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What is Impartial Advice and Support?

This information is about the impartial information, advice and support required by the SEND Code of Practice.

What does the SEND Code of Practice say?

The SEND Code of Practice says:

Local authorities must arrange for children with SEN or disabilities for whom they are responsible, and their parents, and young people with SEN or disabilities for whom they are responsible, to be provided with information and advice about matters relating to their SEN or disabilities, including matters relating to health and social care.

This must include information, advice and support on the take-up and management of Personal Budgets. 

This means that every local authority should provide a service that is free, easy to access and confidential and that can help children, parents and young people take part in decisions that affect their lives.
In Southend-on-Sea this service is provided by the SENDIAS Service (Special Educational Needs & Disability Information Advice and Support Service).

What do we mean when we say we are impartial?

The SEND Code of Practice says:

The information, advice and support should be impartial and provided at arm’s length from the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CoP 2.8). This means that the information, advice and support that we offer is firmly based in the law and the SEND Code of Practice.

We provide unbiased information and advice about the local authority’s policies and procedures and about the policy and practice in local schools and other settings.

We do not give priority to any particular impairment, disability or special educational need, nor do we campaign for any particular approach to education.

By being impartial we aim to help parents, children and young people have clear, accurate and relevant information that will help them take part in decisions about their lives.

How do we know that we are impartial?

As a SENDIAS Service, we follow a national set of Quality Standards for services providing impartial information, advice and support developed by the Network of Information, Advice and Support Services. This helps us to monitor the effectiveness of our service we provide and ensure that it is ‘at arm’s length’ from the local authority. By this we mean that we act, and are seen to act, separately and impartially, with no undue influence or control from either the local authority or the Clinical Commissioning Group in our area.

We also publish an Annual Report that includes information on what people tell us about our service.

Where can I find out more?

The Local Offer includes details of Southend Council’s arrangements for providing information, advice and support.