As I Plan for My Future

Independent Supporters

Under new laws children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families will be able to have more say about the support they receive. This support will be written down in a Education, Health and Care Plan or an EHC plan for short. The EHC plan will replace Special Educational Needs statements and Learning Disability assessments and will focus much more closely on what they want to achieve and what support they need to achieve their goals. Right from the beginning their views and the views of their family will be at the centre of this plan.

Independent Supporters are here to help these families during the EHC assessment process, or when they’re moving over to their new EHC plan.

PSS are delivering the Independent Supporter service for the majority of the North West in partnership with Barnardos and Together Trust. We are responsible for all the Merseyside counties and have a strong team who are trained in the new reforms and ready to give advice that aims to benefit families who are affected.

Below we explain this role in more detail and help you to understand where it fits into the bigger picture.

What are Independent Supporters?

Independent Supporters are individuals with lots of skills and expertise in working with young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities and their families. They are locally recruited in their area of work and have all completed accredited training so that they have a full understanding of the role and the changes taking place.

Our team of Independent Supporters work directly with a range of local partners to assess need and to help children and their families to get the support they need, when they need it. Our team are independent of any other service so can represent family and children’s point of view to other professionals.

What is the difference between Independent Supporters and Information, Advice and Support service (Formally Parent Partnerships)?

Sometimes the information given to children, young people and their families can be confusing. Therefore impartial advice and information is really important. This might help you make some big decisions. The Information advice and Support service is a really important part of this. However the workload that has been created as a result of these changes is very big and Independent Supporters are acting as an additional support service to work alongside  IASS by adding capacity and complimenting the work they are doing.

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 Authority Email Telephone Number
Barking and Dagenham ISBarkingDagenham@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Barnet ISBarnet@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Blackburn with Darwen Independent.Supporters@barnardos.org.uk 01772 629470
Blackpool Independent.Supporters@barnardos.org.uk 01772 629470
Bolton isduty@togethertrust.org.uk 0161 283 4848
Bradford bradfordindependentsupport@barnardos.org.uk 01274 481183
Bury isduty@togethertrust.org.uk 0161 283 4848
Halton ISS@PSS.org.uk 0151 702 5555
Hammersmith and Fulham ISHammersmithFulham@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Haringey ISHaringey@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Harrow ISHarrow@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Havering ISHavering@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Kensington and Chelsea ISKesingtonChelsea@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Knowsley ISS@PSS.org.uk 0151 702 5555
Lancashire IndependentSupporters@barnardos.org.uk 01772 629 470
Liverpool ISS@PSS.org.uk 0151 702 5555
Manchester isduty@togethertrust.org.uk 0161 283 4848
Newham ISNewham@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Oldham isduty@togethertrust.org.uk 0161 283 4848
Rochdale elaine.gansler@barnardos.org.uk 01772 629470
Salford isduty@togethertrust.org.uk 0161 283 4848
Sefton ISS@PSS.org.uk 0151 702 5555
St Helens ISS@PSS.org.uk 0151 702 5555
Tameside isduty@togethertrust.org.uk 0161 283 4848
Tower Hamlets ISTowerHamlets@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Wakefield wakefieldindependentsupport@barnardos.org.uk 01924 304152
Waltham Forest ISWalthamForest@barnardos.org.uk 0208 555 1880
Warrington ISS@PSS.org.uk 0151 702 5555
Wirral ISS@PSS.org.uk 0151 702 5555