Agenda item - Home to School Transport: Findings of the Members Policy Panel

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Agenda item

Home to School Transport: Findings of the Members Policy Panel

Report of the Executive Director Families Children & Learning (copy attached)

 

 

 

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Committee -

 

(i)             Noted and accepted the findings of the Member Policy Panel,

given in appendix 1

 

(ii)            Noted the officer response, given in appendix 2

 

(iii)          Agreed that the findings and recommendations of the Members’ Policy Panel were incorporated into the existing co-produced Home to School Transport (HTST) action plan

 

(iv)          Agreed that a further report come to a meeting of the CYPS Committee in the Spring of 2021, which would include progress on the implementation of agreed recommendations from the November 2020 report of the HTST Member Policy Panel. Then further updates to come every six months until Spring 2022.

 

Minutes:

41.1    The Chair said that as Item 41 ‘Home to School Transport: Findings of the Members Policy Panel’ and Item 42 ‘Progress Report on the Home to School Transport Service’ were linked there would be one discussion on both reports, with the reports’ recommendations being taken separately.

 

41.2    The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director Families Children & Learning ‘Home to School Transport: Findings of the Members Policy Panel’ which set out the findings and recommendations from the Member Policy Panel and which was introduced by Councillor Allcock, Chair of the Member Policy Panel, and the report of the Executive Director Families Children & Learning ‘Progress Report on the Home to School Transport Service’ which provided an update and progress on the Home to School Transport (HTST) service and was introduced by the Assistant Director - Education & Skills.

 

41.3    Councillors Mears and Wares, as members of the Policy Panel, were invited to the meeting and the Chair asked if they wished to speak on the reports. Councillor Wares thanked everyone involved in the Policy Panel and for the report and was pleased that due to the issues raised the service was improving but noted that it still had some way to go.He noted that the report was silent on the judgement of Councillors and the inaction of the previous administration.  The former administration had refused proper questioning and scrutiny when the problems were first raised, had wanted the Member Policy Panel disbanded before it had finished its work, had not supported the request for the service to be placed on the Corporate Risk Register and the former Chair of the Audit & Standards Committee had initially only authorised a desk-top survey of the concerns raised and had later refused an independent audit as it would be frivolous. Without the proper review the LGA may not have raised concerns over children’s safeguarding and welfare and would not have criticised the Council for not understanding the risks that existed. Councillor Mears agreed with Councillor Wares’ comments and said that it had been difficult to get Councillors and officers to take the matter forward. Whilst the service was now improving it was important to ensure that the recommendations in the report were taken forward and that this situation were not allowed to happen again.

 

41.4    The Chair accepted that the Green Group had been slow to recognise that the issues raised needed further investigation, but that a lot had been learnt from the review and was pleased that it had been undertaken.  

 

41.5    Councillor Williams said that this matter showed how important it was that Councillors were fully informed when making decisions.

 

41.6    Councillor Brown thanked everyone for the very thorough review, said that it was important to rebuild trust with those affected by the HTST issue and for all departments to take the recommendations in the report forward.

 

41.7    Councillor Hills thanked Councillors Mears and Wares for pursuing the matter and said that it was important to vulnerable families that the correct service was provided and was pleased that 80% of parents now rated the service as Good. She noted that one principle from the review was supporting people with independent travel and asked how that was progressing. Officers said that they were currently speaking to two possible providers and a business case was being prepared as funding needed to be secured.

 

41.8    RESOLVED: That the Committee -

 

(i)             Noted and accepted the findings of the Member Policy Panel,

given in appendix 1

 

(ii)            Noted the officer response, given in appendix 2

 

(iii)          Agreed that the findings and recommendations of the Members’ Policy Panel were incorporated into the existing co-produced Home to School Transport (HTST) action plan

 

(iv)          Agreed that a further report come to a meeting of the CYPS Committee in the Spring of 2021, which would include progress on the implementation of agreed recommendations from the November 2020 report of the HTST Member Policy Panel. Then further updates to come every six months until Spring 2022.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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