A Quick Guide to Mediation and Appeals

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.

Redbridge have commissioned an independent organisation called Community Accord who are a team of Mediation Advisers who will 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.

If you do not want to try mediation first, Community Accord 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 Community Accord 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.

Community Accord 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 your mediation

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.

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.

There are disagreements that arise which are outside the jurisdiction of the Tribunal Service. Examples may include disagreements about Health or Social Care provision; sometimes there are disagreements which don’t involve the Council or the Health Service at all, such as a dispute between a parent and the child’s school. In these circumstances it will be possible to make a formal complaint but Community Accord can offer a disagreement resolution service similar to a mediation service which will attempt to resolve matters amicably between the parties involved.

Page last reviewed: 25/07/2023

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