What is mediation in SEND cases?

What is mediation in SEND cases?

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Mediation In SEND Cases

In most cases if you wish to appeal a Local Authority decision to the First Tier Tribunal, you must at least consider mediation. This may change in the future as the government is considering making mediation mandatory.

In order to appeal, a notice of appeal must be sent to the Tribunal within two months of the decision or within one month of receiving a mediation certificate, if that is later. In most cases, an appeal cannot be lodged without a mediation certificate also being lodged at the same time.

The Local Authority does not always comply with the requirement to provide a parent/young person with details of mediators. Mediation must be arranged within 30 days of it being requested.

The purpose of the mediation is for the parties to discuss matters and to reach a resolution if possible, without the need to have to go to an appeal. In our experience, mediation can be helpful but it is not always so.

In a recent matter, the Local Authority refused to assess. The mediation process was commenced but not agreed to by the parents and the Local Authority agreed then to assess.

Mediation has to be provided at no cost to the parents/young person and can sometimes be a quick and inexpensive way of seeking to resolve matters. If matters cannot be resolved by mediation then usually it will be necessary to consider making an appeal to the Tribunal.

School / phase transfer cases are presently being prioritised by the Tribunal. All other cases are being given hearing dates of around 12 months or so from appeal. It may therefore be worthwhile going to mediation to see if matters can be resolved. If agreement is reached the mediation agreement could form the basis of a judicial review if the Local Authority failed/refused to abide by it.