Westminster Information Advice Support Service (IASS)) are expected to provide a range of flexible services, including access to an Independent Supporter (IS) for all parents and young person who want one. (COP: 2:20)

Independent Volunteer SEND Supporters are volunteers who have been trained and undertaken an initial legal online course on Special Educational Needs (SEN) law.

They are independent of decision-making professionals so there is no conflict of interest that could influence their capacity to advise and give information to a parent.

Independent Volunteer SEND Supporters help individual parents/carers/ children and young people through SEN and related issues and processes of obtaining a statement and/or Educational Health Care Plan (EHC).

A VSS offers independent advice and support. They understand parents’/or young person’s concerns about the child/ young person with additional needs. Some of them may be parents themselves who have had experience of SEN process through their own children; others may have some experience of SEN from a professional point of view.

Volunteer SEND Supporters:

  • Listen to concerns
  • Obtain information
  • Help parents express their views in person or in writing
  • Assist and empower parents to communicate with the school and other services involved
  • Explain the SEN process
  • Accompany parents to meetings/reviews
  • Read through and discuss written documents

Westminster IASS have a strict confidentiality policy and no information is passed on to third parties without the consent of the parent/carer/young person.

All VSS’s must:

  • undergo DBS check
  • complete initial training
  • have good communication and listening skills
  • be flexible and reliable
  • approach cases sensitively and sympathetically