When you disagree with a decision made by the Local Authority, you have options when it comes to how to resolve that disagreement. Once you receive the Local Authority decision letter, you have the legal right to appeal that decision to the SEND Tribunal, but before you appeal you are required by law to at least “consider mediation.” (SEND Regulation 33)
In Sutton, that means you call Global Mediation (whose information will be listed on your panel decision letter) and have a conversation with them over the phone. They will describe the benefits of mediation and offer advice and you can then decide whether to proceed with mediation (which may resolve your dispute within a month) or to proceed directly to Tribunal (which usually takes 3-5 months for your hearing date). After your conversation or mediation (whichever route you choose), they will send you a “Mediation Certificate” within 3 days certifying that you have considered mediation (SEND Regulation 34).
For more information on mediation, contact Global Mediation (Sutton’s contracted mediation services) here: Global Mediation – Mediation Services in London & Nationwide
Q: I have a legal right to appeal a Local Authority Decision to the SEND Tribunal, do I have to attend mediation first?
A: Legally, you are required to “consider mediation” before submitting your appeal to Tribunal (in all cases except Section I appeals). In Sutton, this involves calling Global Mediation and having a conversation about the benefits of mediation and then deciding whether or not you’d like to take up the offer to mediate the disagreement with the Local Authority before proceeding to Tribunal.
Q: Why should I take up the offer to mediate before I appeal? How can mediation benefit my child?
A: The goal of mediation is to reach a mutual agreement with the Local Authority about what happens next to meet your child’s SEN. When mediation is successful, it saves time and stress for all parties involved. A mediation can result in agreement with the Local Authority within 30 days, whereas an appeal to Tribunal often takes 3-5 months and lots of time and paperwork before an agreement is reached.
Q: Does the LA REALLY have to do what they agree to do during mediation?
A: YES! The result of successful mediation will be a Mediation Agreement, a mutually agreed upon plan about what has to happen next to meet your child’s SEN. A Mediation Agreement is a legally binding document, meaning the LA will have to do what it promises to do in the mediation agreement the same way they would if it were ordered by Tribunal.
Q: How likely am I to reach a mediation agreement in Sutton?
A: VERY! According to April 2020-March 2021 stats: 70% of those who called Global Mediation chose not to mediate and went straight to Tribunal, BUT 82% of those who chose to mediate first achieved a full mediation agreement with the LA within a month of calling.