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Independent Support

Independent Support is a national government initiative launched in January 2014 and designed to help parents and young people navigate through the Education, Health and Care (EHC) planning process. 

An Independent Supporter provides time limited 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. 

An Independent Supporter can support you at any stage of the EHC planning process.  

What can an Independent Supporter do to help?

  • Explain the EHC Assessment and how an EHC plan is developed 
  • Explain who does what and when
  • Help you to recognise the difference between goals, aspirations and outcomes
  • Help you to navigate the Local Offer found on the local authority website
  • Ensure you have all the information you need to make a decision e.g. how to request a personal budget, how to choose a school or setting
  • Provide impartial information and support for you to be confident to express your views
  • Be a point of contact throughout the EHC Assessment

How does an Independent Supporter help?

  • They make sure you have all the information you need for the EHC Assessment
  • Help to produce your Family Journey and One Page Profile
  • Help you prepare for and support you at meetings during the planning process
  • Translate any jargon
  • Review the proposed EHC plan with you
  • Signpost to further advice and support such as your local Information, Advice and Support Service

Who to contact

Contact Name
Core Assets Children's Services Independent Support Team
0800 028 8455

Where to go


Independent Supporters work across Sheffield and can provide support within the home, community venues, by telephone and email.  The service is flexible to fit in with your needs and requirements

When is it on?

Time / Date Details
Monday to Friday 09:00 - 19:00 with weekend support available on request
Time of day
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Session Information
Telephone or email for initial contact

Inclusion Information

Supports special needs and disabilities
Able to accommodate other cultures/ethnicities

Other Details


Table of costs
Table of costs
AmountCost Type
none, this is a free service
Referral Details

Telephone 08000288455 or email  For further information please visit our website 

Age Range
0 years to 25 years

Local Offer


What does an Independent Supporter do?


Independent Supporters will provide parents and young people with time limited help to support the parent or young person during the EHC needs assessment and planning process.

 The role of the Independent Supporter is to:


  • Help the parent or young person understand the local EHC assessment process and local offer
  • Act as an independent and impartial contact person for the parent or young person throughout the EHC  assessment and planning process
  • Focus on the task of helping of helping  parents and young people to be fully involved in the transfer of a statement of SEN to an EHC plan (transfer reviews)
  • Work with parents of children of children who are new EHC requests and/or young people (and their parents) who are coming up to school leaving age
  • Liaise across a range of  local services with the parent or young person to help gather information required for an EHC plan
  • Provide information to parents and young people on personal budgets.
  • Signpost parents and young people to Sheffield SENDIAS when the issue is outside the remit of the Independent Supporter.

 Independent Support is available in a variety of ways:


  • Face-to-face support in their home as requested, from a person who is independent of the local authority and trained to provide this support.
  • A dedicated, independent telephone support service operated between 9am and 9pm on weekdays, and 9am to 5pm on weekends.
  • Access to a trained Independent Supporter, with the option of follow-up face-to-face support if needed.
  • A dedicated, independent website providing information, signposting and resource links as well as the option for support and information exchanges via emails.
  • A range of outreach information and support points across a range of community venues and services including information groups.

For further information please visit our website

Contact Telephone
0800 028 8455
Contact Email
Core Assets Children's Services Independent Support

General Extended Local Offer Response

Eligibility criteria for your service and any priority groups 

Available to all parents, carers, children and young people who are involved in an Education, Health  and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment and/or transfers from a Statement of SEN or LDA to an EHC



Do you operate a waiting list? 
Staffing arrangements 
Able to assist children/young people to access all activities and services
Staffing arrangements details 

Team of Independent supporters available to flexibly meet the needs of those requesting support.

Staff training to support children/young people with SEND 

All staff meet the Council for Disabled Children's requirements and have completed the specified training to become fully qualified independent supporters.

How do you communicate with your service users? 
Directly with parents/carers
Learning events
Communicating with service users details 

There is a dedicated website and helpline available, plus electronic contact form.

Initial contact, post request is made via telephone. Other methods such as letters and emails are used accordingly. Home visits and other meetings may also be necessary if requested by the famliy or young person accessing the support. This may further vary according to the indiviuals method of communication.

All communication is tailored to the needs of the individual.

A range of outreach, information and support points will be available accross a variety of community venues and services, including information events and group meetings.

Last Updated
Independent Support, Support, EHC Plan, Disability, SEN, SEND, Disabled
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