Do you need to go to Tribunal? Find out more here.

What is a tribunal?

If the Local Authority decides that they do not think your child requires a Needs Assessment or EHCP, you can challenge this decision by taking them to tribunal.

This process will begin with a meeting that is managed by a mediator, who is an independent person who tries to help you as a parent or carer, and the local authority, come to an agreement about the level of care your child needs.

If the Local Authority decide not to conduct a Needs Assessment, or to complete an EHCP for your child once a Needs Assessment has been carried out, you will receive a letter which tells you your rights of appeal, the time limits involved, details of the mediation service, the availability of disagreement resolution services, and other information and advice.

The mediator is impartial, which means that they cannot tell either side what to do or try to sway the decision. They are there to make sure everyone gets their voices heard and to try to come to a resolution. In Bristol, a company called Global Mediation provides this service (which is free to you as a parent or carer) Click here to go to the Global Mediation website (opens in a new window)

If you and the Local Authority are unable to make an agreed plan, then you may need to follow the process of a Tribunal. This is where you provide evidence to a panel who can assess the case and make a final decision.

Why might I need a tribunal?

You may need to go to a tribunal for other reasons, such as concern over whether a child’s EHCP is being provided to them properly, whether health and social care teams are providing the right level of care for your child, or because the local authority has withdrawn your child’s EHCP.

The tribunal has the power to decide that a needs assessment must be carried out, an EHCP should be issued, and that elements of the EHCP should be amended or added.

See the Bristol SEND Local Offer page for more information about starting a tribunal process (Bristol SEND Local Offer (opens in a new tab).

This page will tell you how to start a tribunal process in South Gloucester. South Gloucester Tribunal Process (Opens in a new tab)

And here is the information to start a tribunal in North Somerset. North Somerset Tribunal Information (opens in a new tab).

Who can help me?

As well as the mediation services offered, you can contact independent advice groups who may be able to offer legal advice, help you talk through your concerns and suggest solutions, and guide you to other people who might be able to help.

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