Council set to consult on travel support for children, young people and adults
The Council is set to consult on updating its policies on the support and help it provides to children and young people to get to school and colleges and the support it provides for adults to travel to social care services or further education and training.
The Council’s ambition for vulnerable adults, children and young people is to provide ‘the right support at the right time to support independence’.
The proposed review of these travel assistance policies, which will be considered by the Cabinet on 12 September, would focus on:
• Explaining how decisions around eligibility for travel assistance are made and ensuring that the council’s policy is clear, consistent, fair and transparent
• Explaining the Council’s statutory duties and what parents, carers and adults can expect from the service, and for those not eligible for these services signposting alternatives so that we offer ‘something for everyone’;
• Solving problems and promoting social responsibility by offering a range of travel assistance options
• Being clear about the appeals process and which services the council may charge for
• Encouraging independence, for example by expanding travel training
• Offering any available spare seats on school buses to those who are not eligible for travel assistance but who want to pay for a seat
Proposals have been designed to provide greater choice, independence and control for all.
If supported by cabinet, there will be a two stage full and thorough consultation. The home to school consultation will seek views around changes including:
• children who go to an out of catchment school based on religion or belief and currently receive travel assistance - in future this would be provided only to low income families who meet eligibility criteria
• Children who under 5 would no longer eligible for funded travel assistance
• Clarifying how eligibility for travel assistance for adults will be assessed
The Department for Education have also launched a consultation around their new home to school guidance. The council will incorporate any resulting statutory guidance thier policy when it is realised.
Cllr Shirley Reynolds, cabinet lead for Children and Young People, said: “The overriding aim of the proposals we want to consult on is to create a policy that is clear, consistent, fair and transparent for everyone who needs this support.
“If cabinet support this proposal we will go ahead with our consultation and we encourage everyone to give us their views, particularly those directly affected by any planned changes. ”
Cllr Andy Burford, cabinet lead for Health and Social Care, added: “The Local Government Ombudsman has issued best practice for councils on what travel assistance councils should provide and this is now built into the proposed new and updated policy that we want to consult on.”
If approved, the planned consultation for Home to School would start on 26 September with consultation for Adutls and Post 16 starting on 4 November.