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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 3rd November 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation Planning and Transportation

 

School Crossing Patrol Service (SCPS)

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To agree to consult on the possible introduction of a School Crossing Patrol Policy including Site Assessment Criteria, based on national best practice. 

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approves for consultation purposes the Road Safety GB Guidelines and its site assessment criteria as contained at Appendix 2.

2.         That Cabinet receives a report on the results of the consultation exercise prior to determining whether to implement the Policy and Site Criteria for the Council's SCPS.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To allow a consultation exercise to be undertaken with interested groups on the Guidelines and site assessment criteria.

2.         To report the results of the Consultation exercise in order that Cabinet can determine whether to adopt the Road Safety GB Guidelines and its site assessment criteria as contained at Appendix 2.

Background

2.         School Crossing Patrols (SCPs) have been formally in existence for over 60 years.

3.         There are 43 established permanent posts currently within the Vale of Glamorgan and 41 permanent sites.  Appendix 1 provides a list of existing SCP site locations. Whilst a number of sites are currently vacant, there are two mobile officers who cover the highest priority sites that are vacant at any one time.  Some of the 41 sites are historical sites which have been vacant and therefore without an officer for a number of years.

4.         The relevant legislation for School Crossing Patrols is as follows:

a) The School Crossing Patrol Act 1953 instituted on 1 July 1954 through the School Crossing Patrol Order 1954.

b) The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (Sections 26-28)

c) Section 270 of the Transport Act 2000 and

d) The School Crossing Patrol Sign (England and Wales) Regulations 2006.

5.         The culmination of these Acts and regulations gives appropriate authorities the power to appoint school crossing patrols to help children and adults cross the road, (whether or not they are traveling to or from school) at such times as they see fit. However, there is no legal/statutory duty on the Council to provide a service and it is purely at the discretion of the Council.

6.         SCPs have the power to stop traffic, providing they are wearing the approved uniform and exhibiting the prescribed sign.  If a driver fails to stop, he or she can face a fine of up to £1000, 3 penalty points and possible disqualification under the Road Traffic Act 1984.

7.         The Transport Act 2000 gives SCPs the power to assist adults as well as children to cross the road at the appointed site.

8.         The provision of a SCP is similar to the provision of a zebra crossing or light controlled pedestrian crossing, in assisting pedestrians to cross the road.  However, it is still the pedestrians own responsibility to ensure they cross the road in a safe manner.

9.         Where a SCP is provided, it is still the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure their children’s safety, just as they do when a zebra crossing or lights controlled pedestrian crossing is provided.

 

Relevant Issues and Options

10.      The need to ensure the safety of children, especially on their journeys to and from school, is paramount to the Council’s aims of reducing road traffic casualties whilst encouraging active travel to school and promoting healthier lifestyles.  The SCP service plays a vital role in delivering these aims.  Every parent and guardian wants to have confidence that their child will be safe on the journey to and from school. However, it is necessary to have a Policy and Site Criteria in place to assess which sites require a SCP Service.  This will ensure that all sites are dealt with consistently and fairly.

11.      Road Safety GB (formerly LARSOA) is a national road safety organisation that represents local government road safety teams across the UK.  The Road Safety GB School Crossing Patrol Service Guidelines (2012) are nationally regarded as best practice (See Appendix 2) although are not statutory for use by local authorities. The formal adoption of the National SCP Guidelines would allow the Council  to fairly and consistently  review all existing sites as well as responding to requests for new SCP sites.  This would allow the Council to consider the future of sites when circumstances change (for example school closure, road or traffic changes or new road safety infrastructure provided or when an SCP officer vacates his or her position).  Full details of the site assessment criteria are outlined at Appendix 2. Before deciding whether to implement the School Crossing Patrol Policy including Site Assessment Criteria as outlined in the National Guidelines it is proposed to consult with interested persons on their contents.  It is suggested that Head teachers are consulted on this policy as well as parents, governors and town and community Councils.  It is envisaged that consultation with all these bodies will be both necessary and useful in that this could allow for groups to come forward to assist in delivering a SCP service, particularly at sites or locations where the Council cannot currently provide the service.

12.      Following this consultation exercise a report of the results of the consultation exercise and proposed way forward will be reported back to Cabinet.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      There are no financial implications at this stage.  The undertaking of the consultation exercise on the Guidelines can be met within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14.      Encouraging people to walk to school, by making the roads safe to cross at specific locations aids sustainable accessibility and the reduction of single occupancy car movements, therefore having a positive impact on sustainability and climate change.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.      When delivering a SCP service, compliance is required with the legislation listed in paragraph 4 of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.      It is anticipated that the number of road traffic accidents in the Vale, particularly those involving children and young people, is reduced as a consequence of providing a SCP service.

17.      A safe and accessible transport network will have a positive impact on crime and disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      The concept of equal opportunities is a fundamental principle that underlies all of this Council's policies. 

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      The SCP service improves the quality of life for residents and visitors in the Vale. 

20.      The provision of safe pedestrian routes provides alternative means of travel, and ensures good accessibility for those without access to private transport. This links with the Council's objectives for social wellbeing and tackling disadvantages.

Policy Framework and Budget

21.      This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

22.      No ward Members have been consulted as this report affects all Wards.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

23.      Economy & Environment.

Background Papers

Appendix 1 - List of current SCP sites

Appendix 2- Road Safety GB School Crossing Patrol Guidelines (2013)

 

Contact Officer

Clare Cameron - Principal Transport & Road Safety Officer - Tel: 01446 704768

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Strategy, Community Learning & Resources

Chief Learning & Skills Officer

Head of School Improvement & Inclusion

Finance Support Manager - Laura Davies

Legal - Committee Reports

Head of Performance & Development - Huw Isaac

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services