Independent Support is a national government initiative launched in January 2014 designed to help parents and disabled young people, or those with special educational needs, navigate the Education, Health and Care (EHC) planning process.
This £15 million programme is managed by our specialist member group, the Council for Disabled Children on behalf of the Department for Education. It forms part of the Government's strategy for implementing the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 that launched in September 2014.
What is Independent Support?
Independent Support is a service delivered locally that provides impartial information and support to families and young people with special educational needs who are going through the process of developing an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. There are 152 Independent Support services across England helping families understand the EHC assessment, navigate the Local Offer and act as a point of contact throughout the EHC planning process.
Our role delivering Independent Support
Our role is to commission and manage contracts with local service providers to ensure there is an Independent Support service on offer to families and young people in every local authority area across England. We provide legal training and ongoing support to over 3,000 Independent Supporters across the country to ensure they are confident and capable to provide the best support and advice to families.
What we've achieved
Since launching the programme we've supported over 130,000 young people and families through the EHC process. Independent evaulation of the programme found that
- 93% found Independent Supporters either useful or extremely useful
- 90% found the support they received had a positive impact
- 95% would recommend the Independent Support service
- 90% felt they needed support with EHC planning in the future
- 89% felt the referral process was easy
- 80% felt they were fully able to express their views and were listened to throughout the process
To find out more about the programme or to find your local Independent Support service have a look at the Council for Disabled website here.