Agenda item

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  simon.james@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Minutes:

The Committee had received a report to the 8 October 2020 meeting which provided a summary of a recent Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman report, published on 24 July 2020, that had found the Council to be at fault for the way in which it had provided home to school transport for 2 children with Special Needs and Disabilities.

 

Members were informed that the Council had accepted all the findings of the Ombudsman report and had taken steps to complete the recommended actions.  A summary of the actions and action taken by the Council was contained in the Committee report and in the Minutes of that meeting.  The Committee had noted the Ombudsman’s report and had requested that a further progress report be made to the December 2020 meeting.

 

The Committee received a further report detailing information in implementing the recommendations required by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s report of 24 July 2020.  Members’ attention was also drawn to a supplementary agenda that had been published on 4 December, which included a copy of a letter the Council had received from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has now confirmed by letter (dated 27 November 2020) that they were satisfied the Council had addressed all of the recommendations in their maladministration report.  As such, the Ombudsman had recorded a compliance outcome of Remedy complete and satisfied.  No further action was required by the Council in relation to this case.

 

Members considered the further report which stated that the outstanding actions at the date of the last report had been actions 6, 8 and 9.  These had been addressed as follows:

 

Action 6: Take action to address the Council’s apparent lack of suitable transport provision to ensure other children who require home to school transport were not adversely affected.

Outcome: Completed.  Details of actions taken were included in the Committee report.

 

Action 8: The Council should update its Local Offer on the Bucks Family Information Service to reflect the transport provision available.

Outcome: Further to the information reported in October, Members were informed that the Local Offer website content was currently undergoing a complete overhaul as part of a project to design a new microsite for the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service.  It was anticipated that this would go live in mid December.  The information would be added to and enhanced over time to ensure it remained current and relevant for families.

 

The Service Director (Transport Services) provided Members with information on the Client Improvement Programme, including that the Council now had 2 strategic transport assessors in post, that SEND provision was currently being re-tendered to improve the quality of the Council’s offer, and that the Council was now able to provide personal transport budgets for SEND parents which gave people more flexibility to find the arrangements that best worked for them.

 

Action 9: The Council should provide the Ombudsman with a report confirming the actions it had taken.

Outcome: Further to the information reported in October, a further update had been provided to the Ombudsman on 20 November 2020 on the Council’s actions in satisfaction of the Ombudsman’s recommendations.  A final report would be provided in January 2021, in line with the timescales set out in the report.

 

In addition to the outstanding actions, the Committee had raised additional questions in October in relation to the completion of Action 5 (Review other parents’ and carers’ mileage arrangements).  The Service Director for Education and for Transport Services attended the meeting and informed Members that the circumstances of the 117 other families who were in receipt of 2 way mileage had been reviewed, which had confirmed that there was no evidence that appropriate arrangements were not in place.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)               That the Children’s Services team be thanked for the work they were doing to school transport for parents and children.

 

(2)               That the further progress made in implementing the recommendations required by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman report of 24 July 2020, as well as the confirmation letter of 27 November 2020, be noted.

Supporting documents: