Agenda item - Progress with Home to School Transport

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Agenda item

Progress with Home to School Transport

Report of the Executive Director for Families, Children & Learning.

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the efforts of families and their stakeholder organisations in working with the home to school transport team to address issues arising from the new arrangements be recognised by the Committee.

2.    That the Invitation to Quote document for the establishment of an independent review as detailed in Appendix 1 be noted by the Committee.

3.    That the appointment of a Member Policy Panel and approval of the Terms of Reference for the Policy Panel detailed in Appendix 2 be agreed by Committee.

Minutes:

37.13      The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director for Families, Children & Learning, which provided a update on the Progress on Home to School Transport. The report was introduced by the Head of School Organisation and Assistant Director – Health SEN & Disabilities.

 

37.14      The Head of School Organisation and Assistant Director – Health SEN & Disabilities expressed their apologies and acknowledged that this protracted event had negative consequences. It was stated that efforts were already underway to resolve this issue and rebuild trust. Pace and efficiency were areas that would be looked at and scrutiny of procurements systems and service was key. Terms of reference had been made to inform the independent review as well as a plan of action to address issues that had been identified.

 

37.15      The Chair gave the following statement:

 

“I am a relatively new Chair of this committee. And, as I have already said, I will leave no stone unturned in resolving the issues, so this vital service succeeds for the families who need it.

 

I am grateful to all who have helped address this important matter. The level of engagement from all involved shows how we much we need to work together to make sure those who need the service most are the focus of all we do.

 

We all need this process to be honest, have clarity and be delivered in the spirit of co-operation.  

 

The problems should not have happened, we all know that, and no one wants this to happen again. I want to repeat my unreserved apology today. I also want to reassure you and all parents and carers that we will not rest until this situation is completely resolved.

 

At this point, we need to make sure we are putting our energy into making the service a success for the good of all. I will continue to apologise but will not let apologies or politics stand in the way of making things right.

 

I understand that up to 30 of some 450 children we transport were affected by the recommissioning of this service. This is 30 too many families.

 

We’ve already made some tangible changes, including ensuring that the officer team are responding promptly and effectively. We’re also setting up the independent review process.

 

I want to ensure that valuable lessons are learned. I will continue to work closely with PaCC to rebuild trust and confidence.

 

I know that the council now has a much more detailed understanding of home to school transport arrangements than ever before. This was a key aim of the changes introduced and it saddens me deeply we have gained this vital knowledge in a way that was so disruptive. This has been a hard lesson learned for everyone. 

 

The report of the independent review and the contribution of the cross-party policy panel will inform the changes needed. This work has already begun.”

 

37.16      Councillor Clare expressed concern regarding costs in future and requested that this be considered.

 

37.17      The Chair stated that a list of suggestions would be made to inform the policy panel for consideration.

 

37.18      Councillor Hills referred to the Equalities Impact Assessment and noted that these had been reviewed recently.

 

37.19      The Head of School Organisation noted that the existing Equalities Impact Assessment was in place however that this was being reviewed and that this had been added to take account of the terms of delivery of service.

 

37.20      Councillor Nield stated that there was a short time between the draft and submission of draft report in January and enquired how schools would be given enough time to get involved.

 

37.21      The Assistant Director – Health SEN & Disabilities stated that BHCC were keen to provide answers for stakeholders and the community. It was noted that this was doable and that discussions had taken place with the LGA. It was stated that someone would be in charge of co-ordinating the timetable and also that there had been discussions with PaCC and AMAZE to consult parents for their views.

 

37.22      Councillor Simson referred to the financial implications and stated that it was possible that the monies set aside may not be enough.

 

37.23      The Head of School Organisation stated that this had been viewed by colleagues in financial services however that it would be hard to determine the full scope of costs. It was further stated that BHCC were waiting to hear proposals from advisors following the review.

 

37.24      The Interim Executive Director – Housing, Neighbourhoods & Communities confirmed that this budget would not come from the Home to School Transport budget and that it would be taken from the directorate budget. He further acknowledged that it would be hard to quantify officer time.

 

37.25      Councillor Brown enquired if the issue of taxi drivers not taking children to school had been fully resolved and enquired if there were possible insurance implications.

 

37.26      The Head of School Organisation stated that this had been resolved for the period until the end of this Autumn term. It was noted that there were commitments to meet with regard to Downs View School. It was stated that 1 specific operator was the main issue. It was clarified that staff had been reached and efforts would be made to work toward full resolution before winter.

 

37.27      RESOLVED:

 

(1)      That the efforts of families and their stakeholder organisations in working with the Home to School Transport Team to address issues arising from the new arrangements be recognised;

 

(2)      That the Invitation to Quote document for the establishment of an Independent Review as detailed in Appendix 1 be noted; and

 

(3)      That the appointment of a Member Policy Panel and approval of the Terms of Reference for the Policy Panel as detailed in Appendix 2 be agreed.

Supporting documents:

 


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