Mediation is a statutory service commissioned by local authorities which is designed to help settle disagreements between parents or young people and local authorities over EHC needs assessments and plans. In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly this is arranged through Global Mediation.
Parents and young people can use mediation before deciding whether to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal about decisions on assessment or the special educational element of a plan.
Mediation can also consider health and social care aspects of the plan although it is not possible to appeal to Tribunal regarding these parts.
From 1 September 2014, all local authorities are required to have in place arrangements for access to high quality mediation. Mediators must have sufficient knowledge of the legislation relating to special educational needs, health and social care to be able to conduct the mediation.
The First-tier (SEN and Disability) Tribunal hears appeals against decisions made by the local authorities in England in relation to children’s and young people’s EHC needs assessments and EHC plans.
It also hears disability discrimination claims against schools and against local authorities when the local authority is the responsible body for a school.