|Name||Mark Davies and Gill Davies|
|Meeting Title:||Meeting to discuss home to school transport issues|
|Meeting was held with:||Caroline Watson (Commissioning Manager - Transport, Cumbria County Council), Mark Davies and Gill Davies (CPCF), Sarah Edgar, Vicky Rooney and Cath Hornsby (parents)|
|Meeting took place at:||James Rennie School, Carlisle|
|Date of Meeting:||21st March 2018|
Matters discussed in the meeting:
Individual difficulties that the parents had experienced were discussed, and wider issues relating to the manner in which procurement of transport is decided.
The individual difficulties mainly centred around two issues, being firstly lack of continuity of transport companies, drivers and escorts, and secondly where drivers and escorts are not suitable for their children; hence, their children are prevented by these reasons from fully benefitting from their education (see para 35 of the statutory guidance).
The outcome of the meeting and/or actions proposed:
Caroline Watson informed the meeting:
One of the parents stated in the meeting that the joint responsibilities set up for both health and local authority in regards to each child’s EHCP were not recognised in the statements made by CW during the meeting and that transport did not see themselves being part of this even though they are a local authority department. This is an important issue and must be addressed by the LA.
The parents were very assured in their comments to CW, where they objected to the Council's policy to award contracts purely on a lowest quote basis without taking into account their children's wellbeing.
The CPCF representatives made the point that whilst all parties appreciate the impact of budgetary restrictions and the importance of lowering costs, the efficient use of resources should not be confined to contract costs but should be wider, and other costs such as loss of wellbeing should be taken into account and a balance sought; and that the wellbeing principle is a cornerstone of statutory guidance under the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014, whereas we at CPCF are not aware of any statutory principle of "lowest costs no matter what is sacrificed".