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Together Trust SEND disagreement resolution and mediation services

The Together Trust mediation and disagreement resolution (DRS) services are designed to help settle disagreements surrounding the provisions provided for young people aged 0 to 25 years with special educational needs and disabilities.

Mediation is specifically linked to decisions relating to education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment and/or plan. Mediation must be considered by parents, carers or young people before submitting an appeal to the first-tier tribunal. Your right to appeal decisions are time-limited and advice must be sought within 2 months from the date of your letter from the local authority.

Mediation can take place following decisions by a local authority:

  • Not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
  • Not to draw up an EHC plan, after they receive a final EHC plan or amended plan
  • Following a decision not to amend an EHC plan or
  • A decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan

During the initial enquiry, we provide factual and unbiased information about mediation to help families and young people decide if it could be helpful to proceed with mediation.  We will do our best to answer any questions asked about the process. Families and young people have the option to choose whether or not to take part in a mediation meeting.

Should a family or young person choose not to go to mediation, a certificate must be obtained from the mediation service to confirm this option has been considered before lodging an appeal with the first-tier tribunal. The tribunal will not take into account whether or not mediation has taken place.

Disagreement Resolution applies to any aspect of special educational needs and disability (SEND) regardless of whether or not the child or young person is being assessed for or has an EHC plan, and can be used at any time with the agreement of the parties involved.

DRS covers a range of disagreements including:

  • Placement
  • The performance of duties
  • Any aspect of SEN provision
  • Health and social care disagreements during the processes related to an EHC needs assessment

Both mediation and dispute resolution meetings are arranged by involving key people in the disagreement (where possible) and are facilitated by our trained, impartial SEND mediators. Discussion surrounding the disagreement enables each party the opportunity to provide their views and also to listen to others. The mediator isn’t there to take sides or to make decisions, but to assist those present, to share individual views/concerns, ensuring that each person is heard. The mediator will encourage those present to problem solve together which can enable a way forward to resolve the situation. Meetings will usually last about 2 hours and are held as centrally as possible to all parties within a neutral venue.

The Together Trust's mediation and dispute resolution services are available in the following local authority areas: Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, St Helens, Stoke on Trent, Tameside and Telford and Wrekin.

We welcome contact from parents/carers and professionals who are interested in our services. Our mediation co-ordinators are available to provide impartial and unbiased information and guidance about mediation and dispute resolution and to answer any questions that you may have to enable you to make an informed decision.

For more information, you can call us on 0161 283 4848

Email us at drs@togethertrust.org.uk

You can read more about mediation and disagreement resolution on the Together Trust's website.

Who to contact

Contact Name
DRS and Mediation Service
Telephone
0161 283 4848
E-mail
enquiries@togethertrust.org.uk
Website
www.togethertrust.org.uk/.../disagreement-resolution

Where to go

Name
Together Trust Centre
Address
Schools Hill
Cheadle
Stockport
Cheshire
Postcode
SK8 1JE
Notes

Together Trust’s central office is based in Cheadle, Stockport. However, meetings are arranged to take place in appropriate venues to suit the location and individual needs of each family.

Other Details

Costs

Table of costs
Table of costs
AmountCost Type
Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Services are free to parents, carers and young people. For more information you can contact us on 0161 283 4848 or visit www.togethertrust.org.uk After School
Details
Mediation and disagreement resolution services are completely free for parents, carers and young people.

Availability

Referral required
No
Referral Details

We welcome contact from parents/carers and professionals who are interested in our services. Our mediation co-ordinators are available to provide impartial and unbiased information and guidance on DRS and Mediation, including the timescales involved in the process, and to answer any questions that you may have to enable you to make an informed decision.

Initial contact is usually made by parents or carers however referrals can also be taken from local authorities, independent information, advice and support services (formerly Parent Partnership), school staff or other agencies. Any third party making a referral must have permission from parents and carers before sharing any details with us.

For more information you can contact us on 0161 283 4848 or email drs@togethertrust.org.uk 

Other notes

Together Trust is a charity that has been operating for over 140 years. With experience, comes excellence. We believe that everyone deserves an equal chance in life and everyone has the ability and right to experience joy, safety, happiness and hope. By providing specialist education, care and community services to children, young people and adults, the Together Trust aims to do everything in its power to make that happen.

FAQ’s regarding Mediation and DRS

1.      Is disagreement resolution and mediation the same thing?

Mediation applies to disagreements resulting from decisions made by local authorities including:

·        A decision not to carry out an EHC needs assessment

·        A decision not to draw up an EHC plan following a needs assessment

·        A disagreement after receipt of a final EHC plan or an amended plan

·        A decision not to amend an EHC plan

·        A decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan 

Mediation is voluntary for parents, carers and young people, but if they decide to mediate following receipt of independent advice, local authorities must attend.

Disagreement Resolution arrangements cover all children and young people with SEN, not just those who are being assessed for or who have an EHC plans and is completely voluntary for all parties. 

2.      Who takes part?

Participants will vary according to the needs of the child and the issues that need to be discussed. It is important that ‘key’ people are present to ensure the meeting can be as productive as possible for meaningful agreements to be reached. Exactly who these people are will depend on each individual case.

Everyone that attends should be capable of making decisions on behalf of their service so that any actions agreed can be carried out without further approval being sought.

Usually there is at least one parent or carer and at least one representative from the local authority. Other parties could include staff from one or more schools, for example a Headteacher, Deputy or SENCO; or staff from other agencies, for example CAMHS or voluntary organisations.

Parents and carers can invite someone to support them which could be a family member or an Information, Advice and Support Officer (formally Parent Partnership).

The views of the child or young person are also extremely important. Where possible we try to include this included as much as possible. This could be via a letter, phone call, or, where appropriate support is available the young person may be invited to attend all or part of the meeting.

Any form of legal representation is not necessary.

3.      What is the process?

Mediation - during the initial phone call we provide factual and unbiased information about mediation to help you decide if mediation could be productive to your situation.  We will do our best to answer any questions asked about the process.

If the decision is taken not to mediate, a certificate can be provided which will enable an appeal to be submitted to the First Tier Tribunal.

If a mediation meeting is requested, we will take some brief details so we understand the needs of the child or young person and the disagreement that needs to be resolved.  A focus for the meeting, who should attend and possible dates for the meeting to take place will also be discussed as well as any individual requirements for the meeting venue.  The local authority will then be contacted, and once confirmed with all parties, details of the meeting will be provided. 

Disagreement Resolution - during the initial phone call we provide you with factual and unbiased information about DRS to help you decide if this could be productive to your situation.

Should you wish to go ahead we will take some brief details so we understand the needs of the child or young person and the disagreement you are seeking resolution for to set the focus for the meeting. We can also discuss who best to attend the meeting.

Due to the voluntary nature of DRS, we contact the relevant parties and to discuss the proposed DRS meeting and ask if they would be willing to participate. If everyone agrees, a date and time for a meeting will be identified. We will also identify a neutral venue that is as central as possible for all parties.

If agreement to proceed is not reached, parties are informed and unfortunately that will be the end of our involvement in this situation.

4.      How long does it take?

Following our initial discussions, our preparatory work is usually carried out over the telephone. We will make contact attendees individually and make all relevant arrangements for the meeting.

 

We generally allow 2 hours for a Disagreement Resolution and Mediation meeting. We find this length of time allows people to stay focused on the agreed issues, and improves the likelihood for attendees to be able attend around other commitments.

5.      What will the meeting be like?

The mediator will contact all parties in the lead up to the meeting to have a confidential discussion about their individual position, what they would like the meeting to achieve and any concerns.  

This discussion will include an overview from the mediator of what happens at Mediation and DRS meetings so everyone knows what to expect.

6.      What will the outcome be?

Disagreement Resolution and Mediation work best when parties to the disagreement have a real willingness to negotiate and where there is scope for meaningful resolution.

The parties themselves are in control of the outcome. Each meetings outcome will vary depending on the circumstances, the discussion and what agreements could be reached. 

During the meeting, the mediator will produce an ‘Outcome Statement’.  This document briefly summarises key discussions which take place and will list any agreed actions from the meeting. Each party will be asked to sign this document to confirm it is an accurate record, and will be sent a copy shortly after the meeting for their records.

For more information you can contact us on 0161 283 4848, email enquiries@togethertrust.org.uk or visit www.togethertrust.org.uk

This service is part of the Local Offer

Local Offer

Description

The Together Trust mediation and disagreement resolution (DRS) services are designed to help settle disagreements surrounding the provisions provided for young people aged 0 to 25 years with special educational needs and disabilities.

Mediation is specifically linked to decisions relating to education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment and/or plan. Mediation must be considered by parents, carers or young people before submitting an appeal to the first-tier tribunal. Your right to appeal decisions are time-limited and advice must be sought within 2 months from the date of your letter from the local authority.

Mediation can take place following decisions by a local authority:

  • Not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
  • Not to draw up an EHC plan, after they receive a final EHC plan or amended plan
  • Following a decision not to amend an EHC plan or
  • A decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan

During the initial enquiry, we provide factual and unbiased information about mediation to help families and young people decide if it could be helpful to proceed with mediation.  We will do our best to answer any questions asked about the process. Families and young people have the option to choose whether or not to take part in a mediation meeting.

Should a family or young person choose not to go to mediation, a certificate must be obtained from the mediation service to confirm this option has been considered before lodging an appeal with the first-tier tribunal. The tribunal will not take into account whether or not mediation has taken place.

Disagreement Resolution applies to any aspect of special educational needs and disability (SEND) regardless of whether or not the child or young person is being assessed for or has an EHC plan, and can be used at any time with the agreement of the parties involved.

DRS covers a range of disagreements including:

  • Placement
  • The performance of duties
  • Any aspect of SEN provision
  • Health and social care disagreements during the processes related to an EHC needs assessment

Both mediation and dispute resolution meetings are arranged by involving key people in the disagreement (where possible) and are facilitated by our trained, impartial SEND mediators. Discussion surrounding the disagreement enables each party the opportunity to provide their views and also to listen to others. The mediator isn’t there to take sides or to make decisions, but to assist those present, to share individual views/concerns, ensuring that each person is heard. The mediator will encourage those present to problem solve together which can enable a way forward to resolve the situation. Meetings will usually last about 2 hours and are held as centrally as possible to all parties within a neutral venue.

The Together Trust's mediation and dispute resolution services are available in the following local authority areas: Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, St Helens, Stoke on Trent, Tameside and Telford and Wrekin.

We welcome contact from parents/carers and professionals who are interested in our services. Our mediation co-ordinators are available to provide impartial and unbiased information and guidance about mediation and dispute resolution and to answer any questions that you may have to enable you to make an informed decision.

For more information, you can call us on 0161 283 4848

Email us at drs@togethertrust.org.uk

You can read more about mediation and disagreement resolution on the Together Trust's website.

Contact Name
DRS and Mediation Service
Contact Telephone
0161 283 4848
Contact Email
drs@togethertrust.org.uk
Links
Together Trust- YouTube
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Follow us on Twitter
Local Offer Age Bands
5-11 years
Parents & carers
11-16 years
19-25 years
0-5 years
16-19 years
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