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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Local offer for special educational needs and disability

Every local authority must publish a local offer that sets out information about local provision to meet the needs of children who have special educational needs and disabilities. The duty to publish a local offer is in the Children and Families Act 2014. The offer must include provision for those who do not have an education, health and care plan. The local offer should include detailed information which sets out how the needs of those children will be met up to age 25. This information should be regularly reviewed, and kept up to date.

The local offer should be drawn up in partnership with local children, young people and their families. It must include:

  • Information about specialist provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Sources of local information and advice relating to special educational needs and disabilities. This will include parent forums and support groups.
  • Childcare provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Arrangements for identifying and assessing children and young people’s special educational needs. This will include how parents and young people can request assessment for an education, health and care plan.
  • Information about travel arrangements. This must include specialised transport (e.g. specially fitted buses). It must also set out how families can seek help with travel to and from schools and colleges (including the cost of this).
  • Post-16 education and training, including apprenticeships.
  • How children and young people will be supported to take part in leisure activities.
  • Information about provision to help prepare young people for adulthood.
  • Support for young people making the transition to adult services.
  • Arrangements for resolving disputes and making complaints.
  • Parents’ and young people’s right to appeal a local authority decision. Such appeals are heard by the First-tier Tribunal (special educational needs and disabilities).
  • This list is not exhaustive, and there may be other information included in a local offer.

For more information:

  • See your local authority’s local offer on their website. This should be easy to find by searching on the name of your local authority and ‘local offer’.
  • For full details of what should be included in the local offer and how it should be drawn up, see Chapter 4 of the government’s SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years.
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