Mediation involves an independent third party, the mediator, who helps two parties come together in an informal setting to clarify issues and settle disagreements.
In relation to disputes with the Local Authority, mediation enables you and the Local Authority to discuss the Local Authority's decision and/or the contents of an EHCP, including the health and social care sections.
When the Local Authority sends you a notice of a decision which can be appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), the notice must tell you about your right to go to mediation and that you must contact a mediation adviser before registering your appeal with the Tribunal. Regulation 32 of The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 specifies what information should be included in notices sent by a Local Authority.
Once you have these details, you can either get a certificate from the mediation advisor confirming that you don't want to mediate, or alternatively you can go ahead with a mediation and get a certificate afterwards.
In most cases you will need a mediation certificate before you can appeal.
What do we do?
We offer two types of services:
Prepare your submissions in the 'agree to mediate' form.
Before the mediation, your mediation caseworker will arrange to speak with you to discuss what you are looking to achieve from the mediation meeting and then issue you a 'agree to mediate' form for you to amend and make changes to before you sign in advance of the mediation meeting. The same process is completed with the Local Authority.
Your completed 'agree to mediate' form is exchanged with the Local Authority before the mediation meeting so that both parties know beforehand what is going to be discussed on the day.
We can help you to complete a detailed 'agree to mediate' form. This form is an opportunity to present a list of the issues in dispute. A well completed 'agree to mediate' form, allows you to focus the mediation on the issues you have already identified.
(At the time of booking you will schedule a time and date that suits you for an initial 40 minute phone consultation to discuss your needs. This is inclusive of the fee. After the booking, you will receive an email with further instructions.)
Attend mediation with you.
If you decide to go ahead with mediation, we can attend with you. At the meeting we will take notes on your behalf so that you have a written record of what has been discussed and/or agreed (although this must be kept confidential and usually discarded on the day), we can check to see that action points and indicative timescales agreed during the mediation is being properly recorded in the drafting of the written mediation agreement and/or speak on your behalf (with your authorisation to do so.)
*Book a 1 hour phone consultation to discuss the mediation process and requirements in full. There is no obligation on you to instruct us afterwards.