1  What is happening to Independent Support?

Independent Support was a time limited programme providing additional support for young people and parents while statements were transferred to EHCPs. Independent Support will finish on 31st July 2018.

2  What about the families that Independent Support agencies currently work with?

The new programme of work includes funding to IS agencies so they can continue their role supporting EHCP assessments and annual reviews until 31st July 2018. The funding also ensures IS agencies work closely with local partners to ensure opportunities for transitioning, service phase down, amendments to websites and sign posting materials, so families and young people are correctly routed to support from 1st August 2018 onwards.

3  Will there still be support for statutory assessment and annual reviews?

Free and impartial information, advice and support will continue to be available from local IAS Services who have (and have always had) a statutory responsibility to provide support on a wide range of SEND issues, including the statutory assessment process, to children, young people and parents.

4  What additional support will be available for SEND IASS?

There will be an extensive programme of training available for all IAS Service staff and volunteers, which will include three levels of IPSEA legal adviser SEND training. There will also be additional funding available for eligible IAS Services, and support for local authorities in running and commissioning legally compliant and innovative services.

5  Which services are eligible to receive support?

Additional funding will be available for those IAS Services who are compliant with the statutory guidance/new minimum standards, or who have an agreed plan with the local authority/CCG to be so. There are significant issues regarding the capacity and equality of access and support from IAS Services across England, and the IAS Programme will be seeking to improve this. Information on the process involved to apply for initial funding will be shared with IAS Services shortly.

6  Who is responsible for the provision of local IAS Services?

Local authorities have a duty to provide, adequately resource and jointly commission impartial and free information, advice and support for disabled children, young people and their parents, and to children and young people with SEN and their parents. This support will cover education, health and social care, and will be delivered through a dedicated and easily identified IAS Service. The Information, Advice and Support Programme does not replace this duty, and will not be responsible for any provision or management of individual IAS Services.

7 How will parents, children and young people help inform the programme?

There is a parent and young person representative on the IASP Board, which oversees the work of the programme. When IAS Services look at developing their operational plan they should be doing so in collaboration with partners, including children, young people and parents. Whenever local authorities are designing and commissioning new IAS Service arrangements they should also include children, young people and parents in this work.