Mediation and resolution

Resolving disputes - information about mediation and tribunals.

Resolving disputes with Stoke-on-Trent Council

Stoke-on-Trent Council always aims to listen to parents/carers and young people and involve them in decision making. However, there are situations where there are disagreements over decisions made by the Local Authority. If you are unhappy with anything in relation to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment or an EHC plan, please contact us by email at or 01782 231863 and we will do our best to help you.

We will always try and resolve any disagreements with you informally; however, you have the following routes of escalation should you require them.

Disagreement resolution

In some circumstances, a quick and non-adversarial way to resolving issues can be achieved through a disagreement resolution approach. Disagreement resolution arrangements are designed to resolve issues about the performance of duties, SEN provision, disagreements over health and social care provision and disagreements between health commissioners and local authorities. They are completely voluntary.

Impartial Information, Advice and Support

If you would like to speak to someone to receive impartial advice and information about disagreement resolution, please contact the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) at:


The Crescent Children's Centre
Pinewood Crescent

Telephone No:  01782 234 701  




If parents or young people wish to make an appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal they must contact an independent mediation advisor within two months to get information about mediation and see if this may be a suitable way of resolving a disagreement. This would be in the following scenarios:

•             If a local authority decides not to carry out an EHC needs assessment

•             If a local authority decides not to issue an EHC plan

•             If the parents/carers or young person is unhappy with the contents of an EHC plan

•             Following a decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan

•             Following a decision not to amend an EHC plan following a review

If a parent or young person does wish to have formal mediation then the local authority will arrange this with the mediation advisor within 30 days of being advised of this decision. Once mediation is completed the mediation advisor must issue a certificate within 3 working days so that the parent or young person can appeal to the tribunal if they still wish to.

If a parent or young person, after receiving all the information from the mediation advisor, decides not to go to formal mediation, the advisor will issue them with a certificate within 3 days. This will confirm that information has been provided and it will enable the parent or young person to lodge their appeal with the SEND tribunal. 

The only time that parents and young people do not have to contact a mediation advisor prior to registering an appeal is when the appeal is solely about the name of a school or college or other institution named in Section I of the EHC plan.

Mediation and disagreement resolution services are free to parents and young people. If you wish to use either of these services please contact:

Prime Resolution

Marilyn Webster - Director
Meeting Point House
Southwater Square

07582 548611

Charles Horn Mediation Services

Charles Horn
5 Chapel Lane
GL50 2AR

07856 534777


Susana Diegel

249 Birmingham Road,
Sutton Coldfield,
B72 1EA 

03330 062 835

Together Trust SEND Mediation Service

Suzie Franklin

Together Trust Centre Schools Hill,

0161 283 4807

SEN & Disability Tribunal

Following a certificate of mediation, parents and young people can appeal to the SEND First-Tier Tribunal against the decisions listed above. Parents/carers and young people have one month from receiving a certificate to register an appeal with the tribunal, or 2 months from the original decision from the LA whichever is the later.

It is only possible for the Tribunal to consider the health and/or social care aspects of the EHC plan where you are already making an appeal in relation to the education aspects of the EHC plan and the education aspect must remain live throughout the appeal.

You can ask the Tribunal to make non-binding recommendations on health and/or social care aspects of EHC plans as part of an appeal relating to:

  • a decision by the local authority not to issue an EHC plan
  • a decision by the local authority not to carry out a reassessment for a child/young person who has an EHC plan
  • a decision by the local authority not to amend an EHC plan following a review or reassessment
  • a decision by the local authority to cease to maintain an EHC plan
  • the description of the child/young person’s special educational needs in an EHC plan
  • the special educational provision specified in an EHC plan
  • the school or other educational institution named in an EHC plan

If you wish to appeal against a local authority decision on any of the grounds above and want to request that the Tribunal considers your concerns about the health and /or social care aspects of the EHC plan, you should follow the normal process for bringing an appeal to the Tribunal and tick the box on the form relating to a health and/or social care appeal. Advice on making SEND appeals to the Tribunal is available from the GOV.UK website:

Useful links

This page on the KIDS website has some useful information about Mediation, including an easy read guide for young people. Click here.