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Last month 566 parent/carers and young people accessed our service which led to a total of 2,981 emails, contact forms, telephone calls and face to face meetings. Contact us if you need our advice and support.  

If you do contact our service, upon first enquiry we ask you to provide details and an outline of your enquiry to determine the best route for support. It is important that you inform us of any additional support needs you have so we can best support you.  

We will ask you to share relevant information, such as your child’s name, date of birth and school information.  This information will be recorded on our confidential SENDIASS database. If you are contacting our service on behalf of parents or a young person aged 16 or over, you will need to gain their permission to speak with us and share their information.

SENDIASS can access the Essex Education database, on behalf of parents.  

If you do not want your information to be recorded on the SENDIASS database, or you do not want us to access the Essex Education database on your behalf, please let us know.

 

If you would like us to liaise on your behalf with third parties (eg school, local authority, education services, health & social care colleagues), we would need your written or verbal permission to do so.   

Complete our Referral Form

Read about How we can help and the levels of support we can offer you:-

Online Resources & Training

Factsheets, parent training, webinars, and information pages are available on our website at:

Resources - Essex Special Educational Needs & Disability (essexsendiass.co.uk)

Training

News & Events

These may answer your question without the need to contact our team

Signposting & Information

 You may be sent relevant resources to look through by our helpline team. These resources will often answer your questions. If you need further help you are welcome to contact us again for further advice. 

Helpline Team

The helpline is open between Monday and Thursday 9:30 and 3pm

Our helpline team provide a wide range of information, advice, and support on all areas of SEND. They will:

  • listen to you and help you to gather, understand, and interpret information and apply it to your own situation.
  • provide more in-depth information and resources to help you navigate processes, complete documents, understand policies and local practices, and understand your options and legal rights
  • signpost you to relevant support from other organisations, agencies, or local authority services
  • escalate your case to a SENDIASS Support Worker if required

You can come back to our helpline team  as often as you need by calling our helpline number - 01245 204338, completing our self-referral form or email us on send.iass@essex.gov.uk

Our helpline is in high demand and sometimes you may call us and we may not be able to pick up the call.  Our helpline team may be busy responding to calls to our helpline and are not yet available to pick up your call.  You can leave a voicemail and a member of our team will get in contact with you.  Please leave a detailed message outlining the support or advice you need, alongside  your name, telephone number and email address.  A member of our team will get in contact with you either by email or telephone.  

 

SENDIASS are currently receiving a high volume of contacts for our service and for this reason our response time has been extended to 10 working days.  All our team are managing extremely heavy caseloads and we ask you to be patient during these busy periods.

Support Case Workers

We have area support workers covering each area of Essex (Mid, North East, South & West) offering support for:

  • complex situations that require more in-depth support
  • young people (0-25) accessing our service independently
  • support at meetings, these are sometimes called 'face to face' meetings, subject to our availability
  • supporting parent, child or young person to share their views 
  • anyone who has their own additional support needs which mean they are unable to advocate for their child or themselves

We aim to help you to feel confident to say what you want to say and be heard. We do not speak for you. We do not take sides. We can't affect the outcome of any meeting.

Support from SENDIASS will end when one or more of the following is met:

  • The outcomes of your enquiry have been achieved
  • You have reached a stage where you feel you can proceed without support
  • The support you need to achieve further outcomes is outside of the SENDAISS remit or your issue has been progressed as far as SENDIASS is able. In this case you will be signposted to relevant services.
Support at a Meeting

We often get requests for Essex SENDIASS to attend meetings. Due to the number of parents/carers, children, and young people we support we are not able to accept all the meeting requests we receive. Meeting requests will always be looked into, and a decision will be made based on the below

Meetings

    • Requests for meeting attendance must be received at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting date
    • Meeting attendance from SENDIASS is subject to our availability and may be reduced in busy periods
    • Meetings in person (sometimes called face-to-face meetings) are subject to availability, necessity, and location.
    • SENDIASS may offer to attend a meeting virtually, using Microsoft Teams or Zoom online, if attending a meeting in person is not possible.
    • Support Workers will only attend meetings if they have a valuable contribution to make  
    • If we are unable to attend a meeting, we can provide support before the meeting or signpost you to relevant resources, if given enough time before the meeting date, and offer support after the meeting.
    • We are unable to offer our support if you are already being supported by other independent services.   This is to avoid services 'doubling up' on offering support to parents and ensures services are able to support as many parents as we can. 
Tribunal Support
  • Senior Support Workers can offer support with appeal paperwork completion and gathering of evidence for a tribunal hearing
  • At Tribunals we can attend in a supporter role. Attendance as a supporter must be agreed with your Support Worker 

Requesting Support from our Team

Our Tribunal Team are currently in high demand and for this reason, we will need to check capacity with the team before we confirm their availability to help you.  To help us to do this, we will need from you:

  • the date your right of appeal commenced
  • the reason of your appeal 
  • If you have a mediation certificate to lodge an appeal 

We will check our Tribunal Team's capacity and if they are are in a position to help you, we will request from you further information:-

  • a copy of the final EHCP
  • any appendices or  attachments (eg. reports)
  • a copy of the local authority decision letter
  • a copy of the Annual Review report (if appeal is following an annual review)

For Section B and/or F and/or I appeals 

In requesting support from our Tribunal caseworkers we ask that you agree:

  • To give consent for SEND IASS to notify the LA Tribunal Team that SEND IASS are supporting you with your appeal and that you give permission for the LA team to copy our tribunal caseworkers into future correspondence they may send to you.
  • To forward emails to caseworkers you have received from the courts and LA (where we are not copied in)
  • To notify caseworkers of any changes that may affect your appeal.
  • To let us know if you are receiving support from a solicitor, other advocate or voluntary organisation. SEND IASS will not be able to support you with an appeal so as to avoid conflicting advice and to ensure we direct support to those parent/carers who are not receiving any other support.
  • To engage and respond to emails and calls regarding your appeal case in a timely manner. If you consistently fail to respond to emails and calls from our caseworkers, then the tribunal support from our service will be withdrawn.
Tribunal Hearings

Our Tribunal Team are currently in high demand and for this reason, we will need to check capacity with the team before we confirm their availability to help you.  

  • Senior Support Workers can attend Tribunal Hearings with you if they are available 
  • Senior Support Workers can attend in a supporter role. Attendance as a supporter must be agreed with your Support Worker
  • Senior Support Workers can offer support with appeal paperwork completion and gathering of evidence for a tribunal hearing

We hope that our support will give you the skills and resources to use if future issues occur. However, you can come back to the service if you do need support again. If you come back to the service after a period of 3 months or more of no contact, or with a new topic of enquiry, you will be directed to our helpline who will be able to help.

If your enquiry is urgent and the person you have been speaking with is not working or is on leave, please contact our helpline team or send.iass@essex.gov.uk