Mediation is a type of disagreement resolution for disagreements that can be appealed to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. The service is free and confidential.
In Southend, mediation services are provided by Global Mediation.
If parents and young people want it to, 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 receiving a final EHC plan or amended plan.
- Not to amend an EHC plan.
- To cease to maintain an EHC plan.
If you wish to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and disability) you first must consider whether to enter mediation and obtain a certificate saying you have considered it. This is called mediation advice.
If you decide not to go into mediation and tell the mediation adviser, they will send you a certificate within three working days and you can then register your appeal.
- You do not have to go into mediation if you do not want to, you only must consider whether to or not.
- The local authority must tell you about mediation and who to contact for the initial advice when they send you their decision.
- You must contact the mediation adviser within two months of getting the decision.
You can register an appeal without considering mediation first if the appeal is only about:
- The name of the school or college named on the plan.
- The type of school or college specified in the plan.
- The fact that no school or other institution is named.
If you choose mediation the local authority must take part. The meeting will be arranged within 30 days.
An independent mediator runs the meeting.
When the meeting has finished the mediator issues you with a certificate within three working days. You need this certificate if you still want to register an appeal with the First Tier Tribunal.
Your time limit for appealing to the Tribunal is two months from the date of the decision you disagree with, or one month from the date of the mediation certificate, whichever is the later.
Mediators must be trained and accredited and are independent of the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.
If you go over the two-month deadline for considering mediation, or want to appeal without a certificate, the law says you can still approach the Tribunal to see if you can register your appeal.