What is SENDIAS?

What is the SENDIAS service?

SENDIAS stands for ‘SEND* Information, Advice and Support Service’.

(*‘SEND’ stands for Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities)

At West Sussex SENDIAS, we provide impartial information, advice and support to children and young people who have SEND (special educational needs and/ or disabilities) for those aged 0-25and their parent carers. Every SENDIAS follows the national minimum standards for this type of service.

What does the law say about ‘Young People’?

According to The Children and Families Act 2014:

  • A young person is someone aged between 16 and 25.
  • You become a young person on the last Friday in June after you turn 16
  • You stop being a young person when you turn 25, however our service can support you until your 26th birthday

As a young person under the Children and Families Act 2014, you have more say about your education and your parents get less say. However, your parents or other family members can continue to support you in making decisions, or act on your behalf if you want them to.


How can you help me?

You can come to us if:

  • you are unsure of what you want to do when you leave school.
  • you are worried about whether you have the right support at school, college or training.
  • you need advice and support to think through your options.
  • you need information on Education, Care and support, and Health services.
  • you need help to look for information on the Local Offer.
  • you have another question related to your support needs.

Who is my local Young Person Advisor?

Linda Fairbairn and Jacqueline Paterson are the SENDIAS Young Person Advisors for West Sussex. When you contact our Young Person Advisors (see ‘How Can I Contact My Local Young Person Advisor’ below) either Jacqueline or Linda will reply to you, depending on where you live in West Sussex.

You can read more about Linda and Jacqueline below:


How can I contact my local Young Person Adviser?

How to contact our Children and Young People (CYP) Advisers

Contact icons

Telephone: 0330 222 8555

Email: cyp.sendias@westsussex.gov.uk

Or fill in our online contact form

Or you could ask your parent/carer or someone at your school or college to contact us on your behalf.

What can I expect from your service?

The Council for Disabled Children have produced 2 videos (below) to help explain how a SENDIAS should be run, what the minimum standards are for a SENDIAS, and what a SENDIAS must do for children and young people with SEND and their families.

4. Below you can find out more about our Young Person Advisors. their experience and how they work with young people

Linda Fairbairn


What do we mean by being ‘Impartial, Confidential and Arms-length’?

What do we mean by ‘Impartial’?

This means that the information, advice and support that we offer is firmly based in the law and the SEND Code of Practice. We also provide unbiased information and advice about the Local Authority’s policies and procedures and about the policy and practice in local schools and other settings. You can read out Impartiality Policy here.

What do we mean by ‘Confidential’?

This means we will not share your information with anyone outside of the Information, Advice and Support Service unless it is fair and lawful to do so (e.g a specific concern about a child’s safety.) If we feel it would be helpful to talk to another professional on your behalf, we will always seek your permission and check what you are happy for us to share.

What do we mean by ‘Arms-length’?

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 (ch 2:2.8) states: “The information, advice and support should be impartial and provided at arm’s length from the Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Groups.“ This means the information and advice we offer is firmly based in the law and national guidance. We also provide unbiased information about the Local Authority’s policies and procedures and the policy and practice in local schools and other settings.

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