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Access pathway


If you have any queries please contact our Access Pathway Team on (01472) 323998 or email

You’ll have a response from us within 5 working days.

What an Access Pathway is

The Access Pathway is the route for children and young people (up to their 18th year), where support has already been accessed and tried, but further multi-disciplinary discussions may be required. This informs any extra intervention or specialist assessments needed, for example Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

This includes children and young people with needs across:

  • speech
  • language and communication
  • social interaction
  • learning difficulties
  • sensory difficulties
  • neurodevelopmental difficulties

You may also see social, emotional and mental health difficulties alongside these.

Referrals to the Access Pathway can be made from any health, education or social care professional. Referrals should be made jointly with you and your child and led by the professional who knows your child the best.

This will ensure that they are able to provide an accurate picture of your child and their needs, including detailed information on what support has been put in place for them since the concerns were first noticed. For example, if you and your child are involved with Early Help, it is likely that your Families First Practitioner will support you through the referral process.

If your child is accessing the School Nursing Service, the School Nurse may do this. Additionally, if your child is accessing education, it may be a professional within the nursery, school, or college who knows your child best.

If you are unsure who may be the best person to support you with this referral, please contact the Access Pathway Team on the details below and they will be able to provide additional guidance and advice.

The professional who completes your Access Pathway referral can access the Access Pathway Referral Form (Word, 315KB) .

If your child’s needs have already been discussed at panel and the recommendations have been implemented, however the concerns still remain you may request a review. In the first instance it may be helpful to discuss this with the author of your original referral.

If they are no longer involved with you and your child, any professional who knows your child well can request a review at Panel. You can also contact the Access Pathway Coordinator for advice or to request this review yourself.

The professional requesting the review can do so by completing the Access Pathway Review Form (Word, 25KB) .

  • Your referral screened. This happens within two weeks of us receiving it.
  • A letter confirming referral status sent out to you. This happens within three weeks of referral coming into the inbox. The new referral form asks for a preferred method of communication, such as email which may mean correspondence is quicker than via the post.
  • The approximate average waiting time from receiving the referral to panel is 18 weeks.
  • Letter confirming panel date is sent out to Parent/Carer. You will receive this within two weeks of your panel date.
  • Pre-panel consultation completed with parent/carer or young person one to two weeks prior to panel. This is either completed via an electronic questionnaire sent via email or via telephone consultation.
  • Contact made with parents by author or representative at panel with the recommendations following panel. AP coordinator if no author.
  • Letter of recommendations sent out to parent. This is done within two weeks after panel. Copies are also sent to services involved with children and young people and family.
  • Any onward referrals made within two weeks after panel.

As with any service, the length of time it takes us to move through the process is affected by demand and the number of referrals that we receive. If any parent or professional would like an update regarding the status of a referral please make contact with the team who will respond to you within five working days. Contact (01472) 323998 or email

We have been working with parent carers on an ongoing basis to improve the Access Pathway.

We updated the referral form and Access Pathway section on the NELC Local Offer to clearly articulate ‘What happens and when?’ and to signpost to local support services. Support services are also advertised on the Local Offer.

We appointed an Access Pathway Coordinator (ACP) to help navigate referrals, information, advice and guidance Access Pathway information is included as a banner on the Local Offer home page and all pages to make it easier to find.

There’s a lot more. Read about what we’ve done on the Access Pathway, You said, We did document.

Check the Access Pathway Access Pathway. You said, We did (Word, 22KB)

If you would like to work with us then please email

Further information

Please see below additional information that may be useful to your and your child.

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