Parent carers or young people may sometimes have concerns about decisions that have been made, or actions that have been taken, by those practitioners involved in supporting the EHC needs assessment process or in writing and maintaining the EHCP.

The Dudley SEN Team always try to resolve any concerns or disagreement by meeting with parents, carers or young people first so that we can talk about your concerns. This often helps all involved to better understand the issues or concerns and prevent these escalating unnecessarily. If appropriate, this meeting will also include professionals involved in providing a service, including schools and post 16 settings. You can ask for support from the Dudley SEND Information Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS), this organisation provides free and impartial advice and support to parents and young people and may also arrange and attend meetings.

You can find out more about the support provided by SENDIASS including informal mediation and disagreement resolution on their website

Occasionally, it isn’t possible to reach an agreement without additional formal mediation or disagreement resolution. Prime Resolution and KIDS  provide impartial, independent mediation and disagreement resolution that is free for parents/carers and young people up to the age of 25.

If you would like more information about either of these providers or would like to know more about alternative providers, please contact your named Case Officer or the Dudley SEN Team.  

Disagreement resolution is very similar to mediation but is available in a wider range of circumstances. 

Informal disagreement resolution (IDR) is available and facilitated through SENDIASS. We recommend that you access this support before moving to a more formal process, SENDIASS can provide you with information and advice about the options available to you if you disagree with the provision made available to you or for your child with SEND, and can continue to offer advice and support with more formal processes.

 IDR is a voluntary arrangement that is available for parents/carers of children with SEND and young people (YP) with SEND. The process aims to support parent/carers and YP to understand the reasons behind a decision that has been made in respect of SEN/D so that they have the information that they need to make an informed choice about their next steps.

  • Dudley SENDIASS can host, facilitate, support, arrange and attend IDR meetings. 
  • Informal Disagreement Resolution is used to.
  • Provide parents/carers/YP with an opportunity to seek clarity about LA decisions.
  • Find a resolution to issues and concerns.
  • Request the LA consider any additional evidence brought by parents/carers or YP.
  • Support parents/carers/YP prior to formal mediation and/or an appeal to SENDIST.
  • Support parents/carers/YP to maintain good working relations with LA and/or school setting throughout the duration of an ongoing case, including support during formal mediation and tribunal.

IDR can be considered at the following key points in the pathway:

  • Following a decision not to undertake an EHC needs assessment (6 week decision) or a decision not to issue and EHCP following an assessment (16 week decision).
  • Following a final EHCP being issued where there is disagreement about:
  • The placement named in Section I.
  • The content of the EHCP (sections B and F).

In addition IDR may be used where there is disagreement following an annual review of the EHCP. This may include disagreement about:

  1. Outcomes achieved.
  2. A decision to cease the EHCP.
  3. Decisions relating to amendments to the EHCP. 
  4. A decision to maintain the EHCP in its current form.
  5. Secondary transfer.
  6. Post-16 transfer.

IDR can also be used to discuss:

How education settings, health providers and the LA are carrying out their duties for children and young people with special educational and/or health and care needs under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The provision that education settings are making. This applies to all children and young people with SEN, not just those going through an EHC needs assessment or those with an EHC plan.

The health or social care provision during an EHC needs assessment, while EHC plans are being prepared or reviewed, whilst awaiting an appeal, or during a reassessment. In these cases the disagreement will be with the LA or clinical commissioning group (CCG), rather than the early years setting, school, or college.

Formal disagreement resolution is available through the mediation services that we use in Dudley (Prime Resolution and Kids). It is suitable for all children and young people with SEND, including those identified at SEN Support. Formal disagreement resolution uses trained mediators to resolve different types of disagreement in a quick and effective way. Disagreement resolution is an entirely voluntary process and can only take place with the agreement of all parties. 

This service is available to help resolve disagreements about:

  • How the early years setting, school, post-16 setting or local authority (LA) is carrying out its duties for children and young people with special educational and/or health and care needs.
  • The provision that the early years setting, school, or post-16 setting is making. This applies to all children and young people with SEN, not just those going through an EHC needs assessment or with an EHC plan.
  • The health or social care provision during an EHC needs assessment, while EHC plans are being drawn up or reviewed, whilst awaiting an appeal, or when children or young people are being reassessed. In these cases the disagreement will be with the LA or clinical commissioning group (CCG), rather than the early years setting, school, or college.

Formal disagreement resolution is also available if parents or young people disagree with:

  • Section E, H and C of an EHCP.
  • The special educational provision set out in the EHC plan.
  • The health and social care elements of an EHC plan.

Disagreement resolution services can be used at any time, if both parties agree. This includes while an EHC needs assessment is being conducted, while the plan is being prepared, after a plan is finalised or while an appeal is going through the tribunal process.

All cases are different, and we encourage you to contact the SEN Team directly to discuss whether  formal or informal disagreement resolution may be able to help. 

The majority of issues raised by parents, carers, the community, visitors, volunteers or pupils, are concerns rather than complaints. 

A concern may be defined as ‘an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important for which reassurances are sought’.

A complaint may be defined as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action’.

It is in everyone’s interest that all concerns and complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage.

If you wish to make a formal complaint about a decision that has been made on behalf of DMBC by an employee of the council or about the conduct of a council employee whilst undertaking the duties on behalf of DMBC or about a process followed you can find out more about how to do this by following the link to the corporate complaints process.

If your complaint is about an education setting including Early Years setting or nursery, maintained school, academy, or college or an independent school you will need to contact the education setting directly and follow their complaints procedure. This should be clearly set out on their website. Further information about making a complaint in Dudley can be found here:

You can also find out more about this process and how to complain by looking at the DfE guidance using this link:

If you have followed the organisations formal complaints process and remain dissatisfied with the response, you may complain the Local Government Ombudsman. For more information about how to complain to the LGO please visit:

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