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Independent Supporters
Independent supporters are a new role as of September 2014. There are 12 on aver-age per local authority and locally the contract for managing the Independent Sup-porters has been given to Barnardo’s. Independent supporters are supposed to be recruited and trained in time to provide families with totally independent support as the new SEND reforms are implemented in September 2014. Independent supporters, as per the guidelines outlining their role, are supposed to have capacity to – spend one to one time with families giving them help and/or advice through the new SEN assessment process if they are new to this process and also if the family has a child/young person with an identified need and is transferring from a statement to an EHC plan. Independent supporters should be available at every step of the process for families to ensure that the child/young person can access the most appropriate parts of the new SEND reforms, however the support will be time limited and therefore has to be individually tailored to meet different family’s needs. As there will not be enough independent supporters for every family there will be a criteria/system put in place to ‘ensure families most in need receive the support they need’. An Independent Supporter’s role is to promote knowledge and confidence with families around the new reforms so that they can go forward empowered not dependent. They should help the family and young person input their contributions to an EHC plan, to understand how to use the Local Offer site to access services and liaise across agencies throughout the process. If there is a disagreement around the child/young person’s SEND status or any decisions, then it is the independent supporter’s role to make sure the council under-stands the family’s point of view and what they ultimately want. The independent supporters also have a role in challenging decision making to ensure children/young people with SEND receive the support they need. (As this is a completely new role there will obviously be amendments to this section as time goes by).

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