Removal of School Transport Anomalies
- Meeting of Cabinet, Tuesday, 14th May, 2019 9.30 am (Item 6.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 6.
- View the background to item 6.
That the Cabinet notes the financial impact of providing the historical transport anomalies and continues to support the anomalies until July 2020.
Councillor Thomas introduced the Removal of School Transport Anomalies report which, given the significant financial challenges facing the Council, provided an option for withdrawing the historical transport anomalies in July 2019, instead of July 2020 as previously agreed, to achieve a budget saving.
A school transport route optimisation and re-procurement exercise had been completed in September 2017, with the exercise delivering maximum service benefit by ensuring the most efficient use of vehicles and the most cost effective routes and vehicle capacity for the required number of eligible passengers. As a consequence of the review, a number of historical non-statutory transport arrangements were identified that were over and above the current Home to School Transport Policy and presented opportunities for alternative service delivery and potential efficiency savings.
Reports were submitted to Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee in July and November 2018 where the option to support the continuation of anomalies until July 2020 was agreed and then supported by Cabinet on 20th November 2018. However, given the significant financial challenges facing the authority, consideration of withdrawing the historical transport anomalies from July 2019 was presented as an option.
Option 1 was to withdraw the anomalies in July 2020 which would have an impact on the school transport budget but would allow the Integrated Transport Unit to undertake a more extensive consultation period with pupils for them to consider alternative transport arrangements.
Option 2 was to withdraw the anomalies in July 2019 which would provide a financial saving to the authority but would have significant impact on those pupils utilising the services as they was currently no alternative public transport options along those routes.
Councillor Thomas recommended that option 1 be supported in line with the previous Cabinet decision which was supported.
The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) provided clarification that the cohort of children who had previously attended John Summers High School would continue to receive free school transport to Connah’s Quay High School until their time at the school had ceased. This was welcomed by Councillor Jones.
In response to a question, the Chief Executive explained that if the removal of school transport anomalies had been brought forward a year it would have had a positive impact on the budget of £229,000. It was understood and accepted that a further saving was not being taken as a values-based decision on the grounds of risk to learners and families.
Councillor Thomas said that the Council operated a parental choice policy and emphasised the need for parents to choose carefully. The Chief Officer (Education and Youth) explained that the school admissions form made the school transport policy clear and there was a requirement for a box to be ticked to say that had been understood. Colleges from Streetscene also attended secondary school open evenings to reiterate the details of the policy so that parents and carers were aware. If a school that was not the nearest school to the child was chosen, transport costs would be borne by parents and carers.
That Cabinet notes the financial impact of providing the historical transport anomalies and continue to support the anomalies until July 2020.
- Removal of School Transport Anomalies, item 6. PDF 83 KB
- Appendix 1 - Removal of School Transport Anomalies, item 6. PDF 123 KB
- Appendix 2 - Removal of School Transport Anomalies, item 6. PDF 123 KB
- Appendix 3 - Removal of School Transport Anomalies, item 6. PDF 58 KB