Home to school transport contract needs careful steering

Posted On 31 May 2019 at 12:05 am

With the European Election results still making the headlines, it is easy to be caught up with national politics and all that is going on in Westminster.

With the Prime Minister announcing the date when she will be standing down as leader of the Conservative Party, this has caused a tornado in Westminster and the party as we have seen many Conservative Members of Parliament putting their names forward.

Fortunately, locally we have seen some stability with our annual council meeting last week where the positions have all been passed through the chamber and we can now devote out time to local governance and serving the residents of the city.

We have some very serious issues to discuss and to form some sort of agreement about as councillors – from housing needs and environmental concerns to adult social care, school funding and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Home to school transport and the retendering processes for these contracts are a major concern at present to us as a Conservative group, with the council are in the process of making changes.

It would appear that the council are opening up the process to include different contractors and at first as Conservatives you would think we would be happy to see additional competition.

However, we will not accept these changes to save money if it has an adverse effect on the children or their families.

This, for some of the children, is not just about a paid service getting them to school and back home but for some it is about having the same driver and consistency so that they feel safe and are safe.

It is about their education and a part of that education includes a chilled, relaxing and safe journey to and from school and must take into account the peace of mind for their families.

As I have said, we as Conservatives will support what is right for the residents of the city.

And at this time we will stand up for these children with special educational needs and disabilities and support them and their families to ensure the correct and right decision is made to improve their lives and to ensure that the paid service they receive is right and proper and fit for purpose. It must meet their individual requirements.

Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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