Mediation and Disagreement Resolution arrangements under the 0-25 years SEN Code of Practice

What is Disagreement Resolution?

Under the new 'Special Educational Needs and Disability Act Code of Practice 0-25 years' local authorities must make disagreement resolution services available to parents and young people.

Our SEN Disagreement Resolution Service can be used to help resolve disagreements about:

  • How an establishment is carrying out its educational health and care duties for children and young people with SEN, whether they have Education, Health or Care plans (EHC) or not.
  • The special education that is being provided for a child or young person.
  • The health and social care elements within an EHC plan.
  • Any difficulties that have arisen between a local authority or the local commissioning group about the assessment process, or the drafting of plans.

There is no requirement for the child or young person to have an EHC plan in place before requesting disagreement resolution.

Used early, disagreement resolution can really assist parents and young people, avoiding unnecessary stress and expense.

Local information, advice and support services can also provide access to support for parents and young people in arranging mediations.

Disagreement Resolution Meetings and Tribunal

If the disagreement resolution meeting does not resolve all the issues, parents and young people can still Appeal to the Tribunal at a later date (provided there is  a right of Appeal).  If parents or young people  do not use disagreement resolution services it has no effect on the right to appeal to the Tribunal and no inference will be drawn by the Tribunal if the parties to a disagreement have not used the disagreement resolution services.

Disagreement resolution meetings are confidential and without prejudice to the Tribunal process and the Tribunal will disregard any offers or comments made during them. Partial agreement achieved by use of disagreement resolution services can help to focus on the remaining areas of disagreement in any subsequent appeals to the Tribunal.

What is  Mediation under the New Code of Practice 2014?

Under the new arrangements, Mediation is a statutory service to help parents or young people resolve disagreements about EHC needs assessments and plans. Parents and young people can use mediation before deciding whether to appeal to the SEND Tribunal about decisions on assessment or the SEN element of a plan.

The new mediation arrangements apply specifically to parents and young people who are considering appealing to the Tribunal about EHC needs assessments and the special educational element of an EHC plan or who want mediation on the health and social care elements of an EHC plan.

What is the difference between disagreement resolution and mediation?

The key difference is that mediation under the new Code of Practice is now linked more formally to the Tribunal process. Therefore it takes place at the end of the assessment and planning process. Disagreement Resolution can be made available at any time.

The skills and techniques used by our mediators, whether face to face or on the phone are the same and are carefully structured to provide the best framework for resolutions to emerge.

Do I have to consider mediation?

Parents and young people who wish to make an appeal to the SEND Tribunal may only do so after they have contacted an independent mediation adviser to get information about mediation.

This requirement does not apply where the disagreement is only about the name or type of school, college or other establishment named on the EHC plan.

Mediation Advice before mediation or Tribunal

Our team of Mediation Advisers provide parents, carers and young people with factual, unbiased information about mediation and will answer questions that you may have about the process.

Once you have received mediation advice it is up to you to decide whether you want to go to mediation before any Appeal you might make to the Tribunal.

To receive mediation advice we can arrange a telephone session for you. 

If you do not want to try mediation first, our Mediation Adviser will issue you with a certificate so that you can register your Appeal.

Your right to Appeal is not affected if you do not have mediation first.


If you do want to try mediation we can make all the arrangements for you.  

The mediation will be held in a neutral location within 30 days of the local authority being told you would like mediation.

Our experienced mediators will explain the process to you and help clarify the nature of the disagreement with both parties. You can bring a supporter with you to the mediation although legal representation is not usually necessary.

After the mediation the Mediation Adviser will issue a certificate within three working days confirming that mediation has concluded and, if all your issues haven’t been resolved, you can use the certificate to register your Appeal with the Tribunal.

When cases are registered with the Tribunal following mediation, the Tribunal will deal with the Appeal on the facts of the case. The Tribunal may cover similar ground to that explored in the mediation but will reach its own independent findings and conclusions. Mediation is confidential and without prejudice to the Tribunal process and the Tribunal will disregard any offers or comments made during mediation. Partial agreement achieved by use of mediation services can help to focus on the remaining areas of disagreement in any subsequent appeals to the Tribunal. 

Each Local Authority must provide an independent SEN Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Service.

We provide SEN Mediation and Disagreement Resolutions Services on behalf of the following Local Authorities:

London Area

Barnet | Barking and Dagenham | Bexley | Brent | Camden | Croydon | City of London | Ealing | Enfield | Islington | Greenwich | Hammersmith and Fulham | Harrow | Haringey | Havering | Hillingdon | Kensington and Chelsea | Kingston-upon-Thames | Lambeth | Lewisham | Newham | Richmond-upon-Thames | Sutton | Southwark | Tower Hamlets | Waltham Forest | Wandsworth | Westminster


Barnsley | Bedford | Birmingham | Central Bedfordshire | Cheshire East |  Coventry |  Derby|  Derbyshire |  Hartlepool |  Hertfordshire |  Leicester |  Leicestershire |  Lincolnshire |  Luton |  Manchester |  Northamptonshire |  North Yorkshire |  Nottingham |  Nottinghamshire |  Peterborough |  Redcar and Cleveland | Rutland Sandwell | Shropshire | Staffordshire | Solihull |  Stockport |  Stoke-on-Trent  |  Trafford |  Wakefield |  Walsall |  Warwickshire |  Warrington | Wolverhampton | Worcestershire | York

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