Dispute resolution, mediation and appeals

Disagreement resolution

Disagreement resolution is for all children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and their families.

The service may help if you disagree with a decision a professional has made. This could be a disagreement with:

  • The local authority (Lancashire County Council)
  • Educational settings including; schools and colleges
  • Health services
  • Social care services

You should first try to resolve any issues through the normal routes such as a school or college complaints process.  If it has not been possible to resolve the issue, you can seek help from the disagreement resolution service.

Disagreement resolution meetings aim to resolve your disagreements in a quick, informal way.  A mediator will be there to help you as a neutral third party.

The disagreement resolution service in Lancashire is Global Mediation. Contact Global Mediation’s SEN case manager on 0800 064 4488. This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential.

Appeal an education, health and care (EHC) plan decision

We will always try to work with you to resolve any disagreements about the EHC assessment process, content of a plan or provision. This can include face to face meetings with officers or their managers.

If it has not been possible to reach an agreement, you have the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal (also known as SENDIST). You can find out more about appeals on the GOV.UK website.

Before you register an appeal you must first contact an independent mediation adviser.

The Single Route of Redress – SEND tribunal extended powers gives you new rights to request recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in EHC plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal. This follows a national trial which commenced from April 2018 to August 2021 testing the extended powers for the SEND tribunal.

Mediation advice

The special educational needs mediation service in Lancashire is Global Mediation. You can contact the mediation adviser on 0800 064 4488.

This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential.

The mediation adviser will provide you with factual information about mediation.

Once you have received mediation advice it is up to you to decide whether you want to go to mediation before you make an appeal to the tribunal.

If you do want to try mediation, Global's SEN case manager will make all the arrangements for you.

If you do not want to try mediation, the 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. The Tribunal will draw no inference if you have not used the mediation services.

If you want to know more about mediation or disagreement resolution arrangements visit the Global Mediation website.