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I'm a Professional

I'm a Professional

If you're a professional working with children and young people with special education needs or disabilities, we can assist you with information and support.

Waltham Forest SENDIASS provide support to parents, carers, children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The service is available for parents and carers of children and young people aged 0 to 25 who have, or may have, special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities who live in the Waltham Forest area. We can also provide information, advice and support to young people directly. We also provide support for professionals by offering general information and advice to professionals on matters relating to SEND.


As part of the Children and Families Act 2014 it is a legal requirement that all local authorities ensure children and young people with SEND, and their parents have access to an impartial Information, Advice and Support (IAS) service.

Waltham Forest Councils duties are delivered by Waltham Forest SEND IASS. We promote working together, participation and decision-making through communication of information, advice and support. Our staff are trained to deliver the statutory information advice and support service local authorities must offer. This is in line with the expectation of the principles for SENDIASS set out within the SEND Code of Practice guidance (sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.8).


We provide an all-year-round accessible and flexible service. Our service offer includes:

  • A direct telephone access providing confidential impartial advice, available five days a week

  • Face to face contact, including video conference calling.

  • Service email inbox which is monitored and responded to daily.

  • Stand-alone website which offers information and guidance as well as a dedicated enquiries form.

  • Monitored voicemail inbox system

  • Online appointment booking service

  • Parent information and training sessions

The Council for Disabled Children have produced a video which explains SENDIASS in more detail:



Our advisors are unable to discuss specific cases with you without consent from the parent/carer or young person. Young people, children and parents/carers are encouraged to refer themselves to this service. They can also give consent to professionals that they are already working with to contact the service on their behalf but a referral and consent form would need to be required to access IASS.

At times we will contact you, the referrer, for additional information (where appropriate permissions have been given) and appropriate signposting.

Please check our page here on guidance on how complete our referral form. Alternatively if you would like to speak to someone from the team, then refer to our contact us page.


Professionals working together should aim to empower service users and provide information, advice and support for them to be able to engage, participate and make decisions. Service users should also be enabled to express themselves and their CYP’s views, wishes and feelings in a clear way, with confidence.

Professionals can:

  • Use SENDIASS to learn about our function as a SENDIASS, and the information, advice and support service that we offer.
  • Work with SENDIASS by supporting their own service users to access the SENDIASS website, where they can find resources and our contact form.
  • Help service users who need additional support to fill out the contact form on our website.
  • Support service users to complete  our referral form
  • Help SENDIASS provide effective information, advice and support to service users by being clear about any additional support needs individuals may have. This will mean that we are able to make adjustments in how we make information available. For example, parents and carers, foster parents or others may need shorter meetings or simplified information.
  • Work in partnership with SENDIASS to support children and young people with special educational needs, and their families, in enabling children and young people with SEND to reach good outcomes in education and training.
  • Work on collaborative projects in partnership with SENDIASS to provide service users with education and training on SEND matters and local policies relating to education, health and care


There can be constant changes across the education, health and social care sectors. We can help you to keep up to date with some of these changes, develop skills and improve your knowledge of local services through our resources and training sections enabling you to be better equipped to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families.

Professionals are able to use the information advice and support on offer to build on their own knowledge and understanding. They can also enable children and young people, as well as parents and carers to access SENDIASS.

We understand the needs that professionals have to address when working to help individuals and families with SEND requirements. It can be challenging knowing how to provide the best possible support to the children and families that you work with.

Dealing with SEND requirements can also feel overwhelming for those who you're trying to help. Professionals should work together to empower parents and young people with SEND, providing them with information, advice and support. Parents should be enabled to engage, participate and make decisions, allowing them to express their views and those of their child or young person, clearly and with confidence.

We can help you to access the tools and information you need to help empower parents and young people with SEND to reach the outcomes they desire in education and training.

We can support you as a professional by providing information on SEND law and local services. We can also provide access to resources which you may find useful in your role.

We can help you by:

  • listening to and answering your SEND queries
  • helping you to understand SEND law and the rights of the families you work with
  • providing information about SEN support
  • helping with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
  • providing information about the Local Offer
  • accepting referrals from professionals (with consent)

What We Cover

Our service covers all aspects of special educational needs and disabilities, from promoting inclusion to social care and health concerns, appeals, complaints and exclusions where SEND may be identified. Examples of the range of information we cover are:

  • Statutory work, which may lead to an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and beyond
  • Concerns from the earliest stages of getting help
  • SEN Support from early years to post-19
  • Ways of accessing services to support education
  • Signposting to other services
  • Disagreement resolution
  • Exclusions where SEND maybe identified
  • Understanding local policies and procedures
  • Support and advice around mediation, appeals and Tribunals

You can find out more about wat we do and our service remit here.


  • Offer information, advice or support on issues that are not linked to SEND, for example, financial matters like benefits, Disability Living Allowance, carers’ allowance.
  • Offer a counselling service – enquiries must be based around a question related to SEND, with a clear starting point.
  • Deliver emergency support or interventions for service users – this is for the three local authorities to have in place.
  • Offer to automatically complete paperwork on behalf of service users - we use our discretion based on the individual needs of the service user on a case-by-case basis. Complete forms or support service users to complete forms that address issues not related to SEND.
  • Allocate a named ‘support worker’ within the IAS Team.
  • Automatically check EHCPs for service users unless there is an access need on the part of the service user or it is necessary as part of a process that we are supporting with.
  • Spend a disproportionate amount of time re-addressing an enquiry that has already been addressed by another member of the IAS team.
  • Act as an intermediary between the service user and other professionals unless we are supporting a service user with their own access arrangements (disabilities, learning difficulties, health needs).


The Council for Disabled Children have produced useful factsheets to provide additional information to IAS Services, practitioners, parents and young people that meet the essence of the Children and Families Act (CFA) 2014. 


How can I refer a child, young person or parent to an IAS Service?

IAS Services are self referral services – although other professionals can play a role in supporting children, young people or parents to do this. You can find all the contact details of local services here.  


Are IAS Services part of the local authority?

As statutory services (ones that have to be provided by law) IAS Services are all funded by their local authority. However they are all also expected to be at 'arms length' of the local authority and they should all provide impartial information, advice and support to children, young people and parents.

Some IAS Services (about 30%) are based outside of the LA, mostly with local charities or organisations. Some are based in the LA, but in their own buildings, while others may share offices with other LA services such as schools, children's centres or support services. Having the same address as the local authority does not mean that they will not be able to provide an impartial service. However, if you have concerns about your IAS Service the best thing to do is to phone them and ask how they make sure that their service is impartial. 

Guidelines on good practice in the provision of impartial IAS Services can be found here:

Quality Standards for Services Providing Impartial Information, Advice and Support

All IAS Services have access to high quality, independent legal training accredited by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.


What does the IASS Network do?

The Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASS Network) provides training and support to local Information Advice and Support (IAS) Services across England. The IASS Network was previously known as the National Parent Partnership Network (NPPN), who undertook a similar role with local Parent Partnership Services. The IASS Network is funded to provide this support by the Department for Education (DfE). As a network to service providers we do not provide any direct support and advice to children, young people or parents. You can find out more about our work by clicking here.


I work with children with SEND and would like to link in with my local IAS Service, how can I do this?

IAS Services are expected to have good local knowledge of services relevant to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents. They are also expected to signpost onto local services when appropriate. If you would like to discuss working in partnership with your local service please contact them directly.


Are IAS Services the same as Parent Partnerships Services (PPS)?

Not exactly. IAS Services have taken over from Parent Partnership as the main provider of IAS to parents in a local authority. However, unlike PPS, IAS Services also provide IAS directly to children and young people, and are expected to cover social care and health information, as well as education.


What is the difference between IAS Services and Independent Supporters?

IAS Services are statutory services who are expected to provide information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents. They are expected to provide IAS on subjects including local policy and practice, the Local Offer, personalisation, Personal Budgets, the law on SEN and disability, health and social care. For more information see What do IAS Services Do?, the IASS Network Quality Standards and Chapter 2 of the SEND Code of Practice.

Independent Support is a national government initiative launched in January 2014 designed to help parents and young people navigate through the Education, Health and Care (EHC) planning process. The programme will provide Independent Supporters in each local area as an additional resource for a time limited period to work directly with young people and the parents of children being assessed for an EHC plan. You can find more information about Independent Support here.


Do IAS Services provide training?

IAS Services can provide training to local professionals on matters related to SEND. Please contact your local service to discuss training needs/requests further.