Appeals, Mediation and Complaints
Wherever possible, Peterborough City Council and its health partners will try and resolve issues or areas of disagreement by meeting and talking.
However, we accept that sometimes it isn’t possible to reach a resolution without the help of a third party. This section provides information on the next steps that can be taken if this is the case.
There are different types of formal dispute resolution; these are:
- Disagreement Resolution (DR)
- First Tier Tribunal (SENDIST)
You can view and download a Fact Sheet about Appeals, Mediation and Complaints here.
Disagreement Resolution does not need to be accessed prior to an appeal to the Tribunal. However as it is voluntary it has to be with the agreement of all parties. It covers:
Disagreement resolution relating to the full ranges of SEN disagreements relating to how relevant authorities, bodies or proprietors are carrying out their education, health and care duties for children and young people with SEN
Disagreement Resolution Advice
Disagreement Resolution Meetings, which are confidential and held without prejudice to the Tribunal process
Mediation services are specifically linked to decisions about EHC needs assessments and plans. Mediation services are provided by an independent mediation company. In Peterborough this is KIDS mediation service. Mediation can be accessed where there is disagreement over:
- refusal to carry out a Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment or re-assessment
A decision by the council not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
A decision by the council to not issue an EHC plan;
The contents of an EHC plan
The refusal by the council to amend an EHC plan following an annual review or reassessment
A decision to cease an EHC plan
Find out more on KIDS website.
Placement or Disability Discrimination
If it has not been possible to reach an agreement about the education placement, or if it is a disability discrimination claim, you have the right to appeal. You can use the mediation provider to help resolve the disagreement, but you do not have to obtain a mediation certificate in these cases.
Health and/or social care disagreement
If it has not been possible to reach an agreement regarding the health and/or social care aspects of the plan that are not part of the child or young person’s training or education provision, then the parents or young person can seek mediation as a means to resolve disagreement. In these circumstances, the Local Authority will advise the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and they will arrange the mediation within 30 days of being notified. However, if mediation does not resolve the disagreement, then this cannot be appealed to the SEND Tribunal. In these circumstances, it would be through the usual NHS or local authority complaints process.
The First Tier Tribunal is responsible for handling appeals against local authority decisions regarding special educational needs, including:
- refusal to carry out a Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment
- refusal to issue an EHC plan
- refusal to amend an EHC plan following an annual review or re-assessment
- refusal to reassess
- cease to maintain an EHC plan
- contents of the plan Sections B (child/yp's SEN), F (special educational provision) and I (placement - name and type)
Find out more on gov.uk
COVID-19 Update – Court and Tribunal Users
The Ministry of Justice have published high-level advice regarding coronavirus, which can be found on the Local Offer COVID-19 page.
A national trial began in April 2018 to extend the power of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) tribunal. This guidance sets out the extended powers and duties in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017. It explains how the appeal process will work, what happens if recommendations are not followed and the support available for commissioners and families.
Further guidance and support for the trial can be found in the SEND national trial toolkit.
The information above is quite specific to the EHC plan development. If you have a complaint that is more general to the local authority, education or health provider, you should seek to resolve through their normal complaints processes. An example of this might be if you think a mistake has been made, you have been given incorrect or misleading information, a member of staff has demonstrated inappropriate behaviour, or they have failed to act in accordance with the law or the organisation’s own policies.
Please contact the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring (SAMS) team, the SEND Partnership Service, or our mediation provider if you would like to access mediation:
- Telephone: 01733 863979
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone: 01733 863733 or 863675
- Email: SENteam@peterborough.gov.uk