Compliments, Complaints and Comments

Page Updated: 15th July 2022.

What should I do if I have concerns, or do not agree with a decision that has been made by the SEN and Assessment Team?

SENAT is the local authority’s department, responsible for children with Special Educational Needs who have an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan, are requesting one, or who are going through the process of an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment. There are different ways to address concerns with, or decisions made by SENAT that you may not agree with.

Keep Talking with your Planning Co-ordinator:

Working with the SEN and Assessment Team (SENAT) to put an EHC plan together is important to ensure the most effective outcomes for your family are included. Keep talking with your Planning Co-ordinator from (SENAT) if there is anything that you are confused about or do not agree with. If necessary, ask for a further meeting to discuss your concerns and to see if they can be resolved.

Mediation services:

If you still feel that there are unresolved concerns or decisions that you are not happy with following on from communications with SENAT, you may want to consider mediation. The Mediation Service can be contacted for advice or to arrange mediation especially where certain decisions have been made about an EHCNA or EHC plan that you disagree with. For example; where an EHCNA has been refused or you disagree with the contents of the EHC plan.

Mediation advice must be sought before lodging an Appeal at First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (except where only Section I is being appealed). Mediation itself can be done before or instead of lodging an Appeal.

The Local Authority’s arrangements for providing mediation, is currently through a company called ‘Global Mediation’ and they can be contacted for advice or to arrange mediation on 0800 064 4488 or email [email protected]

If you do not want to try mediation first, the Mediation Adviser will issue you with a certificate so that you can register your Appeal.

Special Educational Needs Tribunal Service:

Following certain decisions that the SEN and Assessment Team make on behalf of the local authority, you may have the right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)

As mentioned above, you will have to contact Global mediation first (except for Section I only appeals)

How to Complain to the Local Authority:

If you are not happy with how the Local Authority (SENAT) have handled your situation (and you are not able to appeal the decision through the First-tier Tribunal -Special Educational Needs and Disability), then you may consider making a complaint. You would first need to complain to them directly so they have a chance to address this and put it right. Follow this link to find out more about how you complain to the Local Authority.

How do I make a compliment about a service or individual?

If you have had a really good experience you may want to thank a service or individual in the Local Authority. You can doe this through the same process above on the West Sussex County Council website, this will then be passed on to the team who helped you.


If you have been through the whole complaint process with the local authority and it has not resolved the situation to your satisfaction, then you can take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. Follow this link to find out more about the Local Government Ombudsman

To find out more about SENAT: SENAT Local Offer Service page.

Who can I speak to for more information on making a compliment or complaint?

The SEND Information, Advice and Support Service has put together a leaflet to help you when communicating with professionals, including making a complaint. You can find this on the SENDIAS leaflets and factsheets page.

If you feel you may need help to understand this information or need help to think through your options and what you may like to say at meetings, then please contact SENDIAS: 0330 222 8555 or email: [email protected]

SENDIAS have also produced some useful guides related to SEND specific subjects on their website, which may empower you to make decisions about your next steps and how to move your situation forwards.