It is a process designed to help reach agreement over disputes surrounding SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability), specifically in relation to EHCPs (Education, Health and Care Plans). SEND Mediation is paid for by local authorities and offered free to all parents, or young people, who are considering making an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. There is also a requirement for parents and young people to consider mediation before registering an appeal with the Tribunal.
SEND Mediation is available to anyone involved in a dispute with their local authority over a decision relating to an EHCP.
These disputes generally fall into three main categories:
Mediation can only be used after the local authority has reached a decision that gives rise to a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal. This will be detailed in a letter to you from the local authority.
Before you can register your appeal, you will need to speak to an independent mediator appointed by the local authority to receive some information and advice about mediation. Prime Resolution offers this service. We will listen to your account of the situation and give you the information you need to decide what route is best for you. It is entirely your choice whether to try mediation first or go straight to tribunal.
If you choose not to mediate we will issue you with the Mediation Advice Certificate which you will need to register your appeal. If you do decide to mediate we will arrange a mediation meeting with the local authority and anyone else who needs to be there.
Under normal circumstances, the local authorities are required to complete the mediation within 30 days of our request.
Once you have made a decision to mediate, a member of our mediator team will take on your case and guide you through the process. We are a small, friendly team who work closely together and believe in the importance of what we do. We hope that you will find us helpful and approachable. In some authorities, you will be given a list of providers to choose from. Whilst we very much hope that you will choose us as your mediation provider, it is your decision.
Ever since the coronavirus lockdown required us to change our approach, we have been completing most of our mediations via online video conferencing. We use a range of secure, user-friendly platforms, which have proved to be a convenient way of promoting positive outcomes. It has become apparent that there are considerable advantages of online mediation over the traditional face-to-face meetings, which have resulted in this becoming our usual method.