To consider a report on the Children’s Travel Support Review.
The committee received the report which set out the findings from an independent review of travel support for children and young people.
A query was raised regarding existing available walking routes which may require improvement and maintenance, particularly with regard to rural areas where some existing walking routes could cause difficulties for residents with disabilities. It was requested that input from Highways colleagues be provided in a written response.
RESOLVED (by majority):
That the Children and Families Committee:
1. Note and agree the report contents and the underlying principles and cultural change set out in the independent review of travel support for children and young people at Appendix 1.
2. Endorse the proposal to procure specialist professional capacity, funded from the children and families transformation fund, to drive the initial transformation plans, achievable savings and establishment of the integrated travel support team.
3. Delegate authority to the Executive Director of Children and Families, in consultation with the Executive Director of Place, to make decisions in relation to:
· The roll out of a three-year transformation and modernisation programme to deliver the recommendations in the report, including a new strategy and integrated travel team, supported by clear performance and budget management reporting and consultation, communication and engagement with stakeholders.
· Proposal to streamline and revise the school transport policy and process from application to delivery, including a new application, reassessment and appeals process and the immediate, in year (2022/23) development of alternative travel solutions, such as personal budgets and independent travel training.
· Proposals to embark on a comprehensive exercise around the operational delivery and re-procurement of school transport to improve the effectiveness of routes, encourage and support new suppliers to Cheshire East, improve value-for-money and the experiences for families.
· Developing a business case for investment for small capital schemes to improve safe walking routes on potential high-volume routes, including the production of an agreed protocol and strategy for implementing safe walking routes and supporting the council’s priority outcomes for active travel and decarbonisation.
4. Agree to receive interim reports around specific actions that require committee approval, along with an initial update report within six months and annually thereafter.