Dispute Resolution

Mediation, Dispute Resolution and Tribunals

 This page has information on the options for families if they disagree with a decision.


1.  Who can support me if I need help with a disagreement?

 Both these services are free for parents, carers and young people, and can offer help and advice on options available.


OrganisationSutton Parents ForumSutton Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service
Telephone 07557 760328


0208 323 0462




The SEND Service (email Sen.team@cognus.org.uk or call 020 8323 0454) is also always happy to meet with you, professionals or settings to settle disagreements or answer questions. However, if after meeting with the Service you still disagree with the decisions made, or if you would prefer not to meet with the Service, a Mediation Service is available.


2.  What is mediation?

Global Mediation is the service that Sutton has commissioned to work with parents, carers and young people to have a ‘structured conversation’ about concerns or disagreements, and to agree on an action plan. Most parents who have used the mediation service report they are pleased with the outcomes. We would always encourage parents, carers and young people to come to mediation so that issues can be solved positively and within a shorter timescale. Mediation does not take away the legal right to appeal to tribunal.

Mediation contact details and information can be found here (external site).


3.  Some important points about the tribunal process.

  •  If you decide you disagree with a decision you must get in touch with the mediation service mentioned above before going to tribunal.
  • Although you can include Health and Social Care issues in your appeal, there must be an educational issue in order to start an appeal
  • The tribunal service is free.
  • An appeal is registered within 10 working days of receipt of a parent’s/young person’s request to appeal. Once the appeal is registered, you will receive a letter telling you what you need to do and the dates you need to do them by. This information is also sent to the Local Authority.
  • The process of making an appeal can take up to five months, depending on the type of case.
  • Appeals are heard by a Tribunal Panel, which is made up of a legally qualified tribunal judge (the chair), and up to two specialist members. The specialists will have knowledge and experience of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  • Once the hearing is over, you should receive the decision and reasons by post within 10 working days. The decision is also sent to the Local Authority.

For more information about tribunals, please visit the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) website.