Cornwall Council’s School Transport Consultation

Cornwall Council is in the process of conducting a review of school transport. The Council provides transport free of charge to school in line with its duties under Section 508 and 509 of the Education Act 1996 and Schedule 35B inserted by the Education and Inspections Act 2006. However, as part of the review, there are proposed some possible changes to the provision.

The consultation document can be found HERE with the current policy HERE. For those interested, the DfE transport guidance is HERE. Cornwall Council has also published details HERE and HERE.

The consultation runs until the 28th February and if any of the proposals are excepted, they will be implemented in September 2014. The main proposals are as follows:

  • Secondary travel – there is no change proposed to the general entitlement for secondary pupils in respect of distance. All secondary pupils are entitled to transport to their nearest (or designated) school if it is over three miles (two miles if they are from a family on low-income).
  • Primary travel – the Council currently provides an entitlement to transport to all primary aged pupils attending their nearest or designated school if it is over two miles. However, the Council only has a statutory duty to provide transport to the nearest school over two miles for children aged up to eight (or up to eleven if from a low-income family) – for all other primary children aged eight and over the statutory distance is three miles. This has therefore been included in the consultation to provide Members with the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to continue with the Council’s current discretionary policy to provide transport to the nearest or designated school to all primary aged children if it is over two miles.
  • Removal of free transport for children attending a school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief (NB this includes children receiving transport to a non-religious school by parental preference, where the nearest or designated school is a faith school)
  • A proposed increase in the concessionary rider fare (where pupils not eligible for free transport are using spare places on school transport)
  • A change in policy to allow all children to apply for a concessionary rider place even if there is alternative public transport available.
  • An enhancement of the policy in relation to transport for children with special educational needs, to ensure that the provision is appropriate and safe.
  • A tightening up of the policy in terms of when transport will be agreed in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and what constitutes ‘exceptional circumstances’. It is difficult to define which families this might affect as every case is considered on its own merits.

 Once the consultation end, the responses will be put together and presented to the CYP PAC, who will look through them and hopefully come up with a series of option and recommendations which will then finally be decided by Cabinet.

Helston’s Draft Local Plan

Helston’s Draft Local Plan, which covers Helston for the next 20 years is now subject to formal consultation before it becomes ratified. The consultation period runs until April 22nd. The plan and all the relevant details can be found HERE.

Once adopted either as it is now, or with changes, will sit alongside the Cornwall Local Plan. Details on that can be found HERE. And if you want to give your views online, HERE is that link

It is very important people take the time to comment even if it is to agree with the plans. As that will give Cornwall Council a true understanding on the local feeling. I know, I have commented.

If you want any further information, or the whole document electronically, just give me a call, tweet, text, or email.

The proposals for Helston

The proposals for Helston

The Other Staff Survey on the JV

I said in a previous post, Unison had commissioned an independent research company* to survey staff in parallel to the Cornwall Council staff survey. This survey has been taken from 238 Unison members of shared services, procurement and information services. And out of those 238, 100 undertook telephone interviews**. Furthermore, this survey did not just ask the basic question of which option staff preferred, but a series of other questions, too.

The results more or less agreed with the Cornwall Council survey, with the majority (61%) would prefer services to stay in-house, and 22% would prefer the BT proposal. A further 11% were undecided, 3% wanted no change and 2% wanted (alternative) outsourcing.  In making that decision on which proposal is better, 67% feel that they have sufficient information to form an opinion about the potential options and proposed changes to delivering support services.

However, if the strategic partnership is formed after Councillors vote in favour on Tuesday, those surveyed are divided on their employment contract options: 41% would prefer TUPE, 35% would prefer secondment. 10% are indifferent. This is interesting as the majority of staff prefer becoming BT employees if the deal goes ahead.  Though nearly a half (49%) believe their employment would be safer as a Cornwall Council employee than as an employee of a new organisation.

The survey asked the question on whether any of the staff have felt pressurised during the process. One in five (22%) have experienced some pressure from departmental or line management to support proposals for strategic partnership; and one in ten (11%) have experienced some pressure from non-management colleagues to support proposals for strategic partnership. Though a majority of 71%, agree that they can speak openly and share views at work about the proposals for changing the way support services are delivered with 12% disagreeing.

A few questions were also asked on the way Cornwall Council has engaged with staff during the process with 37% support what Cornwall Council is doing in its review of how it delivers support services. Then again you could say 63% do not, but lets not look at the negative figures.  45% also agree that information provided by Cornwall Council at a corporate level, about the proposals for changing the way support services are delivered, has been fair and unbiased (29% disagree).

So there you go, two surveys that support the in-house option from staff. Will Councillors take this into consideration when they decide on Tuesday? I believe they should, but a decision also has to be made on what is best for service delivery, value to the tax payer and a whole host of other information. Sadly, in saying this, there is still a lot of information and actual detail missing in some of the proposals.

 

*PFA Research Ltd,** All interviews and research conducted in accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct. Thanks also to Unison for use of material

Your Views on a New Fire Station

Cornwall Council seem to be pressing ahead with the proposals for a new fire station to replace the two currently in Redruth and Camborne with one new station, and another in Hayle.  Any reduction of a fire station tends to get people hot under the collar resulting in a petition being started quicker than you can say, well, petition. But will life be put at risk if this plan goes ahead? Life is at risk when the response time from the initial emergency call comes in to getting boots on the ground to deal with the emergency.

The Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) say under the current provision they currently reach approximately 44% of the population of Camborne, Redruth, Pool and Hayle including the surrounding villages within a 10 minute emergency response time.  By relocating Camborne and Redruth’s community fire stations, fire crews could reach up to 15,000 more people, approximately 65% of the population in the same area within 10 minutes of an emergency call.

The new facility for the Camborne, Pool and Redruth area would provide a community fire station crewed by both full-time and ‘On Call’ staff on a 24/7 basis.  The proposal does not represent a reduction in fire cover as the same number of fire engines and specialist appliances will be available in the area. The complex project also aims to relocate a number of critical support services, including Fire Control, Lifeline, Training and Workshops, as well as providing a new headquarters for the service in the area.

Hayle Community Fire Station will be crewed by ‘On Call’ staff on a 24/7 basis and potentially shared to form a tri-service facility, with South Western Ambulance Trust, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and CFRS working together under one roof.

However, the path might not be that smooth for the plan of a tri-service facility because of funding, and who pays for what. From experience, when various services share a building it quickly turns awkward when it comes down to rent, maintenance and who has the best offices. Let’s hope these issues will be sorted before a brick is laid.

Before a brick is laid, Cornwall Council wants to hear your views to the proposals. You can find more information about the plans by clicking this link HERE, or writing to Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, CPRH Consultation Response, Old County Hall, Truro TR1 3HA, or by emailing consultation@fire.cornwall.gov.uk

The consultation starts on the 16th January.

 

 

Consulting the Public

Too many times I have heard they never consulted me; no one ever sent me anything on consultation; or some other similar expression when it comes to public consultation by Cornwall Council. In most cases the information on a certain consultation is there, you just have to know where to find it.

Then again, Cornwall Council does not always get it right on consultation, as you only got to mention public toilets and consultation in the same sentence to know it all goes horribly wrong.

Cornwall Council places all (to my knowledge) official and statutory consultation online. This could be on car parking charges, changes to highways, or to gather a view on a change to a service Cornwall Council provides. Currently there are twelve active consultations on the council’s site. Most are highways but one is on car parking charges and  another is on the Performing Arts Library.

So why not have your say on these consultations by clicking HERE. It might be worth bookmarking this site for future consultations.