On 1 April 2023 the Local Government Reorganisation came into effect, and Cumbria County Council as well as the 6 district councils were replaced by two new unitary authorities. The new unitary authorities are Cumberland Council (formerly Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland areas) and Westmorland and Furness Council (formerly Eden, South Lakes, and Barrow areas).  

The new authorities are responsible for delivering SEND IAS Services to the public. Cumbria SEND IAS Service has ceased and 2 new services now operate in the Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Council areas.

More information about Local Government Reorganisation.

We would like to reassure all families and young people who we are currently supporting, or who may require SEND information, advice and support in the future, we are committed to ensuring service continuity and effective transition to the new arrangements.  We are clear that the services operating in the new council areas will continue to collaborate closely and share resources where it is in the interests of families in Cumbria to do so. 

What's staying the same?

SENDIAS Services        

Each council has established its own SEND IAS Services - the support we provide will remain the same while the services in the two new Council areas continue to be established.  

Westmorland and Furness SEND IAS Service        

Emma Stephenson continues to work in Kendal and East Cumbria, also covering the Eden area from 1 April.

Celia Jones will continue to work in the Barrow, Ulverston and Grange area of the South Lakes.

Sally Godfrey will continue to work in the Coniston and Ambleside area of the South Lakes.

Cumberland SEND IAS Service

Joanne Thomlinson will continue to work in Carlisle North, South and East , Longtown and Brampton area.

Bev Marrs will continue to work in Carlisle West and will be covering Copeland area from 1 April.

Susan Eastwood will continue to work in the Allerdale area.

Service Management 

Tracey O'Roarty will continue as the Manager for the Cumberland service -


What's staying the same for now? 

There will be some changes following an initial transition period from the 1st April. Families and young people will be updated when any changes come into effect. 

Service Facebook Page        

The Cumbria SEND IAS Service Facebook page will continue until new pages can be developed for the two services.  This will be communicated to families and young people through future communications and through various media outlets.

Service Website        

Families will be able to access the current information. A SEND IAS Service website for each council will be developed after the 1 April. New SEND IAS Service web addresses will be shared in future communications and through various media outlets.

Factsheets and Resources

The information resources we provide for families and young people will remain the same initially, each service will be updating and rebranding resources with the new council logos and individual branding for each SEND IAS Service.  This will be done in stages and current resources will remain available for families and young people until this task is completed.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board will continue to support both services with a plan for each service to set up their own board within 12 months from 1 April.

SENDAC (SEND Alliance Cumbria)        

There will be no changes to SENDAC initially. Any changes will be considered as part of the SEND Partnership review later in the year. 


What's changing?

From 1 April:

  • Cumbria SENDIASS will no longer be operating across the county
  • The new authorities are responsible for delivering SEND IAS Services to the public in their respective areas. 
  • Eden Area - change of Co-ordinator from Bev Marrs to Emma Stephenson.  
  • Copeland Area - change of Co-ordinator from Sally Godfrey to Bev Marrs. 

Service Management

Westmorland and Furness - Sally Godfrey

Service Flyers

Each service will produce an individual flyer with contact details for local Co-ordinators in the new council areas.


We are currently developing individual branding for each of the services.

Co-ordinator mobile numbers

Co-ordinators will keep their current mobile number.  Flyers and email signatures have been updated with new mobile numbers. 


Co-ordinators emails have changed.  Any emails sent using previous email addresses will be automatically directed to the correct Co-ordinator until later on this year.  Flyers and email signatures have been updated with new email addresses.  Please check contact details for your local Co-ordinators email address:

Westmorland and Furness Kendal, East Cumbria and Eden area:   Emma Stephenson 07769 935446

Westmorland and Furness Barrow, Ulverston and Grange area:   Celia Jones 01229 407439

Westmorland and Furness Coniston and Ambleside:   Sally Godfrey 07795 110940

Cumberland Carlisle North/South/East, Brampton/Longtown area:   Joanne Thomlinson 07825 584865

Cumberland Copeland and Carlisle West:   Bev Marrs 07788 360336

Cumberland Allerdale:   Susan Eastwood 07824 408922

Cumbria SEND Information, Advice and Support Service
Offering impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs and or disabilities and their parents and carers.
We hope this site provides you with information you will find useful.
Cumbria SEND IAS Service (which was formerly known as the Parent Partnership Service) offers impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs and or disabilities and their parents and carers. This support now includes signposting to health and social care advisory services.
Cumbria SEND IAS Service staff will make sure that parents/carers of all children (0-25 years old) with additional needs have access to information, advice and support. Confidential and impartial support is offered to parents/carers so they can make informed decisions about their child's education.
Generally we can offer information, advice and support around education issues, although we can signpost parents on, with their permission, to other agencies who can help with different problems such as benefit claims.
Your child may have learning difficulties caused by:
  • a physical disability
  • a problem with sight, hearing or speech
  • difficulties with reading, writing, speaking or mathematics work
  • emotional or behavioural problems
  • a learning difficulty.
These are just examples; your child may have more general difficulties with school work. If you would prefer to watch a video on what is an information, advice and support service is, please watch the video below:
Information, Advice and Support

Information Advice and Support Services (IASS) provide free impartial, confidential and accurate information, advice and support about education, health and social care for children, young people and their parents on matters relating to special educational needs and disability. The provision of information, advice and support should help to promote independence and self-advocacy for children, young people and parents. Chapter 2 of the SEND Code of Practice sets out the role and activities of an IASS.

IAS Services use this definition of Advocacy:

Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes and help you understand and exercise your rights. IASS do not fulfil the role of statutory advocates. nor do they provide legal advocacy as provided by a lawyer. 

An advocate can: 

  • listen to your views and concerns 
  • help you explore your options and rights (without pressuring you) 
  • provide information to help you make informed decisions 
  • help you contact relevant people, or contact them on your behalf 
  • accompany you and support you in meetings or appointments.

An advocate will not: 

  • give you their personal opinion 
  • solve problems and make decisions for you 
  • make judgements about you.

The support of an advocate is often particularly useful in meetings when you might not feel confident in expressing yourself. They can: 

  • support you to ask all the questions you want to ask 
  • make sure all the points you want covered are included in the meeting 
  • explain your options to you without giving their opinion 
  • help keep you safe during the meeting - for example, if you find the meeting upsetting, your advocate can ask for a break until you feel able to continue. - more info here:

Legal rights to advocacy

Cumberland SEND Local Offer  and Westmorland and Furness Local Offer are the central information point for families, children and young people aged up to 25 years with SEND.

  • Young people (aged 25 or under) who are disabled or need extra help with learning
  • Children who are disabled or need extra help with learning
  • Parents or carers of those children and young people

North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, Lancashire and Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICOs) and other health bodies are required to co-operate with the local authority in jointly commissioning services, ensuring there is sufficient capacity contracted to deliver necessary services, drawing the attention of the local authority to groups and individual children and young people with SEN or disabilities, supporting diagnosis and assessment, and delivering interventions and review. ICOs have a specific duty to arrange the health provision specified in a child or young person's Education, Health and Care Plan.

Health services for children and young people with SEN or disabilities include those provided by paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, rehabilitation trainers and physiotherapists. 

The Role of the Designated Medical / Clinical Officer - The Code of Practice at paragraph states that a Designated Medical Officer (DMO) should be appointed to support the ICO in meeting its statutory responsibilities for children and young people with SEN and disabilities.

The role of the DMO is to:

  • Act as a point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges when notifying parents and local authorities about children and young people they believe have, or may have, SEN or a disability, and when seeking advice on SEN or disabilities.
  • Act as point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges seeking health advice; support schools with their duties under Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions guidance.
  • Ensure that assessments, planning and health support is carried out within ICOs. The DMO would not routinely carry out the assessments themselves but ensure they are done.

More information and contact details for the Designated Clinical Officer for Cumbria can be found on the Local Offer.

Social care assessments and service provision - Local authorities have a duty under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 to safeguard and promote the welfare of 'children in need' in their area, including disabled children, by providing appropriate services to them. These services might include short breaks for parent carers, equipment or adaptations to the home.

Where there is an EHC needs assessment, it should be a holistic assessment of the child or young person's education, health and social care needs. EHC needs assessments should be combined with social care assessments.

Social care assessments and how to make a referral.