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Is mediation ever a good idea in reality?

(14 Posts)
bjkmummy Fri 24-Oct-14 20:43:20

think ive cocked up - wrote to the LA last week re the SALT business (another story!) anyway I ended the letter by saying that we were always open to mediation.

LA replied to day - still not answered the question ive asked them twice now and now asking permission for the NIL and MS report to be released to the NHS SALT but they end the letter by saying that they are also happy to mediate so we are to contact them to organise.

Now this is an appeal over a NIL so its black and white really - they either issue a statement or they don't so not sure I want to mediate unless they are going to move otherwise honestly whats the point?

asked my EP what she thinks and she said that the only way now to get a NIL to a statement is through the legal process ie by tribunal - I thought the LA could concede it at any point and never heard this before?

so the question is - to mediate or not to mediate and if its a no how do I word it now so im not seen to be unreasonable

Icimoi Sat 25-Oct-14 00:12:29

The EP is wrong, of course the LA can just decide to issue a statement without a tribunal decision.

I don't know about mediation, I suppose you have nothing to lose by giving it a go. You could use it as a chance to remind them of the views of the last tribunal and to underline again why a full statement is needed. I've heard it said by a lawyer that it can be a chance to put the frighteners on the LA - she reckons that you can/t really get aggressive in front of the tribunal because they don't like it, but you can be tough in a mediation which tends to make LAs think it's worth settling to avoid encountering her again at the hearing.

salondon Sat 25-Oct-14 06:46:11

I think mediation can work. That is best a lot of Fiona's cases are (I think)

OneInEight Sat 25-Oct-14 07:05:45

It worked for us with respect to ds1's secondary school placement as they conceded before tribunal. Now whether they would have conceded anyway who knows but it did keep the lines of communication open and show that we were at least willing to consider alternatives (not that there really were any).

2boysnamedR Sat 25-Oct-14 08:35:49

Hmm... I'm not sure. I'm in the same position but I don't think my la plan to conceed ever. They are saying he's neuro typical now and never met school action ( not sure why have a nil then).

If you could go, keep all cards to yourself, response to everything be " I will have to think about that and talk to my husband"

If they wanted to meet to conceed then I think it would have been their suggestion, not yours

Sorry that sounds secpitical but I am still realing over how dirty and horrible my case has gone

Don't ever under estimate the low desperate levels some la's will drop too and watch what you say

bjkmummy Sat 25-Oct-14 08:40:12

well we are many weeks away from tribunal at this stage so I guess I could just now roll with it but be careful how we approach it. its a simple case really - either issue a statement or don't! you are right you cannot be aggressive in front of the tribunal - you have to be the reasonable parent at all times.

the idea about underlining what the last hearing said is good - think they are trying to counter that by calling a senco from a random school to show what a random school could offer - in all honesty I think its pointless and they will just be telling us the same as what their response to tribunal says - out of 16 points they say 5 times that we have zero chance of a getting a statement so them to back down is going to an enormous U turn which I don't think they will do - they have in the last letter finally admitted that 'without prejudice' they are getting a second opinion on MS report by the NHS SALT and at no point in the referral to the NHS SALT do they mention she has been dx with ASD

bjkmummy Sat 25-Oct-14 08:43:19

2boys that's my gut reaction - think I will do what I did last time for her refusal to assess appeal and write back and say yes happy to do it but only on the basis that this is a genuine attempt to mediate and not an opportunity for them to tell us again why they feel we wont win - last time when I wrote back to them saying this they basically admitted that was all they intended to do so we never had a meeting!

the mere fact they don't accept she has ASD says an awful lot doesn't it!

fairgame Sat 25-Oct-14 09:00:30

Mediation worked for me, although it was about school choice and not a NIL.
I was very reluctant to go but my solicitor made me encouraged me to at least turn up. My solicitor said that I could leave at any time and even if I was only there 10 minutes at least it looked good that I turned up. I posted on here for advice at the time and the majority of people were a bit hmm because the mediator had links to a law firm that is notorious for representing LA's. However the mediator was brilliant and I felt she was very fair. I also took parent partnership with me so i wasn't sat on my own but she was also excellent.
I won't deny that I was completely stressed bordering on hysterical about going but it was all worth it to see the embarrassment on the LA's face when they couldn't resolve any of the issues I raised about there original placement offer.

2boysnamedR Sat 25-Oct-14 09:47:14

I might be going with my toddler who is under portage, spend 30 mins telling him firmly to behave while he trashes the place and my baby screams as I'm not breast feeding her in those circumstances ( I could be up for sexual abuse of a minor if I did).

So I could go but I really don't see what the point is.

Bjk - my case should be very simple to a so called expert panel. Here's medical reports, school reports. Here's the SOP. Which side so we sit? But it's not

bjkmummy Sat 01-Nov-14 08:43:40

well after the all without prejudice rubbish, I then wrote back to the LA saying 'okay then but only if its purposeful and not for them to tell me again they are right and im wrong.

LA nicely emailed me back at 4.50 yesterday and said they are now no longer available next week so gave me a date for the week after but I cant do that as my dd has a long planned appointment so will go back to them for the following week so looks like they do still want to meet and ive made it clear under what terms but have a feeling they are still going to say they are right and im wrong!

they have now sent the indie EP report to the NHS SALT so im wondering if they are now playing for time. yesterday they also received our witness list so they now know we are calling MS and have instructed our own EP so again I guess they need time I guess to look at that before they meet with us.

they aren't offering formal mediation but a meeting with the sen officer only

yomellamoHelly Sat 01-Nov-14 11:44:34

Mediation just delayed everything by four/five weeks with us. They wouldn't budge an inch and it was like talking to a brick wall. Got a lawyer straight after. Lawyer did say it would go in our favour at tribunal that we'd tried (had also been very clear in writing beforehand on the (many) points we wished to discuss) but said it doesn't usually get you anywhere.

fairgame Sat 01-Nov-14 13:16:52

If they offer mediation then it needs to be a formal set up. If the mediator hadn't been present in my case then it would have just descended into a bun fight. If it's going to be done then it should be done properly otherwise it's just another pointless meeting with the LA.

Icimoi Sun 02-Nov-14 09:10:24

i agree there doesn't seem to be much point in meeting the SEN officer on her own. Either she's going to tell you they concede, which she can do without a meeting; or, more likely, she's planning to offer you all sorts of promises of extra support with no guarantee that it will actually happen. And again she could do that in writing anyway

bjkmummy Sun 02-Nov-14 16:22:31

just a thought and don't know if anyone knows the answer to this - the LA issued the NIL and now dd has been dx with ASD so the NIL makes no reference at all to the asd dx so is already out of date - the LA mentioned that a NIL can be reviewed - is this true? cant see anything in the code of practice - I guess an easier way would be to reapply for a EHCP after so many months - that is going to be part of my case that the NIL never did reflect all her needs and certainly doesn't now

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