Hackney SENDIAGS (SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service)

Service details

Who are we? 

The Hackney SEND Information, Advice and Guidance Service (SENDIAGS) is an arm's length service providing impartial and confidential information, advice and support to parents and carers of and young people with Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND).

About the service

SENDIAGS is a Statutory Service, this means funding is provided by the government because they have said the service must be made available. This statutory duty was created to help parents, young people, and children to navigate the SEN (Special Educational Needs) system.

As part of the Children and Families Act 2014, it is a legal requirement that all local authorities ensure children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and; their parents have access to an impartial Information, Advice and Support (IAS) service. The IASSN (Information Advice and Support Services Network) is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) to support this.”  Council for Disabled Children IASS Network

IAS services like SENDIAGS are underpinned by Minimum National Standards

This short animation was developed to help children and young people with additional needs understand the service we offer.

This second video has been produced with The Council for Disabled Children to explain more about how services like ours work with parents, carers, and young people.

Who works in the service? 

Hackney SENDIAGS currently has an Information Officer, 1 full-time and one part-time Advice Worker, and 1 part-time Manager. 

What if spoken English is not my first language? 

SENDIAGS will use interpreters and BSL (British Sign Language) signers and interpreters to meet the communication needs of people who need to use the service. 

What information can we provide?

We can provide information about the law on Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability, Health and Social Care where they link to:

  • Education including Elective Home Education (EHE)
  • Local policy and practice
  • Personal budgets and working together (personalisation)
  • Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)
  • Mediation and dispute resolution, Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Service and
  • complaints procedures

What advice can we offer?

We can provide specialist advice where it relates to:

  • Gathering, understanding and interpreting information and applying it to your own situation
  • Signposting to other services for information, advice and support
  • What to do when things go wrong
  • How to get the best from a meeting

What support can we offer?

SENDIAGS is based on a parent empowerment model, providing a variety of intervention levels depending on the needs of the client.

Where possible clients are informed of their rights and the duties of organisations, and they are provided with a toolkit and advice in order for them to be able to manage their own affairs.

The service can support with:

  • Preparing for and attending meetings
  • Writing letters
  • Admissions Appeals
  • Understanding reports
  • The EHC Plan process and annual reviews
  • Admissions and Exclusions
  • Post 16 provision
  • Working in partnership with schools and the local authority to develop positive relationships
  • Drafting, and submitting a Tribunal Appeal

Clients may need ongoing support at various levels and will often come back to the service for information advice and support at various times with new and emerging issues.

How much support can we give clients? 

We grade our support interventions according to how much support a family needs. 

  • Level 1 may be one-off information or signposting. 
  • Levels 2 and 3 indicate more time and support is needed.
  • Level 4 is where a case may need months of research and support and may involve a tribunal.

CETR (Care Education and Treatment Reviews) Advocacy Offer

During the CETR process, you will be offered an advocate.

If you wish to have an advocate, they will meet with you before the CETR panel meets with you.

The advocate will help you to express and capture your thoughts and feelings, including what is working and not working in all areas of your care and education and what you want for the future.

The advocate will meet with you, in a way that best suits you. They will also ensure the panel is aware of what support you need to engage in the CETR meeting.

The advocate, if appropriate, can also speak to your family members or supporters.

The advocate will also be present on the Panel meeting day that you will attend, to ensure your views and wishes are heard and understood.

Who can access information and advice from our service?

Parents, carers, and young people with additional needs and or disabilities. 

Practitioners and professionals working with families within the SEND system are also able to use the information, advice, and support on offer to build on their own knowledge and understanding, understand roles, duties, and legal requirements, and check if their interpretation is accurate and compliant.

How can you contact the service?

SENDIAGS runs a 24-hour 7 day a 7-day-a-week enquiry helpline.

The service also has a dedicated email for enquiries.

Potential clients and existing clients can use this to contact the service. They are then asked to leave a message.

SENDIAGS staff receive a notification of the message. Service users will receive a response within 5 working days however the majority of enquiries are responded to sooner depending on staff availability.

We can provide information, support, and advice by email, phone, virtual meetings, and face-to-face meetings.

Do I need a referral?

SENDIAGS is a self-referral service so you just need to get in touch with some details of your query and your best contact details for a reply.

If a parent or young person is unable to access the service due to a language or disability need for example, practitioners and service providers can refer parents or young people to the service.

Service definitions of impartial, confidential and advocacy.

We are impartial, as advice and support are underpinned by statute law, regulations, the SEND Code of Practice, and statutory and non-statutory guidance.

We are confidential, as the service only shares information and advice given in line with data protection and only intervenes with the parent or young person’s permission.

SENDAIGS also has an advocacy role supporting parents, carers, and young people with SEND who become clients. The definition of advocacy that applies to the service can be found here.

How do we raise awareness of legal rights and legislation relevant to parents of children with SEND?

While we offer individual support we also work to raise awareness of the legal rights and legislation as it applies to SEND (Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities).

All SENDIAGS staff have undertaken accredited legal training through IPSEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice). This training consists of 3 levels – elementary to advanced. The training provides the knowledge base (in addition to staff experience in applying the law) for staff to advise parents, carers, and young people and practitioners who work with them.

Parent information workshops "Knowledge is Power"

SENDIAGS provides at least 3 parent information workshops annually on current issues for example the SEND Review Green Paper, SEN Support in Schools or the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment process, and EHC Plans. 

Support from the service where a parent of a young person does not agree with a decision

As defined above SENDIAGS has an advocacy role. SENDIAGS will provide parents with information and advice about all their options to seek resolution to any given issue.  The service can advocate for and support parents through these processes. SENDIAGS does this based on the law and available evidence. This information, advice and support could involve:

  • Informal complaints
  • Formal complaints and escalation e.g. Local Ombudsman
  • Re-submission of a request to assess (for example)
  • Tribunal Appeals Note: SENDIAGS staff are not legal representatives as barristers or solicitors are, but in some instances can attend tribunal hearings as a parent supporter
  • Correspondence and meetings with schools and professionals outlining duties and good
  • practice based in guidance in order to seek resolution
  • Ensuring parents understand legal processes including how and when appeal rights are triggered.
  • Support in understanding and supporting parents through Mediation pathways and meetings.

Service information for young people

This video has been produced with The Council for Disabled Children to explain more about how services like ours work with young people and their parents or carers. 

SENDIAGS has produced the following guides that explain some of the ways that services work to support young people.

  • SENDIAGS Young People's Guide to our services 
  • SENDIAGS Young People's Guide to Confidentiality
  • SENDIAGS Young People's Guide to the Local Offer
  • SENDIAGS Young People's Guide to EHC Needs Assessment 
  • SENDIAGS Young People's Guide to Personal Budgets 
  • SENDIAGS Transition Journal for Young People 

You can find the guides listed in the download section of this page. 

Young people with SEND can now also access 2 websites made specifically for them 

Where can I find more information?

SENDIAGS has a standalone website and social media presence offering information and resources for families.

SEND Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
Early Years and Pregnancy 0-4
Primary 4 -10
Secondary 11-14
Preparing for Adulthood 14-18
Young Adults 18 - 25
SEN Provision Type
  • Universal
  • Targeted
  • Specialist

Who to contact

020 7275 6036 (Advice Line) 020 7275 6036 (Advice Line)
Scan to visit this website

Where to go

Office address / booked appointments only
Ann Tayler Children’s Centre
1-13 Triangle Road
off Westgate Street

E8 3RP

View E8 3RP on a map
Venue Notes

Buses: 236, 394, 254, 106. 55. 388

Trains: London Fields, Hackney Central

Parking: Limited parking for blue badge holders by appointment only

Time / Date Details

When is it on
10am - 4pm
Time of day
  • Morning
  • Afternoon

Other details

Who is eligible?

This service is for parents and carer of children and young people with special educational needs and or disabilities and young people themselves. 

Self Referrals are the route into the service. 

Practitioners, GPs and school SENCos can make referrals on behalf of parents and young people if support with a referral is needed and the parent or young person has given their consent for this contact on their behalf. 

What to do if you have a complaint

In you have feedback or a concern about having used this service please contact Head of Hackney SEND Information Advice & Guidance Service who will review and try to resolve your concern. 

If this does not resolve the issue you can riase your concern formally using Hackney Council Complaints proceedure. This means someone who is not part of the service will look at what's happened and see if anything can or needs to be done to chnage things. 


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