Disagreement resolution is to help four types of disagreement or to prevent them from escalating.
These are disagreements between:
- Parents, carers or young people and the local authority, the governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools, early years providers, further education institutions or the proprietors of academies in respect of how they are undertaking their education, health and care duties for children and young people
- Parents, carers or young people and early years providers, schools or post-16 institutions regarding the special educational provision they make for a child or young person
- Parents, carers or young people and clinical commissioning groups or local authorities regarding the health or social care provision during the EHC needs assessment, whilst the plans are being produced or reviewed and when reassessed
- Local authorities and health commissioning bodies during the EHC needs assessments or reassessments, whilst drawing up of EHC plans and whilst reviewing EHC plans for children and young people with special educational needs.
Disagreement resolution can also be used to resolve disagreements concerning special educational provision:
- Throughout assessments
- The drawing up of EHC plans whilst waiting for tribunal appeals
- At review
- During reassessments
A decision by parents, carers or young people not to use the dispute resolution service has no effect on their right to appeal to the tribunal and it does not need to be accessed prior to using other complaints procedures.
Disagreement resolution arrangements cover all children and young people with special educational needs regardless of whether or not they are being assessed or have an EHC plan. Disagreement resolution covers a range of disagreements and is available to parents, carers and young people regarding:
- The performance of duties
- Any aspect of special educational needs provision
- Health and social care disagreements during the processes related to an EHC needs assessment
How disagreement resolution works
Information regarding disagreement resolution services will be included with the local authority letter sent to parents, carers or the young person acknowledging the receipt of a request for statutory assessment. Informal support in resolving disagreements can be obtained through the SENDIASS.
Formal disagreement resolution services are provided by KIDS and The Together Trust. Information regarding formal disagreement resolution can be provided by SENDIASS.
Following a request for formal disagreement resolution, your preferred disagreement resolution service provider will contact you to discuss the disagreement and issues that need help to be resolved. This will include asking for a brief history of the case to enable them to understand the needs of the child or young person and to agree the focus of the meeting and who should attend.
The provider will contact the relevant parties and ask if they would be willing to take part. If everyone agrees, a meeting will be arranged to take place at a neutral venue on a time and date suitable to all parties.
The provider will contact all parties in the week prior to the meeting to have a confidential discussion regarding their position, what they would like the meeting to achieve and any concerns. It will also include an overview of the meeting.
Following the meeting an outcome statement will be provided outlining the discussion and listing the agreed actions. Those involved in the meeting will be asked to sign the outcome statement as an accurate record of the meeting. A copy of the outcome statement will be sent to you.
If agreement to proceed is not reached, all parties are informed at which point the provider will cease to be involved.
Disagreement resolution is free to parents, carers and young people.