Participation, Information and Advice (PIA)

Keeping parent carers, children and young people informed and at the heart of shaping disabled children’s services.

Contact leads on a three-year Participation, Information and Advice (PIA) contract with the Department for Education (DfE). We work with partners the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and KIDS.

Together, we make sure parent carers, children and young people are involved in the delivery of special educational needs and disability (SEND) services and provision in England and have access to high quality information, advice and support.

The PIA contract started in April 2022.

In this article

What do we do together?

All four organisations work together to:

What is each consortium member responsible for?


Parent participation and co-production

Contact’s parent carer participation team supports the development of 152 parent carer forums in England. We make sure their voices are heard at a local, regional and national level.

With our consortium partners, we champion co-production between parent carers, children and young people and service providers and decision-makers to effect change, improve services and instil an inclusive culture.

We administer each parent carer forum’s annual £17,500 grant from the Department for Education (DfE). Our team offers forums operational support, guidance and access to training that improves the confidence, resilience, and knowledge of forum members. We also organise an annual conference for forum members with the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF).

National information, advice and support

We provide a national information and advice service for families with disabled children  – whatever their disability or medical condition. We run a helpline, create high-quality online information and provide support through our social media channels.

National Network of Parent Carer Forums

Strategic participation of parent carers

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) is the independent national voice of parent carer forums. A membership-led organisation, it has more than 100,000 members throughout the 152 parent carer forums across England.

They converse with parent carers on a daily basis, through face-to-face, online, surveys and consultations. Forums bring their lived experience into everything they do, feeding that up from local level, to regional level and onto national level.

Council for Disabled Children and KIDS

Local SEND information and advice services

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) supports local SEND Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS) across England.

SENDIASS provide high-quality, legally-based information, advice and support to children, young people and their parents. In addition, the Information, Advice and Support Network (IASSN) provides ongoing training, guidance, and resources to all SENDIASS and their commissioning local authorities andClinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)/lntegrated Care Systems (ICSs) (the NHS bodies responsible for planning and commissioning local area health care services) across England.

Children and young people’s participation

CDC and KIDS work in partnership to support the local, regional and national participation of children and young people.

CDC and KIDS work with FLARE – a group of young people with SEND from across England – and local Young People’s Engagement Groups (YPEG). Together they upskill service providers and other organisations and help them understand how children and young people with SEND can inform and improve the support and services they need.