Mediation and disagreement resolution

Wherever possible we want to enable issues and disagreements to be discussed and resolved at the earliest opportunity. To start with this may be an informal chat with a teacher, social worker or health professional. Schools, colleges and services will have their own published policies and/or guidance for addressing complaints and disagreements. The arrangements described below are not intended to replace these.

There may be instances where a more formal opportunity for meeting with those involved in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities is required.

These discussions would involve parents and carers, but may also involve the children and young people themselves, as appropriate.

There are two slightly different processes depending on the nature of the issue/disagreement, in line with the SEN Code of Practice. These are:

  • disagreement resolution
  • mediation.

Disagreement resolution

This is the process for exploring and addressing issues about any aspect of SEN provision, including health and social care disagreements. The child or young person does not have to have or be in the process of being assessed for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC), in order to access the disagreement resolution process. It is intended to provide a quick and non-conflicting way to resolve disagreements.

There are two providers that were successful in tendering to deliver disagreement resolution services across the East Midlands. These are:

Mediation services

These are specifically focused on issues and disagreements relating to Education, Health and Care Plans. This includes where a request has been made for an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan and that request has been turned down by us. Decisions relating to the assessment process or the provision or needs described in an Education, Health and Care Plan can be appealed to the First Tier Tribunal.

How to obtain mediation advice?

A parent or young person wishing to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal about the education elements of EHC assessments and plans needs to obtain a certificate to demonstrate that they have at least considered mediation before the tribunal will accept their appeal. The certificate is issued by a mediation adviser, who can provide support and guidance to you about what can be appealed to tribunal, how mediation can be accessed and who the mediators are for the East Midlands.

You do not have to contact the mediation adviser prior to registering an appeal with the tribunal, if the appeal is solely about:

  • the name of the school/college/other institution named in the EHC Plan
  • the type of school/college/other institution specified in the plan
  • no school or other institution is named.

Mediation advice is also not required where the disagreement is in relation to a disability discrimination claim.

Global Mediation are appointed to provide mediation advice across the East Midlands region. This service is free of charge and can be accessed via the following Freephone number. Tel: 0800 064 4488.

Global Mediation is a separate organisation from the providers of mediation services in the East Midlands and they are therefore able to provide neutral and independent advice on the mediation process and refer you to a mediation provider, if appropriate.

If you wish to consider mediation please do not contact KIDS or The Together Trust directly, please instead contact Global Mediation on tel: 0800 064 4488. This will ensure that you have received impartial mediation advice first. If you contact KIDS or The Together Trust regarding a mediation matter without obtaining mediation advice first, these providers have been advised to refer the matter back to Global Mediation Ltd.

Deciding whether to go to mediation or make an appeal to the tribunal

Once you have received mediation advice, it is your decision whether you want to try mediation before making any appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.

Global Mediation will give you further information about the providers who successfully tendered to offer mediation services for the East Midlands. If you decide to proceed with mediation they will refer your details onto your chosen provider so that you don't have to give the same information all over again.

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) code of practice makes it clear that people and young people will not be disadvantaged at the tribunal if they have chosen not to proceed with mediation.

Mediation Providers

Feedback from parents across the region indicated that they wanted a choice of provider when it came to mediation. As a consequence, two providers have been awarded contracts to deliver both disagreement resolution and mediation services − KIDS and The Together Trust, whilst a third provider − Global Mediation were awarded the contract to deliver independent mediation advice.