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Section: Education

Subsection: Independent advice

Independent Support

Parent Voice Delivering Independent Support

Parent Voice are delighted to announce that we are now Delivering Independent Support across Hampshire, Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth.

The new Children and Families Act 2014 is changing the statutory process for children and young people aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disability. The Independent Support Programme has been commissioned to provide additional support to help families at this time of change. An Independent Supporter will give impartial support and guidance to families with children or young people who are being assessed for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or those ‘transferring’ from a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) to an EHCP under the new system. Independent Supporters will work closely with Parent Carer forums, Special Educational Needs and Health partners to achieve a more streamlined assessment and planning process for families.

In Hampshire, we are delivering Independent Support from within our Parent Voice service. If you have received a letter about transferring your child or young person’s statement or learning difficulties assessment or confirming that an EHC assessment will be done, you can contact us to discuss the support you might need through the process.

We have a new service covering Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth which can help with requesting an EHC assessment, and support you through the assessment or Transfer Review process.

You can contact the Independent Support services on 0300 303 8604 or by email

We will support you by telephone, group workshops or face to face meetings or a combination of all three. All callers to the service will have an initial discussion to agree the level of support they need. If we need to meet with you then we will try to be as flexible as possible about meeting locations and times. The Independent Support service will discuss this with you when you call. An Independent Supporter will support you to make the decisions that you believe are best for your child. They will help you to better understand the assessment process, understand the law relating to the assessment, and help you to agree outcomes to be achieved for your child. They will also help you to understand other areas of the reforms such as The Local Offer and Personal Budgets. The aim of the Independent Supporter is to provide information and support that enables you to make decisions that are right for your child or young person. They will not tell you what to do or do it for you.

Independent Support will be involved only during the statutory assessment process for an EHC Plan. It is an additional resource to assist families through this time of change. The Parent Partnership Services will continue to provide Impartial Information Advice and Support on Special Educational Needs, and Parent Voice will continue to provide information, advice and signposting in Hampshire.

Related subsections

Education - Independent advice, Education - Who's involved