirus COVID-19
Complaints, Schools Admissions and Assisted Travel
Complaints processes explained
School Admissions and Assisted Travel-School Transport - Appeals process explained
What if the Local Authority decides that an EHC Plan is not necessary and you disagree with this decision?
1. You can submit an appeal to SENDIST
Appeals can be submitted either within two months from the date of this letter or within one month of receiving the mediation certificate whichever is the later. You should submit your appeal to Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).
SENDIST process explained – appeal an education, health and care (EHC) plan decision
Their contact details are:
HM Courts & Tribunals
SENDIST, 1st Floor Darlington Magistrates Court
Darlington, DL1 1RU.
Telephone Number 01325 289350
Email: [email protected]
2. You can contact Halton SENDIASS (SEND Partnership) for further advice
3a. You can request a mediation meeting
Mediation is a service for parents/carers whose children have SEND and who have been declined assessment or an EHC Plan or who have had a Plan ceased following review. It is a requirement for parents/carers to consider mediation before appealing to the Tribunal and they must discuss this with the mediation service. However, this does not apply if the appeal will only relate to the named school/setting in the Plan when parents can proceed straight to appeal.
‘KIDS’ is an organisation the Local Authority has commissioned to offer this service free to parents. The service gives you the support of an expert in resolving disputes and enables you to be fully involved in decisions that will affect your life and those closest to you.
See box 3b. KIDS Mediation Service below for more information and contact details
The mediator will be an independent and impartial person who has no involvement with the case or the outcome. The mediator will also have knowledge of special educational needs and will be trained in working with people to assist them in communicating and resolving disagreements.
If you decide to proceed with mediation, it should take place within 30 days.
If it is found that mediation cannot take place within 30 days, on a matter that can be appealed to Tribunal, then the mediator must issue a certificate within 3 days. You then have the option of appealing immediately or waiting for mediation to take place.
Agreeing or declining to participate in mediation does not affect your right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).
If you do not wish to enter into mediation, it is still necessary to obtain a certificate from the mediation service if you wish to appeal.
3b. KIDS Mediation Services
Parents, carers and young people can use mediation to help resolve disagreements about Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments and Plans, as well as other issues before making an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. Mediation is very successful and means you may not have to go to Tribunal. But if you are not happy with the outcome of mediation, you can still make an appeal to the Tribunal.
- All our work is free of charge. The service is for children and young people age 0 to 25 and their parents. Mediation is quick and informal and often helps resolve disagreements so that you do not have to go to Tribunal.
- We arrange Mediation and disagreement resolution between parents and the local authority, as well as the school or college. Health and Social Services can also be involved.
- Mediation meetings are usually face-to-face. The impartial mediator helps everybody prepare for the meeting and makes sure that everybody’s voice is heard. Mediation meetings take place somewhere near you and within 30 days of your request.
- At the end of the Mediation meeting, the mediator helps parties put their agreements in writing. The agreement is signed and a copy given to everybody. This forms a Contract between the parties.
Tel: 03330 062 835
Email: [email protected]
Website KIDS Mediation Service
4. SEND Tribunal Extended Powers (20 July 2021 update)
On 20 July 2021, the Department for Education confirmed the extended powers given to the special educational needs and disability (SEND) tribunal to hear appeals and make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of education, health and care (EHC) plans, provided those appeals also included education elements, will continue.
These extended powers are currently being tested under a national trial, which began in April 2018. The trial will end on 31 August 2021 and the powers will continue.
This guidance sets out the extended powers and duties in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017.
It explains how the appeal process will work, what happens if recommendations are not followed and the support available for commissioners and families.
Further guidance and support for the trial can be found in the SEND national trial toolkit.
EHCP Feedback Form – Your Voice Counts
If your child has a Halton EHCP, please share your views and experience with us by completing our Feedback Form below, so we can better support children and young people with SEND, their parents and carers