SEND information, advice and support service

Find out what free, impartial advice and support is available through SENDIASS - the SEND information, advice and support service.

The SEND information, advice and support service (SENDIASS) provides free and impartial information, advice and support for children, young people and young adults (up to 25 years old) with special educational needs and / or disabilities as well as their parents or carers. It is at arms length to the local authority.

SENDIASS co-ordinators

The team of SENDIASS co-ordinators are qualified and experienced in special educational needs, and are based at the locations across the county.

SENDIASS co-ordinators can:

  • listen to your concerns and worries;
  • provide telephone advice, information and support;
  • provide guidance with an education, health and care plan (0 to 25 years);
  • give you information about local services and the local offer;
  • help you prepare and contribute to assessments, reviews and other meetings including advice on visiting education provision;
  • help you try to resolve disagreements;
  • signpost you to the mediation advice service and support you alongside this if is requested;
  • provide information and advice about the special educational needs and disability tribunal;
  • provide letter templates; and
  • help refer or signpost you to an independent supporter, voluntary organisation or parent support group or other useful sources of information.

SENDIASS will offer information, advice and support to children, young people and young adults and their parents or carers with SEND up to the age of 25 living in North Yorkshire, whether or not they have a statement of special needs or an education, health and care plan. There does not need to be a medical diagnosis to contact SENDIASS either. We shall give you information and advice in order to help you fully understand a particular process, make sure you know all your choices and make sure you can decide things in an informed way. It is expected that you shall be able to be part of any decision process, helping contribute to outcomes along with the professionals working with you, the child or the young person.

Information and contacts on helplines and organisations that provide support to children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers is also available on the groups and networks page.

A parent, carer, young person or professional can ring this telephone line or email the SENDIASS North Yorkshire advice line service for SEND information, advice or support or to ask for help with finding resources and services locally or nationally.

SENDIASS North Yorkshire advice line - 01609 536923 (local rate call) or email

The advice service is open Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 4.30pm and Friday, 9.30am to 4pm throughout the year, except over the Christmas school holidays. Outside of these hours or if the line is busy, leave your contact details and a brief message and someone will call you back within three working days. The email shall be responded to within these days and times.

Please note that local SENDIASS coordinators are unable to accept direct referrals.

The North Yorkshire SEND information, advice and support service will remain confidential, with only one exception that shall be outlined at the end of this page, and impartial (at arm's length) at all times to the local authority in order to ensure best practice for local children, young people and parents.

Confidential and impartial means:

  • The service works strategically, meaning with intention to influence and maintain current policy.
  • Case files are stored confidentially and are not shared with local authority officers or other agencies or professionals unless requested directly the child (from 16 years old), the young person, young adult, parent or carer.
  • The SENDIASS coordinators will always obtain consent from parents, carers or a young person from the aged of 16 if appropriate before consulting their child's local authority case file or any other papers relating to the child or young person with SEND, or discussing a child or young person with any professionals including school staff.
  • The SENDIASS telephone enquiry line's confidentiality is ensured by care of where calls take place, ensuring no other party overhears and records are on a separate database if appropriate.
  • The service is accountable to the SEND local offer review. Membership includes parent representatives. Our national body, the Information, Advice and Support Services Network is based at the Council for Disabled Children, which in turn sits with the National Children's Bureau and demands all SENDIASS are confidential and impartial as part of our core policies.
  • All staff are aware of confidentiality and impartiality as part of their unique role within this service role.
  • All staff remain impartial when delivering information, advice and support to children, young people, parents and carers and also to professionals, both within the local authority or otherwise.
  • If a request for information is received from local authority officers for legal reasons, such as judicial review, it will be considered by the senior SENDIASS coordinator (manager), who, with the young person / parents' / carer's permission, may direct that the relevant information be extracted from the file, and sent to the relevant officer, with a copy to the young person / parents with permission.

The only exception to this rule of confidentiality is where there is reason to believe that a person may be at risk of significant harm to themselves or to others. In these circumstances SENDIASS is obliged to pass on concerns to the appropriate authorities but if possible, notify the person being referred during this time. 

To be impartial the team will:

  • Listen and think before they speak or act so as not to express an opinion;
  • Avoid comments such as "that's illegal" or "they can't do that" as these types of phrases may cause parents and young people to become more anxious and SENDIASS expects to work within the boundaries of what the law states;
  • Offer support and factual information to customers referring to guidance and legislation where appropriate, e.g. "In the Code of Practice....";
  • Not take sides with parents / carers, young people, the local authority or any other stakeholders; this means being impartial;
  • Empower the young person, young adult and their parent / carer to speak for themselves and make informed decisions; and
  • Only act on information given to them by the parent / carer or young person unless they have been given direct consent to speak to other professionals.

If a point of legislation is in question, the team will seek advice from an independent body such as the Independent Panel for Special Educational Needs (IPSEA) or the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) remaining arm's length from the local authority legal department.

If you would like to discuss anything about this statement, please contact the SENDIASS North Yorkshire senior coordinator (manager) Melanie Leighton on 01609 532413 or email

Often once a difficult time or issue has been sorted out and work with the SENDIASS team has finished, it gives you a little more time to think about the event and how it was dealt with.


If you think someone from the team has done something especially well, made you feel with a little support that you managed something really well yourself, or there is something else that you would like to compliment the team about, then there are a number of ways of doing this.

Firstly, you could email the member of the team directly, or contact the SENDIASS manager Melanie Leighton via email at

Alternatively, you can write to:

Melanie Leighton
SENDIASS North Yorkshire Manager
Room SB1008
County Hall
Racecourse Lane

If you want to tell someone separately to SENDIASS, then you can contact our national professional body using the details below:

Information, Advice and Support Services Network
Council for Disabled Children
8 Wakley Street
Tel: 0207 843 6051


We would never intentionally want anyone to be dissatisfied with our service and would hope that if there is something you are unhappy about, that you first try talking or emailing the SENDIASS coordinator to see if this can be resolved swiftly.

If you still feel your point or issue has not been understood or accepted, please contact SENDIASS manager via email so we can try to reduce any undue stress or dissatisfaction. Alternatively, you can write to the manager at the details above.

If a complaint remains unresolved, you can contact the Information, Advice and Support Services Network using the details above.

Alternatively, you, a friend, family member or advocate can contact North Yorkshire County Council and raise a complaint as we are funded by this organisation. See the comments and complaints page for details of how to do this.

Using an advocate

We appreciate that often situations can be exhausting, so both for a compliment or a complaint you can ask an advocate, friend or family member to do this for you. All we will need is permission directly from you first, so we can discuss this openly with them.