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Agenda Item No

 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting : 15th July 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

School Transport (ALN): Results of Tendering Exercise and Award of Contracts

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform Cabinet of the results of a recent tendering exercise in respect of 52 school transport contracts for pupils with Additional Learning Needs.  These contracts are due to commence September 2013.

Recommendations

1.             To approve the award of contracts for the ALN Transport Service.

2.             If any of the preferred operators for each listed contract decline to accept the contract as offered, Delegated Authority be given to the Chief Learning & Skills Officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Leader and Managing Director, to award the contract to the operator offering the next most advantageous tender.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure ongoing school transport provision for ALN pupils from September 2013 which the Council has a statutory and discretionary obligation to provide.

2.             To allow the contracts to be awarded to commence September 2013.

 

Background

2.             The school transport tendering exercise was undertaken to ensure continued operation of existing and proposed new routes.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             Forty tender packs were issued and eighteen transport providers submitted tender returns but not all operators tendered for all contracts. Analysis of the tender submissions were weighted in line with the criteria reflecting an emphasis on price (70%) and then quality (30%). Quality is determined as follows: 30% availability of suitable vehicle, 60% availability of suitably trained and qualified drivers and escorts 10% specific legal and policy requirements. All vehicles will need to provide evidence that they are fitted with seatbelts or suitable passenger/ wheelchair restraints and meet the requirements of The Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008.

4.             As a consequence of the quality analysis of the submitted returns not all of the contracts are awarded to the company submitting the lowest price.  In addition, there are two contracts detailed in the part two report where medical/ professional advice requires the need to maintain consistency of Driver/Escort for a small number of pupils with specific challenging behaviour. 

5.             Certain operators who may be awarded contracts currently do not provide transport for the Vale of Glamorgan Council and background checks will need to be undertaken before the Contract is issued.  In addition, some of the existing operators need additional checks to ensure that they can meet the terms of the contracts awarded based on the details in their tender submission.

6.             The tender results have been included in the Part two report with recommendations for the award of contracts.  The length of the contracts will be for three academic years.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

7.             The award of contracts can be accommodated within the current budget. On the basis of all preferred operators accepting contracts, there will be saving compared to existing prices for these specific contracts.  Actual expenditure will be dependent on whether the various operators wish to accept the contracts as offered. It should also be noted that route costs may change due to the requirement to transport additional or fewer ALN pupils, often at short notice. The changing needs of the transport required can also inflate the cost of these routes. These savings should therefore be considered with caution.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

8.             School transport provision assists sustainability, helps to reduce car use for the journey to school and helps to reduce traffic congestion.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

9.             The provision of school transport to eligible pupils is a statutory obligation under the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008.  In addition, there is a discretionary responsibility, identified via SEN Panel, to transport ALN pupils where they are unable to travel to school independently or with support.

Crime and Disorder Implications

10.        These services will provide a safe environment for children to travel to and from their place of education.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

11.        The provision of a well organised school transport service helps to increase mobility and accessibility to pupils with Additional Learning Needs.

Corporate/Service Objectives

12.        To provide a safe, reliable, efficient and value for money school transport service.  This supports CYP4 (Support children in need and their families to engage positively with schools and support services to improve attendance and attainment.

Policy Framework and Budget

13.        This report is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

14.        As this report affects all wards, individual members have not been consulted.  The relevant schools and parents will be advised of new service providers before the end of academic year 2012/13.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

15.        Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Lisa Lewis, Access & Policy Manager, Tel. 01446 709899

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham - Head of Service, Strategic Planning & Performance

Legal - Committee Reports

Finance - Head of Accountancy & Resource Management - Alan Jenkins

 

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning & Skills Officer

 

 

 

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