What is Dispute Resolution?
Sometimes a parent (or young person) can feel a bit ‘stuck’ with a complaint. Dispute Resolution (1) could be a possible solution. You do not need to have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan to be able to request Dispute Resolution.
Dispute Resolution can be used if you have a disagreement between the LA and a responsible commissioning body, or between the responsible commissioning body and yourself. A responsible commissioning body means a body that is under a duty to arrange your child’s health care provision.
The dispute may be about:
• an EHC Needs Assessment
• preparation and review of an EHC plan
• reassessment of educational, health and social care needs
You can also use Dispute Resolution about educational provision if your child is a registered pupil or student at a school or post-16 placement, if the disagreement is between:
• yourself (or young person) and
• the Governing Body (or equivalent for an Academy, college, nursery etc)
School Governors must use their best endeavours to secure any special educational provision its pupils may require (2). This is not the same as ensuring provision in an EHC plan, that is an absolute duty on the LA.
The local authority must provide an independent person to help resolve the dispute. This person is not independent if they are employed by:
• a LA in England
• a clinical commissioning group (CCG)
• the National Health Service (NHS) Commissioning Board
Dispute Resolution can help to get everyone around the table to discuss and hopefully resolve the issue(s). This can be particularly useful where there is a dispute about who is responsible for making provision, or you think your child is being treated less fairly than their non-disabled peers because of a school policy or practice.
You can still use Mediation and Tribunal if the dispute is related to an EHC plan and the issue has not been resolved.
1 Children and Families Act 2014, s57
2 Children and Families Act 2014, s66