Mediation and rights of appeal

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Mediation is a voluntary process for parents and young people. It is used when parents and the local authority can't reach an agreement about Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. A trained and accredited mediator delivers mediation. They are independent of the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.

You may consider mediation if you disagree with the local authority’s decision:

  • not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
  • not to draw up an EHC plan after an EHC needs assessment
  • not to amend an EHC plan after an annual review or re-assessment
  • to stop an EHC plan

Mediation must also be available if parents or young people disagree with:

  • the parts of the EHC plan that describe the child or young person’s special educational needs
  • the special educational provision set out in the EHC plan
  • the health and social care elements of an EHC plan

You must request mediation within 2 months of the date of the decision notice by the local authority.

Parents and young people can also register an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. This is an independent first-tier tribunal. They hear and decide parents’ or young peoples’ appeals. Usually the appeals are against a local authority decision about special educational needs.

To register an appeal you must first contact an independent mediation adviser. They will issue a certificate to show that you have done so. The mediation adviser will provide you with factual information. They will explain the process and answer any questions.

Once you have contacted the mediation adviser you can choose whether you wish to go to mediation or not. You will need a certificate from the mediation adviser before you can register your appeal with the SEND Tribunal.

Contact the Global Mediation’s Mediation Adviser on 0800 064 4488. This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential.

Sometimes you don't need to have a certificate from a mediation adviser before you register an appeal. This is the case if:

  • the appeal is about the name of the school, college or setting named on the EHC plan
  • the type of school, college or setting specified in the plan
  • the fact that there is no named school or setting.
  • the appeal is about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.

To check if these exceptions apply contact Cornwall SENDiass or Global Mediation. They can advise you.

If you decide to go to mediation, Global Mediation will make all the arrangements for you. The mediation will take place within 30 days. It will be at a time and place that is convenient to you.

To discuss or request mediation advice and meditation please contact Global Mediation on 0800 064 4488. 

Registering an appeal with the Tribunal

The Tribunal hears appeals against decisions made by local authorities in England. This is in relation to children’s and young people’s EHC needs assessments and EHC plans. Parents and young people can appeal to the Tribunal. Usually this is after contacting the mediation adviser (see above for details).

Parents and young people can appeal to the Tribunal about:

  • a decision by a local authority not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or re-assessment
  • a decision by a local authority that it is not necessary to issue an EHC plan following an assessment
  • the description of a child or young person’s SEN in an EHC plan
  • the special educational provision named
  • the school or setting or type of school or setting
  • if there is no name school or setting
  • an amendment to these elements of the EHC plan
  • a decision by a local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or re-assessment
  • a decision by a local authority to stop to maintain an EHC plan.

The Tribunal does not hear appeals about Personal Budgets. However, it will hear appeals about the special educational provision associated with a Personal Budget.

Parents and young people who are unhappy with decisions about the health and social care elements of an EHC plan can go to mediation. They can also complain through the health and social care complaints procedures.

The following conditions apply to appeals:

  • the parent or young person can appeal to the Tribunal when the EHC plan is initially finalised. This is following an amendment or a replacement of the plan
  • you must register and appeal to Tribunal within two months of the local authority sending a notice. Or within one month of a mediation certificate being issued. Or the parent or young person getting mediation information
  • the right to appeal a refusal of an EHC needs assessment will be triggered only where the local authority has not carried out an assessment in the previous six months
  • when the parent or young person appeals a decision to stop an EHC plan, the local authority must maintain the plan until the Tribunal’s outcome

You can get information from the Tribunal Service.

Cornwall SENDiass can also give you more information.

Single route to redress

The government is trialling a single route to redress. Find out more from Send Pathfinder.

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