Mediation or Dispute / Disagreement Resolution - What is the difference?
If you are unhappy about a decision made by a school, service or the local authority you should try to talk to a senior member of staff to see if they can help put things right.
When we are thinking about SEND the key difference between mediation and dispute / disagreement (different words for the same thing) resolution is that Mediation is more formally linked to the SEND Tribunal legal process.
Who can help with dispute or disagreement resolution?
Hackney’s free impartial SEND Information, Advice and Support service, SENDIAGS, offer support with informal dispute or disagreement resolution as well as other services.
Disagreement Resolution is an option available to you at any time during discussions and negotiations about support for children and young people with SEND.
SENDIAGS (SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service)
020 7275 6036 (Advice Line)
07500 066 513 (Service Coordinator)
So what is formal mediation?
‘We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created them’ Albert Einstein.
Mediation supports and encourages people to look at a situation with fresh eyes and try something different.
If needed, formal Mediation takes place at the end of the EHC Needs Assessment and/or EHC Planning process.
To have considered mediation is now a legal requirement before going to SEND Tribunal.
It is important to consider the timescale for taking your concerns through the SEND Tribunal. Even if you hope to resolve the concern (and so not have to proceed to a Tribunal) you should still think about SEND Tribunal as a time limited option.
A certificate to show you have discussed it with the regonised provider, and understood that mediation is an option is now a requirement.
Mediation certificates are available from the mediation service once they have been able to explained the mediation process and options to you.
- You do not have to proceed with mediation if you decide it is not for you.
- You do need to evidence you have considered mediation for issues about support and provision.
Mediation is also available when there is a disagreement about the Health or Care elements of an Education, Health and Care Plan.
What is good about meditation?
Mediation is a more creative, flexible and user led process than the SEND Tribunal.
- The mediator is an independent facilitator who does not take sides, give advice or make judgements.
- Involving a skilled mediator helps put 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 minimum.
- A mediation session can be arranged in a matter of weeks compared to a SEND Tribunal which can take several months.
- If a family wishes to access mediation, a trained mediator helps people involved in the dispute or disagreement to meet, be clear about the issues and work together with the local authority and other partners involved in developing the EHC Plan to find an acceptable solution .
- The parent or young person’s use of mediation is voluntary.
Do I always have to prove I have considered mediation?
No. There are particular circumstances when you do not have to provide evidence you have considered mediation. For example if you are unhappy about the named school or setting in your/your child or young person's final EHC Plan.
This can be found in section I of the EHC plan.
Who are Hackney’s independent SEND Mediation service?
All local authorities MUST offer parent-carers and/or young people the option of an independent Mediation service to help try to resolve their concerns.
Local authorities MUST give the details of the mediation service to families and young people who have applied for an EHC Plan.
Global Mediation - SEND mediation service is Hackney’s independent mediation service provider as of April 2021.
- Are you a young person, parent or carer who is unhappy with how an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan has proceeded?
- Are you thinking about making an appeal to the SEND Tribunal?
Phone: 0800 064 44 88 / 0208 441 1355
Page last modified 03/06/21