School transport change-up leads to increase in complaints

There has been a 63 per cent increase in the number of complaints regarding school transport following changes to council transport policies.

According to a report from the Local Government Ombudsman, complaints from parents and carers are rising as they struggle to find alternative ways to get children to and from school.

However, local authority leaders have argued that it’s becoming more difficult to provide transport because of “sustained financial challenges”.

The report shows that in 2015-16, 261 complaints and enquiries about school transport were made, in comparison to the 160 in the previous year.

It shows that the complaints relate to failing to consult or inform parents of proposed changes and inadequate communication decision making.

Councillor Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, commented: “Local authorities take their responsibility to provide home-to-school transport for those in need very seriously, with councils continuously looking at innovative approaches to enable them to provide a coordinated and high quality service for children and their parents.

“Councils continue to face significant funding pressures, amid further cuts to funding by central government.

“Local authorities are working hard to ensure suitable travel arrangements are made for children who could not reasonably be expected to walk or otherwise find it difficult to attend school because of distance, mobility, special educational needs or the routes they have to take.”

Watts added: “However, this is becoming increasingly difficult in the face of such sustained financial challenges.”

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