About us

We are trained by  IPSEA through the  National IASS network. Each of our team members complete 90 hours of accredited legal training, so that we can give you information  based on legislation rather than local policy. 

We provide unbiased information and advice about the local authority’s policies and procedures and about the policy and practice in local schools and other settings.

You may find the answer to some of your questions by looking through the information on this site and through our social media channels. We have some downloadable leaflets and factsheets.

If you can’t find the answers to your questions, you can get in touch by phone, text or email. – you choose which works best for you. 

Watch our video which explains our service and includes testimonials from Suffolk parents we have supported:

Our remit

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

Local authorities must ensure that children, young people and parents are provided with the information, advice and support necessary to enable them to participate in discussions and decisions about their support. (1.9)

Information, advice and support should be impartial and provided at arm’s-length from the local authority and Clinical Commissioning Groups. (2.8)

Local authorities are responsible for arranging  Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS)to be available for children & young people with SEND and their parents and carers.

This means that every local authority should provide a service that is free, easy to access and confidential and that can help children, parents and young people take part in decisions that affect their lives. 

How we ’empower’ families

We support children, young people and their parents and carers to understand their rights and help them to share their views and wishes. We help families…

  • to feel confident to express their views and participate
  • understand their rights in relation to SEND
  • find positive ways to communicate with schools and the local authority
  • with questions about their or their child’s SEN, including choosing a school and the process of SEN support (assess/plan/do/review cycle).
  • through the EHCP process including help with forms, reports or letters etc
  • by providing information to enable informed choices
  • where there are disagreements with school/LA/health, we can explore options and support with next steps, including with SEND tribunals.

When we receive a request for information, advice and support we consider how our resources, training and outreach might enable the child, young person or parent to understand their choices and help them with their chosen option.

Where information, advice and support needs cannot be met via these available resources our ‘Information, Advice and Support Workers’ might provide individual advice and support to someone. Most of this will be provided via email or through arranged advice appointments.

Attending meetings

We are impartial; we do not favour any party or have influence over the outcome of any meeting.

By using online meeting support, we are able to support more people than when we physically attend meetings.  This is due to the time it takes for travel across the county.  However, any request for ‘in person’ support at a meeting will considered on an individual basis.

Priority for attending meetings

Whether online or in person, our priorities for meeting support are as follows.
Parents/carers children or young people who have review meetings where:

  • the school or setting place is at risk
  • it is a phased transfer (in a year where a child is moving to the next phase of education) and there is uncertainty regarding the next placement.
  • the child or young person has multiple or complex needs and parents/carers are struggling to engage support
  • it is a complex situation and an appeal to the SEND Tribunal is being considered.

Who may be offered ‘in person’ support?

  1. Children and young people aged up to 25 with special educational needs or disability who approach the service directly, and who require support to take part in processes and to help them express their views and wishes.
  2. Parents and carers who require additional support due to their needs or circumstances for example because they:
  • have a learning difficulty,
  • are disabled or have medical or mental health issues,
  • do not have English as their first language,

And:

Would, have trouble in engaging with the following SEND processes without ‘in person’ support from a member of the SENDIASS team.

3. Other situations as determined by and at the discretion of Suffolk Sendiass as requiring in person support.

Read more about how we provide support in the IASS Definition of Advocacy

Our confidentiality explained

What you talk to us about is completely confidential, only our staff have access to this information and we would only talk to other people with your consent.

In order to support your best interests and help to secure good outcomes for you or your child, we will work collaboratively with the Local Authority, and maintain positive relationships with their staff.

Though some of our staff are able to work in council offices, our database and information are held separately.

Read our full confidentiality policy

What do we mean by impartiality?

The information, advice and support that we offer is firmly based in the law and the SEND Code of Practice. We provide unbiased information and advice about the local authority’s policies and procedures and about the policy and practice in local schools and other settings.

At Suffolk SENDIASS we follow a national set of Minimum Standards for services providing impartial information, advice and support relating to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). The Minimum Standards are developed by the Information, Advice and Support Services Network

This helps us to monitor the effectiveness of our service we provide and ensure that it is at ‘arm’s length’ from the local authority. By this we mean that we act, and are seen to act, separately and impartially, with no undue influence or control from either the local authority or the Clinical Commissioning Group in our area.

By being impartial we aim to help parents, children and young people to have clear, accurate and relevant information that will help them take part in decisions about their lives.

Read our full impartiality policy