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Dispute resolution or mediation, what is the difference?
If you are unhappy about a decision made by the Local Authority / Hackney Learning Trust you should try to talk to a senior member of the team to see if they can help resolve the concern.
It is still important to bear in mind the timelines for tribunals even if at this stage you are hoping to resolve the concern without taking this route.
Hackney SENDIAGS provide informal dispute resolution support as part of their SEND service.
KIDS London SEN Mediation Service:
There is also an independent mediation service, KIDS, who can help try to resolve your concerns. Here is a short video about this service.
The key differences between mediation and dispute resolution is that mediation, under the new Code of Practice, is now linked more formally to the Tribunal process. It takes place at the end of the assessment and planning process. Disagreement Resolution can be made available at any time.
Mediation supportively encourages people to bring a fresh pair of eyes to a situation…to try something different.
‘We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created them’
...the words of Albert Einstein.
Having considered mediation is now a requirement before going to SEND Tribunal. A certificate to show you have considered mediation is now required and is available from KIDS mediation service once they have explained the mediation process and options to you. You do not have to proceed with mediation if you decide it is not for you but you do need to evidence you have considered it for issues related to support and provision.
SEN Mediation Service
7–9 Elliott’s Place,
London N1 8HX
Tel: 020 7359 3635
Do I always have to prove I have considered mediation?
No, you do not have to prove you have considered mediation if you are unhappy about the named school or setting in your / your child's final EHC Plan. Section I of the EHC plan.
KIDS mediation, service is specifically for young people and their families who are unhappy with how their Education, Health and Care Plan has proceeded, and wish to appeal at a Tribunal. Mediation is also available when there is a disagreement about the Health or Care elements of an Education, Health and Care Plan.
What have parents said about KIDS mediation?
"[As a result of the mediation] we received an amended draft of the statement as promised. [Our son] now has a better statement recognising his complex needs. The service was effective and impartial. Many thanks to our mediator; she was calm and kind throughout!" Parent
Statements have been replaced with Education health and care plans. If your child still has a statement of special educational need they will have a transfer review to change this to an education health and care plan unless they no longer need support.
What do KIDS mediation service say?
"75% of cases that went through our mediation/disagreement resolution process last year resulted in agreement. Mediation is a more creative, flexible and user led process than Tribunal. The presence of a highly skilled mediator puts people at their ease so that families, their supporters, local authorities and other participants can understand and be understood. The process puts the child or young person at the heart of the discussion and aims to keep paperwork to a very minimum. It is also fast. A mediation session can be arranged within a matter of weeks compared to Tribunal hearing which can take several months.
If a family wishes to access the service, a trained mediator helps the people involved in the dispute to meet, clarify the issues and work together to reach an acceptable solution with the Local Authority and other bodies involved in developing the plan. The mediator is an independent facilitator who does not take sides, give advice or make judgements. The parent or young person’s use of mediation is voluntary, and the Local Authority / Hackney Learning Trust is required to give the details of the mediation service to families and young people who have applied for an EHC Plan.
Thank you to KIDS mediation for the quotes from their website.
Last updated 21/11/16
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