Policies and guidance

 

Download PDF copies of the Suffolk County Council home to school transport policies

What steps do Suffolk County Council take to ensure that transport providers meet the requirements of schools in respect to safeguarding?

The Passenger Transport Unit (PTU) firstly requires that any company seeking to tender for work must apply to be on a list of approved suppliers. This is the first stage in assuring SCC that the company is reputable and covered by all necessary legislation and insurances. Only companies on this list may tender for contracts issued by the PTU. All contracts issued by the PTU are bound by the Terms and Conditions of Contract. Clause 8 specifies requirements in respect of DBS clearance and other conditions relating to staff employed on the contract. It is the Employers responsibility to ensure that their staff has the necessary checks in place before allowing them to work on SCC routes in accordance with the terms of their contract. Currently all contracts where children or vulnerable adults are transported (or where they may potentially be carried) are subject to this condition which is specified on all tender documents.

 

How is this monitored?

The contractor is required to provide the PTU with a list of all drivers and passenger assistants who may potentially assist in delivering the contract. Depending on the type of transport, different processes are in place to ensure that all these staff have cleared the necessary checks.

 

What are these different processes?

In the case of taxi drivers the PTU must be assured that the driver is properly licensed by the district authority. In order to be licensed they must have cleared the DBS process. In the case of bus drivers, passenger assistants and community transport drivers, the check is carried out by the PTU. When this is satisfactorily completed a photo ID badge is issued. In all of the above cases no person is allowed to deliver the contract until such times as all the checks have been completed. A secure database of all approved drivers and passenger assistants is maintained by the PTU.

 

Does this mean that all staff have no convictions?

No, some DBS disclosures may have criminal convictions disclosed.

 

What happens in these cases?

There is a strict procedure in place to examine any criminal convictions to determine if there is any risk arising from them. In these cases the applicant may be asked to provide further details of the convictions in writing, at an interview, or both. This evidence is then assessed by a panel of at least three senior officers in the PTU and a decision reached on the suitability of the applicant. In cases where there is doubt the matter is referred to the Safeguarding team for advice and guidance.

 

What happens after this?

In some cases the applicant may be advised that they are unsuitable and may be given a time period after which they can re-apply and be considered again. This time period will be dependant on the nature of the offence disclosed. In other cases it may be decided that the nature of the offence precludes the applicant from working on contracts. In both cases the applicant will be advised of this in writing and (if different) the employer will also be advised of the decision.

 

Is anything else done after this?

Monitoring checks are carried out at schools to ensure that employees are on the database. As a contract condition Passenger assistants must also attend training days where safeguarding matters may be on the agenda. A guidance leaflet (PDF, 58KB) has also been produced for drivers and passenger assistants with approval and input from the Safeguarding team. This gives advice on best practice and what to do in the event of problems. Should the PTU be advised by the police of subsequent convictions that are related to the employment the case would be reopened and further evidence requested to establish if the employee is still suitable. Depending on the severity of the offence the employee may be temporarily suspended from the contract pending the outcome. In all cases the Contract terms reserve the right of the PTU to remove a person from the work and failure to comply with this term can result in the termination of the contract.

 

Download the information contained on this page. (PDF, 20KB)

Further information on the use of School Minibuses can be found here: DfE & DfT guidance
 

School minibus operation contacts

 

New and Used Vehicle Purchase “and leasing"

Resource Management
Chris.Jackaman@suffolk.gov.uk
01473 264482

 

Vehicle insurance

Insurance Team
Insurance@suffolk.gov.uk
01473 264038

 

General advice/Driver assessment and training

Suffolk Norse
enquiries@suffolknorse.co.uk
01473 341500

 

Section 19 permits

Passenger Transport
Community.Transport@suffolk.gov.uk
01473 264820

 

Vehicle maintenance

KIER Fleet and Passenger Services
01473 341444

Links

Suffolk County Council
www.suffolk.gov.uk


Suffolk County Council Transport Policy
www.suffolkonboard.com/policy


Suffolk’s Local Offer: (for those with special educational needs)
www.suffolklocaloffer.org.uk


English National Concessionary Travel Scheme
http://www.suffolkonboard.com/concessionary-travel


16-19 Bursary Fund
www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund


Endeavour Card
www.endeavourcard.co.uk


Bus Operators in Suffolk
www.suffolkonboard.com/operators


Suffolk Journey Planner
www.suffolkonboard.com/planner


Connecting Communities rural transport services
www.suffolkonboard.com/cc

 


Documents

Travel Options: Moving on from year 11 (PDF, 245KB)

 

Code of Conduct (PDF, 32KB)

How to get in contact with us

If you have a query about home to school/college transport or want to report a problem, you can:

contact us online

or call us on 0345 6066173

You can also contact us about any home to school issues by writing to:

Passenger Transport
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road
Ipswich
Suffolk
IP1 2BX
 

Any queries you raise may require us to contact the transport company to ensure your issues are addressed appropriately.

 

Urgent enquiries

If your enquiry is urgent, e.g. children have not been collected from a bus stop or is of a child protection nature, please call us on 0345 6066173 and tell us about your concern.

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