Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council have a statutory duty to fund impartial, confidential, and accessible information, advice and support to the parents of children with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND); as well as to young people (age 16+) with special educational needs and/or disability. This includes advice on education, social care and health related topics. This service is called the SENDIAS Service. The service works with families and young people to help them understand SEND, what their rights are and who can offer them support. The three neighbouring local authorities currently commission their SENDIAS Services separately from one another.

The SENDIAS Service providers in Bristol are guided by a commissioning strategy when delivering the service. The draft commissioning strategy for the new contract is the subject of this consultation. The council is not seeking to make any significant changes to the current services. However, we have updated our commissioning strategy to propose that the three neighbouring councils work in partnership to contract a single SENDIAS Service that would be delivered across the area. This should provide a streamlined service across the region. You will be invited to comment on this proposal using the free text box at the bottom of the survey.

In addition to consulting on this proposal, we would like young people and their families to tell us how they find out about services, how they want to contact them and how they best access information. We will use this feedback to help define the communication methods that we require providers to use as part of delivering the SENDIAS Service.

You can request alternative formats of this consultation by emailing

This consultation will close on Monday 8 August. 

Consultation events

We will be holding two consultation events, which are opportunities to find out more about the draft commissioning strategy and ask any question:

1. The SENDIAS Service must make sure children, young people, parents, carers and professionals know about the service. There are lots of different ways that a service can be publicised.

Please rank the following methods of publicising the SENDIAS Service from 1 = most effective to 5 = least effective


2. The SENDIAS Service currently operates a phone line, e-contact form and email service. Of the following, please rank which method you would use to contact a SENDIASS Service from 1=most useful to 6=least useful:


3. The SENDIAS Service works in partnership with schools. Would you be more likely or less likely to contact the SENDIAS Service if your/your child’s school put you in touch with the service?


4. There are many ways the SENDIAS Service can explain information. Please rank the following formats from 1=most useful to 4=least useful.


5. If you have any comments or questions on the draft commissioning strategy please write them in this free text box: