About Cumbria SENDIASS

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:


Cumbria's SEND Local Offer is 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

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) 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. CCGs 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 CCG 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 CCGs. 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.

More information on social care assessments and how to make a referral can be found on the Local Offer.