Information, advice and support

If you live in Lancashire you can get information, advice and support around special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from the Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service.

There is also a range of other organisations who provide free information, advice and support such as helplines, email, face-to-face support, legal advice and tribunal representation.

Lancashire SEND IAS

Lancashire SEND Information, Advice and Support Service is a statutory service which is run at ‘arm’s length’ from the Local Authority and provides free, confidential, impartial advice, guidance and support to parents of children with special educational needs and children and young people with SEND.

The service can help you to gather, understand and interpret information and apply it to your own situation.

They can provide information around the following areas in relation to SEND:

  • rights, roles and responsibilities
  • health and social care processes, regulations and guidance
  • support from other agencies and organisations

They can also support to families in:

  • managing mediation appeals, to the First-tier Tribunal
  • exclusion from school
  • liaising between you, your nursery, school or college and other professionals

Young people up to age 25 can access the service independently from their parents.

They may offer one to one support by telephone, email or meetings depending on your circumstances.

They also offer free courses for parents.


Find out more about the service on the Lancashire SEND IAS website.

For information or to find out if the service can help you contact:

Tel: 0300 123 6706
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Other sources of information, advice and support

Advocacy focus - provide advocacy services in Lancashire and can help you be your own advocate.

The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) - independent advice around education for parents/carers of children aged 5-16 in state schools in England.

Carers UK - a charity set up to help people who care for family and friends in the UK.

Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS) provides impartial advice about the education of service children.

The Children’s Society in Lancashire - advocacy for young people who are approaching 18 years and undergoing an assessment to access support from adult services. You can ask your social worker or carer or contact the service on:

  • Freephone 0800 0856 324
  • Tel 01772 759 233

Civil Legal Advice (CLA) – you might be able to get free and confidential advice from CLA as part of legal aid. This includes advice on education law matters, SEN, discrimination and judicial review (for example for children not receiving education or unlawful exclusions).

Contact – supports families with disabled children with advice and information to get the right support. Brings families together to support each other, and helps families to campaign, volunteer, and fundraise. In addition, offers face-to-face support, workshops and training in some regions.

Down's Syndrome Association - information, support and advice related to Down’s syndrome. Includes education, health, social care, benefits and housing.

Guide Dogs - early diagnosis family support - information, advice and guidance from the early stages following diagnosis. Further help can include health and welfare advice, practical and emotional support and signposting to other organisations and services. 

IPSEA - Independent Parental Special Education Advice, a charity that offers legal advice, support and training to ensure children and young people with SEND access the right education. They also offer tribunal representation.

National Autistic Society - a charity for people with autism (including Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for people with autism. Includes education, health, social care, benefits, housing and transition support (school to adult life).

National Deaf Children's Society - information and support for deaf children and young people and families. They can provide advice and support on a range of issues including benefits, education, technology, health, social care, discrimination and communication. They provide face-to-face support and tribunal representation.

National Organisation for FASD - for adults with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), parents and carers, and professionals supporting those with FASD.

Me and my FASD - a website for children and young people with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) packed full of ideas to help sufferers understand and own their diagnosis.

Sense - for deafblind individuals or their family members and supporters. Information and advice on a range of issues, such as health, social care, benefits and education. They also offer support around communication, your legal rights and entitlements, Sense services and technology.

SOS SEN - A national charity aiming to empower parents and carers of children and young people with SEN and disabilities to access the help they are entitled to, particularly in the education system. They offer face-to-face support, tribunal representation and parent workshops.