Mediation

Mediation is a less formal way of trying to settle the dispute between you and the Council (and/or the health authority, known as the Clinical Commissioning Group – CCG).

It involves a meeting between you, the Council and/or CCG and an independent mediator, who will try to help you reach agreement on the points of dispute.

The mediation may also be attended by other relevant parties such as representatives from the child or young person’s school or college.

It is free of charge.

You have a right to try mediation whenever the Council makes a decision which you could appeal to the SEND Tribunal, including if you only disagree with section I of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

What is good about meditation?

Mediation is a more creative, flexible and user led process than the SEND Tribunal.

  • The mediator is an independent facilitator who does not take sides, give advice or make judgements.
  • Involving a skilled mediator helps put people at their ease so that families, their supporters, local authorities and other participants can understand and be understood.
  • The process puts the child or young person at the heart of the discussion and aims to keep paperwork to a minimum.
  • A mediation session can be arranged in a matter of weeks compared to a SEND Tribunal which can take several months.
  • If a family wishes to access mediation, a trained mediator helps people involved in the dispute or disagreement to meet, be clear about the issues and work together with the Council and other partners involved in developing the EHC Plan to find an acceptable solution.
  • The parent or young person’s use of mediation is voluntary.

How do I prepare for mediation?

Each party involved in the mediation will have to prepare a case summary, which is shared before the meeting. This helps you to consider the position of the Council and helps you to prepare for the meeting.

You may want other people who worked with your child to come to the meeting if you feel they may be able to contribute meaningfully to the discussion.

You may not have had a meeting with the Council before and feel that having a mediation meeting may avoid the need to go to a tribunal. If you decide to go ahead with this meeting/mediation, it is the responsibility of the Council to convene a meeting within 30 days.

They must give you at least 5 days notice of the meeting time and venue so that you can make preparations to attend. The mediation maybe via Teams or Zoom.

The mediation meeting

The meeting will be lead (or chaired) by an external mediator, who is impartial and will not take sides.

The impartial mediator:

  • has knowledge of the SEND law and is trained in mediation
  • helps to facilitate the discussion so that everyone is treated fairly and has the opportunity to have their say
  • ensures that the meeting represents the needs of the child and that these are at the heart of the discussion
  • ensures that an accurate record of the discussion is taken during the meeting and any agreement will also be recorded during the meeting

Following mediation

If the mediation meeting is successful, there may be several different outcomes which the Council has a duty to comply with. This includes:

  1. They may agree to carry out an assessment and within 2 weeks must notify you in writing that it is starting. They then have 10 weeks in which to carry out the assessment and then to decide if an EHC Plan is needed.
    • a. If they decide your child does need an EHC Plan, then they must issue the final EHC Plan within 14 weeks.
    • b. If they feel your child does not need an EHC Plan, then they must let you know in writing.
  2. If they agree to issue your child an EHC Plan, they have up to 5 weeks in which to issue them with a draft and then finalise this within 11 weeks of the mediation meeting.
  3. If they agree to change the name of the school in the EHC Plan, then they must issue the new EHC Plan naming the school in 2 weeks.
  4. If they agree to amend the EHC Plan, then they must do this within 5 weeks. You should receive a draft within this 5 week period so you can check it.

If you are not happy with the result of the mediation you may still decide you wish to go to tribunal. The mediation service will issue you with a certificate to say that following mediation you wish to appeal.

Tribunal and mediation

You do not have to go to mediation if you are just appealing the school named in the EHC Plan (section I only appeal); however, in most cases, if you are appealing this, it is sometimes necessary to appeal other parts of the plan too and you would need to consider mediation for them, for example sections B, F and I.

If you wish to appeal the Council’s decision at a tribunal there is a legal requirement that you either go to mediation or have considered it. You call Global Mediation and advise them that you either a) want to attend mediation or b) have considered it.

If you disagree with the Council’s decision, you have two months from the date of the notification letter in which to lodge an appeal. During this time, you have to contact the mediation service to discuss the option of mediation. This is when you state:

a) you want to attend mediation (the Council then has 30 days to book the meeting) or

b) just that you have considered it (Global will issue you with an exception certificate within 3 working days)

You then have two months from the original letter or a month from the date of the exemption certificate, whichever is the later, to lodge the appeal.

Who to contact

Global Mediation

The mediation and disagreement resolution services in Bromley are currently provided by Global Mediation which is a professional mediation service which is independent of the Council.

The service can be contacted by:

For further information visit the Global Mediation website.