Independent Support offers parents and young people extra advice and support while they go through the process of getting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
From September 2014, EHC plans are replacing Statements of special educational needs. Independent Supporters have been introduced to help with new EHC plans and transfers from Statements. All Brighton and Hove parents can get advice about EHC assessments and plans from the Amaze helpline, but Independent Supporter offer more help to make sure a parent or young person can be fully involved through the process. This is in addition to the support from the Casework Officer in the SEN Team.
The Independent Support service in Brighton & Hove is provided by Amaze with funding from the government. The service is independent but works in partnership with the local authority, schools, colleges and other services. Young people (16 to 25) can have Independent Support with their parents or separately. Read more about Independent Support and other Amaze services for young people.
All of the Independent Support team have a DBS (formerly CRB) check and complete accredited national training. Read more in our Independent Support (Brighton & Hove) service leaflet [PDF 775kb] and Service Outline for the Brighton and Hove Independent Support Service [MS Word – 85kb].
How can an Independent Supporter help?
Independent Supporters should provide a helping hand without taking over. This could be over the phone or by email, but can include meeting you face to face or coming to meetings with you. They can:
- Explain what is happening and how you should be involved
- Make sure you feel able to get your views across
- Check you have information you need, including on the Local Offer and Personal Budgets
- Attend meetings about the EHC plan with you
- Look through reports with you to be sure you understand them fully
- Ensure you know when you have choices or decisions to make about the EHC plan for example giving a preference for a school
- Help you check through the EHC plan to see if you are happy with it.
Read our guide about What to expect during the transfer of a Statement to an EHC Plan
How do I get an Independent Supporter?
Parents and young people can call our helpline on 01273 772289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our advisers will call you to offer advice and support over the phone, whilst working out with you whether you need extra help from an Independent Supporter. If so we’ll match you up with one of the team.
If a SENCO, social worker or other professional working with you wants to make a referral they should get your permission first.
What if I’m not happy with my Independent Supporter?
Contact the Operations Director via the Helpline 01273 772289 and we will try to resolve the problem. You can also give us your feedback on this website. Visit the contact us page and fill in our feedback form. You may also want to read our complaints procedure and policy.