Southampton Independent Support Service

What is Independent Support?

Southampton Mencap have been contracted by Central Government to provide ‘Independent Support’ to children/young people with special educational needs (SEN) and their parents/carers in Southampton.

This support is being provided because of the changes to SEND law that have happened nationally. These changes aim to give children and young people with SEN and their parents/carers a greater say in the support they receive. One of the biggest changes is the introduction of Education, Health and Care Plans which will be replacing Statements of SEN.

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What can an Independent Supporter do for me?

Independent Supporters can provide specific information about Education, Health and Care Plans to children/young people or their parents.

Their main tasks are to:

  • Help you to understand the local referral process and local offer
  • Act as a named contact person throughout the EHC assessment and planning process
  • Focus on the main task of helping you to transfer a Statement of SEN or Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) to an EHC plan (transfer reviews)
  • Help you to put together the one page profile for your child or young person
  • Work with you if you are new to EHC referrals or if you have had a LDA under the old system
  • Liaise across a range of local services and help you to gather the information required for an EHC plan
  • Provide you with information to help you understand personal budgets
  • Signpost you to Information Advice and Support (IAS) Services when the issue is outside the remit of an Independent Supporter

How is the Independent Support Service connected to the Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service?

The Southampton Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Service (formerly Parent Partnership) works in partnership with the Southampton Independent Support Service in order to provide the best support for children/young people and their parents.

Independent Support is an additional service that will work with, and complement, the IAS role. The new Code of Practice (which came into force on 1st September 2014) requires Local Authorities to provide broader information, advice and support across education, health and social care services.

Independent Supporters offer a range of time-limited support such as liaison across different agencies and advice on personal budgets. The level and nature of that support will be tailored to the particular needs of individual families. This service is independent from the local authority.

If an Independent Supporter is working with a family and the support required is more than can be provided by the Independent Support Service, e.g. the Local Authority are refusing to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan, then it may be appropriate for them to ask the family if they wish to be referred to the IAS service who can provide a broader range of information and advice.

What training have Independent Supporters received?

All of our Independent Supporters have completed comprehensive national training covering the legal aspects of the reforms, the role of an Independent Supporter and many other topics such as; personal budgets, annual reviews and preparing for adulthood. They all also have a broad range of skills and experience in working with children/young people with SEN/disabilities and their parents/carers.

To contact an Independent Supporter call 023 8055 7607 or 02380 582 110