Transport – TSS & CEC response
In September 2018 Cheshire East & Transport Service Solutions invited parent carers to a meeting to discuss the issues experienced with agreeing and communicating home to school / college transport arrangements for children and young people with SEND around the beginning of the academic year.
Following this meeting, they have asked us to share this response:
TSS & CEC PCF Meeting Response Sept 18 (Full transcript at the bottom of this page)
They also attended our November steering group meeting, and agreed to invite a parent representative to work with TSS & CEC to agree processes and to get clear information on the Live Well website that will state clearly:
- timescales & process – how / when to apply, what will happen by when
- who parents should contact with questions or concerns about the transport arrangements that have been proposed
- one-page profiles: how parents and young people can flag their individual needs
- what should be done if there is a change – how TSS will keep parents informed, as well as who parents need to notify of any changes and who to do that
PARENT & CARER FORUM MEETING 21/9/18: HOME TO SCHOOL TRANSPORT
This document details the main issues raised by PCF during the meeting with CEC & TSS representatives together with the responses and resulting actions.
Awareness of policy changes
The timing of reminder mailshots and texts was explained together with the detailed presentation given to PCF on 12 June. The main impact would have only been for post-16 pupils because of the transition arrangements agreed for existing pre-16 students in receipt of transport.
Is there a breach of regulations when the parental contribution means that parents are paying more that if they had opted to use college bus services when available?
This had previously been reported at a PCF meeting and the transport officer is investigating how this can be rectified if it is an issue
Poor communications between CEC/SEND and TSS
The new process was explained but it was apparent that some improvement in information exchange was needed. This would be reviewed along with other processes introduced this year and any changes implemented as soon as possible so as not to impact on transport provision next year.
Poor communications between TSS/ CEC and parents including lack of information about operators and PAs
It was accepted that this needed to be improved with the ideal situation being transport arrangements being notified to parents by the end of July. Work will be undertaken to ensure adequate time is allowed for route planning to allow this to take place.
Phone calls not returned
This was accepted and had partly resulted from the increased volume of calls being received. In the case of TSS this was dealt with by introducing a call triage arrangements had been put in place by TSS when they became aware that this was an issue.
CEC and TSS will look to revise the TAAP process for post 16 applications including scheduling meeting dates in advance.
Last minute changes of operators and/or drivers
These are partly caused by last minute refusal of tenders by operators and delays in processing of request actions taken in. Pulling the whole process forward should alleviate some of these issues.
Journey times too long
Journeys are planned to be within the published guidance times where this is possible given the distance being travelled. In some cases generous journey times have been quoted initially to ensure punctual arrivals. These are usually reviewed within a few days once traffic conditions are assessed.
Stress caused to parents
This was agreed as totally unacceptable and an apology given
Planning needs to be done earlier (esp. Yr11)
This was agreed and CEC and TSS will be reviewing the timescales shortly with a revised plan for 2019/20 school year planning.
Why have some post-16 students been charged and some not when the circumstances are identical?This should not have happened and all cases will be cross-checked to ensure that the policy was applied correctly
Potential for using online reviews (both good & bad) as part of the tender judgement?
Negative and often anonymous reviews would not form a reliable basis for tendering judgements. However it was agreed that comments from parents could be logged and used to inform future tendering rounds
Why do contracts with the same operator not continue year on year thus giving stability
Where possible, contracts are awarded for the duration of an individual’s attendance at a particular school. However changes do sometimes need to be made when other pupils move or new children from similar areas come on stream and shared transport arrangements have to be reassessed. In some cases operators no longer wish to operate a contract so give notice to terminate and a new provider is needed.
How is medical training for PAs checked?
Our specialised transport officer is made aware when we are awarding a new contract for a child who needs a trained PA, if the PA has not already received training via us through a hospital we will contact the nurse for available dates. We keep a list of PA’s who have received the training. If a PA claims to have received the training but we don’t hold a record of this then we can check with our contact at the hospital to see if they have done the training.
Parents don’t know the best point of contact for a range of travel issues
It was agreed that this does need to be clarified. We will explore the possibility of producing a quick reference guide to be sent to each parent giving the correct contact points for different circumstances.
Concern about reporting safeguarding issues (e.g. driver slapping pupil)
This was accepted as a potentially serious issue. We will explore the possibility of establishing an online reporting system to ensure that full details are accurately recorded and acted upon quickly.