The role of Sutton Information Advice and Support Service (SIASS) is to ensure
parents have access to impartial information, advice and support so that they can
make informed decisions about their child’s special educational needs. This is
achieved by working in partnership with parents, providing information, services
and training, working with relevant agencies and ensuring parents’ views influence
local policy and practice.

SIASS is part of a range of education and support services provided by Cognus
limited on behalf of the London Borough of Sutton. SIASS works at “arms length” to other Cognus services and the Local Authority, in line with the SEN Code of Practice 2015.

What Impartiality means:

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2015) states
‘When designing Information, Advice and Support Services, local authorities
should take into account the following principles:

  • The information, advice and support should be impartial and provided at arm’s
    length from the local authority and CCGs
  • The information, advice and support offered should be free, accurate,
    confidential and in formats which are accessible and responsive to the needs of
  • This means:
  • Staff will not take sides with any party.
  • Staff will provide factual information and advice based on what the guidance and
    legislation says.
  • Staff will endeavour to provide parents with enough information and support
    so that they can make their own decisions, we will not tell parents what to
  • Staff do not have any vested interests in the outcome of any decisions
    taken in relation to an individual child or parent/carer.

How we ensure impartiality:

  • SIASS has its own logo and service identity.
  • All SIASS staff aspire to offer accurate and neutral advice to all service users, this
  • includes parents, children, young people, practitioners, and any other party, based on legal rights and duties.
  • Staff will provide information based on national guidance and legislation and will not offer their own individual opinions or alter information to reflect local policy, although they will have knowledge of local policy.
  • Staff will respect parents’ and young people’s decisions without making judgements, irrespective of their own views as individuals.
  • Staff will empower parents, children and young people to speak for themselves and make their own decisions, making it clear that the best outcomes for children with SEN and disabilities are the ultimate aims of SIASS, and their role is to support parents, carers, children and young people to achieve this.
  • SIASS does not undertake Local Authority functions, or act on behalf of the Local Authority, educational settings or any other agency.
  • The Local Authority, education settings and other agencies will be informed of the impartial nature of the service.
  • Staff are legally trained and are able to support the partnership approach when attending meetings with parents and professionals, enabling everyone to have a voice.


  • All staff will be made aware of the Impartiality Policy.
  • Staff are required to inform the SIASS manager of any conflict of interest in relation to individual families; parent support groups, schools, nurseries, colleagues or other agencies.
  • Staff are required to inform the SIASS manager of any personal or voluntary involvement in issues relating to education or SEN that might impact upon their work.
  • The policy will be shared with the Local Authority and other agencies so that they are aware of it and understand it.

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