What is the Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS)?
DARS provides an informal means of avoiding and resolving disagreements with schools or the Education Authority (EA) in relation to a child or young person who has or may have a special educational need.
Who can use the service?
Why use the service?
Disagreements sometimes arise between a parent/guardian, and either a school or EA, in relation to the special educational provision being made for a child or young person. If initial attempts to resolve such disagreements have not been successful, it may be appropriate to make a referral to the Service.
The purpose of the service is to provide, within an independent, confidential and informal forum, further opportunities through which disagreements may be more fully addressed.
How does the service work?
Participation is voluntary and, when points of disagreement have been clearly identified, the challenge is to plan a way forward that all parties are prepared to accept.
Whilst the service will facilitate the possible resolution of disagreements, they do not have the authority to impose outcomes.
Ultimately, agreement can only be reached with the approval of all of the interested parties.
The Education Authority (EA) has transferred provision of the Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS) to Global Mediation, an independent organisation.
This change in provision is in line with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, which requires EA to commission an independent DARS.
DARS works with schools and parents/guardians to avoid and resolve disagreements in relation to special education needs and provision, within an independent, confidential and informal forum.
The legislation also requires the introduction of a new Mediation Service for those who intend to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. This will be introduced at a later stage when the necessary regulations are approved.
Further information on DARS is available here
If you wish to access DARS please contact Global Mediation at:
55-59 Adelaide Street
T: (028) 9072 6060 E: DARS@globalmediation.co.uk W: www.globalmediation.co.uk/DARS.
If you have any queries regarding a current DARS case which pre-dates 1st September 2019, please contact 028 7186 3520 or 028 3831 4465.