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Independent Support Services - Special Educational Needs (SEN)

We hope that providing personalised, independent support will help improve the lives and outcomes for SEND children and young people.
Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan

Independent Supporters are an additional resource for each local authority in England. They will support parents and young people during changes in how disabled children and young people, and those with special educational needs (SEN), receive services.

Providers of Independent Support Services are selected by the Council for Disabled Children. Barnardo’s is lead partner in 29 Local Authorities, with the Together Trust delivering Independent Services in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, and Tameside, and PSS providing Independent Services in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton, Warrington and Wirral.

What does this Service provide?

Independent Supporters are independent from the Local Authority and are specially trained to provide a range of advice and support, usually lasting between 15 and 20 weeks, for each family.

The support involves helping families or young people during the process of developing a statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. The Independent Supporter will also offer support to parents and/or young people with statements of SEN and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) who are changing to the new Education, Health and Care assessment and planning process.

Independent Supporters will work directly with parents and carers, and with young people over the age of 16, and will link closely with agencies including schools and colleges, health and social care services and voluntary organisations.   

How do I request an Independent Supporter?

The Independent Support Service is available without any charge to eligible residents in the 29 local authorities.  

Parents, carers and young people aged 16 to 25 can contact the Independent Support Service in their local authority by email or telephone, using the details provided below.


Local AuthorityEmailTelephone Number
Barking and DagenhamISBarkingDagenham@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
BarnetISBarnet@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
Blackburn with DarwenIndependentSupporters@barnardos.org.uk01772 629470
BlackpoolIndependentSupporters@barnardos.org.uk01772 629470
BoltonIndependentSupporters@barnardos.org.uk01772 629470
Bradfordbradfordindependentsupport@barnardos.org.uk01274 481183
Buryisduty@togethertrust.org.uk0161 283 4848
HaltonISS@PSS.org.uk0151 702 5555
Hammersmith and FulhamISHammersmithFulham@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
HaringeyISHaringey@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
HarrowISHarrow@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
HaveringISHavering@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
Kensington and ChelseaISKesingtonChelsea@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
KnowsleyISS@PSS.org.uk0151 702 5555
LancashireIndependentSupporters@barnardos.org.uk01772 629 470
LiverpoolISS@PSS.org.uk0151 702 5555
Manchesterisduty@togethertrust.org.uk0161 283 4848
NewhamISNewham@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
Oldhamisduty@togethertrust.org.uk0161 283 4848
Rochdaleelaine.gansler@barnardos.org.uk01706 515717
Salfordisduty@togethertrust.org.uk0161 283 4848
SeftonISS@PSS.org.uk0151 702 5555
St HelensISS@PSS.org.uk0151 702 5555
Tameside isduty@togethertrust.org.uk0161 283 4848
Tower HamletsISTowerHamlets@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
Wakefieldwakefieldindependentsupport@barnardos.org.uk01924 304152
Waltham ForestISWalthamForest@barnardos.org.uk0808 800 0037
WarringtonISS@PSS.org.uk0151 702 5555
WirralISS@PSS.org.uk0151 702 5555