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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 29 June, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

Adoption of Policy and Site Criteria for School Crossing Patrol Service

Purpose of the Report

1.    To progress adoption of the Road Safety GB Guidelines for delivery of the School Crossing Patrol Services (SCPS).    

Recommendations

1.    That Cabinet notes and approves the responses to the consultation process.

 

2.    That Cabinet agrees the adoption of the Road Safety GB Guidelines and its site assessment criteria, with effect from 1st September 2015.

 

3.    That the report is referred to Scrutiny (Economy and Environment) Committee for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.    To advise Cabinet of the results of the consultation process and to the comments received.

 

2.    To enable the Council to adopt the Road Safety GB Guidelines for delivery of the SCPS to enable a fair and consistent approach to reacting to the demand for SCPs at any locations within the Vale of Glamorgan area.

 

3.    For consideration.

Background

2.    Cabinet received a report on 3rd November 2014 (Minute No. C2513 refers), requesting permission to formally consult on whether to implement a Policy and Site Assessment Criteria for the SCPS.  This report presents the results of the consultation exercise and recommends an outcome for delivering the service.

 

3.    School Crossing Patrols (SCPs) have been formally in existence for over 60 years.  There are 43 established permanent sites currently within the Vale of Glamorgan.  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 43 sites are historical sites which have also been vacant 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 travelling 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 light 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, 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).  Before deciding whether to implement the School Crossing Patrol Policy including Site Assessment Criteria as outlined in the National Guidelines (attached at Appendix 1).  Cabinet approved that a consultation exercise be conducted with interested persons on their contents. Head teachers have been consulted on this policy as well as parents, governors and Town and Community Councils. It was envisaged that consultation with all these bodies was 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, this Report proposes a way forward to deliver the SCPS.

 

13.    The Consultation was carried out between 10th February and 7th April 2015. The Council received 4 responses as follows:

(1)     Penarth Town Council

The Town Council has had the opportunity of considering the document and it welcomes and supports its adoption.

The only other comment it wishes to make is:-

The proposal to review the position in light of changing traffic movement pressures is crucial and would emphasise the need for further review being vital in connection with future major developments.

 

(2)     Albert Primary School

The above consultation was discussed at Albert Primary School Governing Body meeting. Governors raised a question as to whether there will be a reduction in school crossing patrol operatives, and if so, will there be a plan to ensure safety?

Can you please confirm? If this needs to be addressed by using the formal response form, please let me know and I will ask a governor to complete it.

 

(3)     Dinas Powys Community Council

I apologise for the delay and hope the following can be taken into consideration.

Dear Sir/Madam,

On behalf of Dinas Powys Community Council we wish to state that this Council would not support any reduction in the provision of School Crossing Patrols.

We are aware that road casualties, both deaths and serious injuries, have for the first time in many years not seen a reduction, year on year.

We therefore consider it important that road safety is given the necessary priority.

 

(4)     Llantwit Major Town Council

Would like to see threshold level lowered to 3 million as opposed to the stated 4 million, as used by Leicestershire County Council.

14.    Further to the responses received, it is recommended that the Road Safety GB Guidelines be adopted in full with effect from September 1st 2015. Any change to the threshold as requested by Llantwit Major Town Council would have implications of increasing the number of SCPs over and above what is seen as an acceptable threshold in road safety terms. Therefore no change is recommended to this aspect of the Guidelines.

 

15.    I can confirm that there are no current proposals to remove any existing active school crossing patrols.  However, should a SCP position become vacant and not meet the guidelines as attached at Appendix 1 then the SCP position would be dis-established but the Council would wish to take advantage of any opportunity to work with volunteers and organisations should any school or Community wish to directly provide the Service.  Any new sites that come forward would be assessed using these guidelines and where the criteria are met a post would be established.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16.    There are no financial implications at this stage. The adoption of the Road Safety GB Guidelines and assessment criteria can be met from within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.    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)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.    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.

 

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

 

23.    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

24.    This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.    Economy & Environment

Background Papers

Appendix 1- Road Safety GB Guidelines and Site Assessment Criteria

Contact Officer

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

Officers Consulted

Director of Learning & Skills

Head of School Improvement & Inclusion

Finance Support Manager

Legal - Committee Reports

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter Director of Visible and Housing Services