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Home to School Transport Policy

Service standards and safeguarding

7.Service Standards

 

7.1. Vehicles

All vehicles are provided by contractors under contract to the London Borough of Sutton.

  • All transport will be provided in accordance with contractual standards and legislation;
  • All vehicles will be properly licensed in accordance with local regulation and national legislation;
  • The Transport Team will conduct regular monitoring of quality and service standards on all vehicles operated by its contractors;
  • Vehicles will have specialist wheelchair access and wheelchair restraint systems where necessary;
  • All vehicles will be road worthy, clean inside and out, fitted with seat belts and carry emergency equipment (for example, fire extinguisher and first aid kit) and any other equipment or notices required by law.

 

7.2.Drivers

  • Drivers must carry and display suitable identification at all times;
  • Drivers must have enhanced DBS clearance;
  • Drivers have completed safeguarding training;
  • Drivers are provided with certified first-aid training;
  • Drivers must, as far as possible, be punctual;
  • Drivers must treat parents/carers and children with respect and avoid confrontations. It is also expected that parents/carers will treat our drivers with respect and consideration;
  • Drivers must adhere to the Council’s no smoking policy;
  • If the driver has a concern for any child in their care, they must report their concern to their supervisor, who will inform the Transport Team;
  • Drivers must report any poor behaviour of passengers to their supervisor to relay onto the Transport Team, and to the school and parent as necessary;
  • Drivers must ensure that all wheelchairs are securely clamped, all passenger harnesses are worn and safety straps are properly adjusted and fitted securely before the journey commences;
  • The driver is to stop as close to the home address or collection point as traffic conditions will safely permit;
  • The driver is not allowed to sound the vehicle’s horn to alert parents or carers that the vehicle is there;
  • Drivers are not authorised to leave a child with anyone other than their parent or carer or a named responsible adult (16+) identified in writing in advance by the parent or carer to the Transport Team;
  • Drivers have strict instructions not to enter into any personal arrangements with parents/carers, including changing pick up or drop off points without consulting the Transport Team;
  • Every effort will be made to ensure the same driver is used on a regular basis. This may not always be possible due to illness, holidays, retirement and staff resignations. Changes may also be necessary from time to time to ensure the efficient use of resources.

 

7.3. Passenger Assistants

  • Passenger Assistants must carry and display suitable identification at all times;
  • Passenger Assistants must have enhanced DBS clearance;
  • Passenger Assistants have completed safeguarding training;
  • Passenger Assistants are provided with certified first-aid training;
  • Passenger Assistants must treat parents/carers and children with respect and avoid confrontations. It is also expected that parents/carers will treat our Passenger Assistants with respect and consideration;
  • Passenger Assistants must adhere to the Council’s no smoking policy;
  • If the Passenger Assistant has a concern for any child in their care, they must report their concern to their supervisor, who will inform the Transport Team.
  • Passenger Assistants must report any poor behaviour of passengers to their supervisor to relay onto the Transport Team, and to the school and parent as necessary;
  • The Passenger Assistant should assist children on and off the vehicle and ensure they are seated safely while the vehicle is moving;
  • Passenger Assistants should deliver children to a member of school staff on arrival at the school so that at no time are children left unattended on the vehicle;
  • Passenger Assistants are not authorised to leave a child with anyone other than their parent or carer or a named responsible adult (16+) identified in writing in advance by the parent or carer to the Transport Team;
  • Passenger Assistants have strict instructions not to enter into any personal arrangements with parents/carers, including changing pick up or drop off points without consulting the Transport Team;
  • Every effort will be made to ensure the same Passenger Assistant is used on a regular basis. This may not always be possible due to illness, holidays, retirement and staff resignations. Changes may also be necessary from time to time to ensure the efficient use of resources.

 

Continuity of staff

7.4. Every effort will be made to ensure that the same passenger assistant and driver continue to transport a pupil; however this will not always possible and changes may need to be made due to illness, holidays, retirement and staff resignations, or to ensure the most efficient use of available resources.

7.5. Parents, carers and schools will be informed by the transport company about any changes to the crew member(s) in advance. Parents and carers are advised to take the name of the new driver and/or passenger assistant, and ask to see their identification, or contact the transport provider to verify identity if they are in any doubt.

7.6. Local authorities have a duty to spend public funds in the most appropriate and cost- effective manner. Routes will be reviewed regularly. Separate routes, taking pupils to several different schools, may be brought together into a single route where this is appropriate. Longer routes will be reviewed periodically with the respective schools to ensure that concentration and attentiveness are not compromised by any change to pupils’ journeys.

 

Journey times

7.7. The nature of transport congestion in the Borough means that travelling times can vary greatly. The London Borough of Sutton, in accordance with DfE guidelines, expects that children should arrive at school safely and fit to learn, and journey times should reflect this. The maximum journey time for SEN transport has been set at 1 hour 15 minutes, although this may be affected from time-to-time by traffic, road works and other environmental and operational conditions.

7.8. These times may not apply to children travelling to out of borough schools, where distances and frequency of journeys vary.

7.9. Any ongoing delays due to major road works or weather will be taken into account and where possible alternative routes will be provided. In this situation parents and schools will be notified accordingly.

 

Quality surveys

7.10. Surveys are sent to a random selection of schools each term to assess and ensure the quality of service. Questions are asked regarding the punctuality of the service, the perceived safety of passengers, the crew’s understanding, empathy and communication with their passengers, and the readiness of students to learn after they have arrived at school.

7.11. Surveys are also sent to a random selection of families each term to assess and ensure the quality of service. Questions are asked regarding the punctuality of the service, the perceived safety of passengers, the crew’s understanding, empathy and communication with their passengers, and their politeness. Parents are also asked for their comments, and their child’s comments if appropriate.

7.12. The survey responses are shared with contractors, and used to improve the quality of the service that we provide.

 

Safeguarding

8.1. The London Borough of Sutton is committed to ensuring that children and young people on transport travel safely to school and arrive ready to learn. The following safeguarding systems are in place to protect children’s safety and promote their wellbeing:

  • There are regular authorised crews on all routes;
  • Crew members have valid DBS certificates and appropriate licences;
  • Crew members have completed safeguarding training;
  • Crew members are provided with certified first-aid training;
  • Child-seating is provided for young people below 135 cm in height;
  • Non-ambulant buggy or wheelchair users undergo a wheelchair risk assessment to verify that their buggy or wheelchair has been crash-tested for use on transport and to ensure that the correct safety equipment is used to secure the buggy or wheelchair in place;
  • All incidents on board transport are logged and investigated;
  • Safeguarding concerns or allegations about a transport crew member are referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer;
  • Crew members are provided with a procedure in circumstances where parents or carers are not available at their home address at the end of the school day, or have requested an agreed alternative destination;
  • Taxi routes are audited on a regular basis and checked for compliance against the service specification, including compliance with safeguarding procedures.

 

Local Authority Designated Officer

8.2. Statutory guidance and procedures state that every Council has a duty to manage allegations and concerns about any person who works with children and young people in their area. This includes Council staff, staff or partner agencies and volunteers. The London Borough of Sutton complies with this duty by employing a LADO.

8.3. The LADO is responsible for investigating and co-ordinating all child protection allegations made against staff and volunteers who work with children and young people in Sutton.

8.4. Referrals to the LADO are made by a designated senior manager, within one working day of being made aware of the allegation. For the Transport Team, the designated manager is the Transport Manager, though any team member may refer if necessary.

8.5. Concerns should be referred to the LADO by contacting 020 8770 4776 (or via the Out of Hours service on 020 8770 5000) or by email: lado@sutton.gov.uk