Information, advice and support should be provided through a dedicated and easily identifiable service. Local authorities have established Information, Advice and Support Services (formerly known as Parent Partnership services) to provide information, advice and support to parents in relation to SEN. In addition, many local authorities provide or commission information, advice and support services for young people. Local authorities should build on these existing services to provide the information, advice and support.
Information, Advice and Support Services should be impartial, confidential and accessible and should have the capacity to handle face-to-face, telephone and electronic enquiries.
Local authorities should involve children, young people and parents (including local Parent Carer Forums and Youth Forums) in the design or commissioning of services providing information, advice and support in order to ensure that those services meet local needs. Local authorities should do this in a way which ensures that children, young people and parents feel they have participated fully in the process and have a sense of co-ownership.
Staff working in Information, Advice and Support Services should be trained to support, and work in partnership with, parents.
As a child reaches the end of compulsory school age (the end of the academic year in which they turn 16), some rights to participate in decision-making about Education Health and Care (EHC) plans transfer from the parent to the young person, subject to their capacity to do so, as set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Parents of young people can still access information, advice and support on behalf of, or with, the young person. Staff should be clear about the transfer of some rights and responsibilities to young people, and work sensitively with parents to help them understand their role.
There may be cases where the young person and the parents do not agree on an issue. Legally, it is the young person's decision which prevails, subject to their capacity. Where there are disagreements, staff providing information, advice and support should work impartially and separately with both the parents and the young person.