I make no apologies for raising the same topic again in regards to Home to School Transport as this is an issue where some of our most vulnerable children in the city rely on the council to provide a safe, secure and fit for purpose transport which caters for the individual needs of that child and gives peace of mind to their parents or guardians.
This week I had the opportunity to attend a parents’ briefing on the new system which was held to explain to parents how Brighton and Hove City Council will be implementing the new Home to School Transport and what impact it will have on them and their families.
I was hoping to have my concerns and that of parents who have contacted me over the past weeks addressed by this briefing. Sadly, this was not the case as questions raised by parents, although respectfully answered to the best of the ability of Brighton and Hove Council, did not alleviate the concerns of the parents.
I was able to witness parents’ questions from individual needs, health and safety of the child, escort communications to and from the parents on pick up and drop off, and whether those most in need would still have a designated regular driver and not multi-occupancy vehicles.
One of the major parental concerns was their exclusion from this consultation, when it is them and their families that will be affected by this new contract.
Whilst I appreciate that this service has had an overspend on budget last year, I do not believe that by changing the service and providers is necessarily the correct approach for those who need this service.
We as councillors could look at the budgeting process to ensure it is adequately funded, but this would need the administration to be willing to take this approach.
This is not a business but a service which must be run, organised and funded to the needs of the individual child and their family first and foremost.
Steve Bell, Leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton & Hove City Council