Mediation, Appeals and Tribunals

When a decision regarding an EHCP has been made by the LA to which a parent/carer/young person disagrees with, they can challenge that decision via the SEND tribunal service. There are a few things to note however, when exploring the option of appealing a decision.

A parent/carer/young person can only challenge an EHCP decision at certain points in the EHCP process:

  • If the LA refuse to assess a child or young person for an EHC Plan
  • If the LA assess the child or young person, but do not draft an EHC Plan
  • If the plan is finalised
  • If the LA refuse a reassessment of need and more than 6 months has passed since the original assessment of need was made
  • If the LA refuse to amend an EHCP following a review
  • If the LA take away an EHCP following a review
  • If the LA make no changes to the EHCP following a review and a parent/carer/young person feels there should be
  • If a parent/carer/young person is unhappy with the contents of the plan (sections B and/or F) or the school choice (section I)
  • If the LA have not named a provision within section I of the EHCP

A parent/carer/young person only has two months from the date of their decision in which to log an appeal or one month following on from the date of their mediation certificate, whichever date is the latest.

Mediation is a less formal way of resolving an issue that a parent/carer or young person has in relation to an EHCP, this could be used for a parent/carer/young person who does not want to go to court to challenge the LA’s decision but feels the issue can be resolved at a lower level. Before an appeal can be registered with the SEND tribunal service, mediation MUST be considered.

The below image explains the mediation process:

Once a parent/carer/young person has their mediation certificate, they will need to fill in the SEND tribunal form which will be provided from Barnardos. SENDIASS can support a parent/carer/young person to fill in this paperwork and explain the next steps in the process.

Once a parent/carer/young person has registered their appeal to the SEND tribunal, they will receive electronic or hard copies of the tribunal paperwork. This paperwork can be overwhelming at first glance, we advise that you take the time to read each individual document carefully before moving onto the next one.

Contained within your paperwork will be a timeline of events/dates. This is the most important part of the paperwork, and we advise making a note of these dates for future reference. The timeline will explain on what date each next stage of the process will take place and who’s responsibility it is to respond at that time. The LA is always the first to respond to the tribunal as they always need to inform the court of their decision in response to what a parent/carer/young person is unhappy with.

For more information around SEND tribunals, please contact the team directly.

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