SEN Disagreement Resolution Service - York

SEN Disagreement Resolution Service  is a service to help parents or young people resolve disagreements, through mediation, about:

  • How an establishment is carrying out its educational health and care duties for children and young people with SEN, whether they have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans or not.
  • The special education that is being provided for a child or young person.
  • The health and social care elements within an EHC plan.
  • Any difficulties that have arisen between a local authority or the local commissioning group about the assessment process, or the drafting of plans.

There is no requirement for the child or young person to have an EHC plan in place before requesting Disagreement Resolution.

KIDS provides this Disagreement Resolution service on behalf of City of York Council. 


We are accredited as a mediation provider organisation by the Civil Mediation Council.


How does Disagreement Resolution work?

Clarity of thinking about the issues involved in the relationship with a parent and family members. Opportunities to discuss points of view. Finding a way forward. [The mediation process was] extremely useful. The whole process from initial contact to the mediation has been very impressive and useful.Disagreement Resolution uses mediation which is an informal, voluntary process that involves an independent facilitator (the mediator) helping those in dispute to reach agreements that are acceptable to all parties. The mediator is impartial, does not take sides, nor put forward suggestions or possible solutions to the dispute. The mediator is there to help to facilitate discussions and to make sure everyone is treated fairly. The mediator is in control of the process but not of the outcome of the mediation. It is the parties themselves that find solutions and decide the outcome through participating in the mediation process. 

Disagreement Resolution works best when parties to the dispute come to the meeting with a real desire to resolve the disagreement and a willingness to negotiate. In deciding whether to take part in Disagreement Resolution, the Local Authority or school and the parent(s)/ carer(s) should consider whether there is scope for agreement on any of the issues causing disagreement.

Using Disagreeement Resolution does not affect your right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal at a later date (if appeal is available). For more information about the SEND Tribunal, please visit their website here.

The process

When you contact us, we establish the reason for your call and your understanding of the service. We find out whether the disagreement is within scope for 'SEN Mediation' or 'Disagreement Resolution'. We will explain the difference and check that you have understood what is available. We listen to understand what the disagreement is about, outline the process and the next steps and ask you about preferred ways of communication and whether reasonable adjustments are needed. We check that you have understood the information provided and where it is appropriate we will also signpost you to other agencies for information and support.  

If you wish to proceed, we then undertake a willingness test (to establish whether the parties are willing to participate in the Disagreement Resolution process). You are kept fully informed about progress at regular intervals. In our experience, individuals welcome regular updates, even if it is to say that we are still waiting to hear from the other parties.

We have over 13 years experience of undertaking Disagreement Resolutions, helping those in dispute to reach agreements that are acceptable to all parties. We have an experienced panel of independent, experienced mediators who are independent, highly skilled, experienced professionals that have an accredited qualification in mediation and have received additional training in SEN legislation and practice.

Our mediator will contact all parties, including you, to fully understand each side of the disagreement and then help each of you to set out the issues you wish to discuss at the Disagreement Resolution meeting. If it is the partents proceeding with the process, we also ascertain the voice of the child wherever possible.

Liaising with all parties we arrange a date and neutral venue for the Disagreement Resolution meeting. Each parties’ summaries are exchanged in advance to reduce anxiety and, through helping participants prepare for the meeting, increase your confidence. At the meeting the mediator will go through the process and ensure that everybody is clear about the meeting (confidentiality, respectful behaviour, willingness to hear what others have to say) and we will remind everybody that they are impartial, and will not put forward suggestions nor possible solutions to the dispute.

The mediator will facilitate discussions and to make sure everyone is treated fairly. The mediator is in control of the process but not of the outcome of the mediation. It is for you, the parties, to find solutions and decide the outcome through participating in the Disagreement Resolution process. 

At the conclusion of the meeting a SMART agreement is written jointly in the participants' own words and a copy given to each party to ensure that there is no ambiguity about what has been decided. 

Who is the service for?

Parents/carers who have a disagreements about the health and social care elements within an EHC plan or how an establishment is carrying out its educational, health and care duties for their children with SEN, whether they have EHC plan or not. 

Young people (aged 16 to 25) who have a disagreement about the health and social care elements within an EHC plan or how an establishment is carrying out its educational, health and care duties for them, whether they have EHC plan or not.

Local authorities and schools to resolve disagreements with parents or young people over special education that is being provided for a child or young person.

Local authorities and Clincial Commissioning Groups (CCGs) who may have difficulties about the assessment process, or the drafting of EHC plans.

How to access the service

Accessing our service is easy. Parents or a young person can referrals themselves.

Any other party must have parents’/young person's permission for contacting us.

Requests for our Disagreement Resolution service can come from:

  • Parents
  • The young person (aged 16 to 25) themselves
  • Local Authority Officers
  • SENDIASS Officers
  • School staff
  • CCGs
  • Other parties, such as voluntary agencies.

No paperwork is required. Simply phone or email us:

Phone: 03330 062 835

Please note that Local Authority Officers, IASS Officers or any other third parties must have permission from the parents or young person before passing their details to the KIDS SEN Mediation Service.

How much does it cost?This service is available free of charge for residents of City of York local authority. 

When is this service available?Our SEN Disagreement Resolution Service is available Mondays to Fridays from 9:00am to 6:00pm


How to contact us

Susanna Diegel on 03330 062 835

KIDS, National SEN Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Service, 249 Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B72 1EA 


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