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1.5.3 Criteria for Provision of Transport

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in May 2014 to reflect the current changes in the Department.


Contents

1. Introduction
2. Procedure for Approving Transport Provision   
3. Criteria for Transport
  3.1 Children in Need 
  3.2 Looked After Children
  3.3 School Transport
  3.4 Young Carers
4. Notification of Changes


1. Introduction

The provision of transport by Children’s Specialist Services is to be used only for the most critical social work activity covering child protection contact arrangements, support to placements and School transport for Looked After Children.

Transport will only be provided on the basis of assessed need.

Transport will only be provided if it is a task that that a Social Worker would have to carry out if not provided.


2. Procedure for Approving Transport Provision   

A Single Assessment must have been undertaken to determine a need for transport provision. Essential information from this needs to be conveyed appropriately to the provider on the appropriate commissioning form at the point of requesting a service.

All transport provision must be recorded as a task that otherwise a Social Worker would have to carry out, at Placement Meetings, Service Provision Agreement Meetings, Core Groups, or, Planning Meetings. Transport provision must be regularly reviewed in line with other services provided.

Agreement to commission transport must be with Team Managers within their delegated responsibilities under the Financial Policy and in line with the criteria set out below.

All agreements to funding must be made in advance of commissioning the provision and not retrospectively.

In certain circumstances where a care provider/ parent cannot transport a child, the child is unable to travel on public transport themselves and the Health and Education Service are not responsible for the costs, transport must be commissioned from the Transport Division.

Where funding is to be reimbursed for public transport bus/train tickets must be provided as proof of expenditure.


3. Criteria for Transport

3.1 Children in Need

Assessment factors to be taken into account indicating the need for transport would include:

  • Children at risk of becoming ‘Looked After’ where the provision of transport for a specific task would reduce this risk. This would be short-term only with an expectation that it would discontinue after a maximum of four weeks;
  • Where families are expected to attend a Family Centre because their children are subject to a Child Protection Plan, public transport must be the first option. Only if this results in non-attendance, which places the children at risk, should transport be considered. This should be short term with clear expectations that parents or carers must co-operate and the expectation would be this would be reviewed after the maximum of four weeks;
  • Families of children with disabilities who do not have transport may not be able to access public transport due to the nature of their child’s disability. In this instance it would be expected that families finance transport through the provision of Disability Living Allowance. Parent carers need to be reminded of their responsibilities to transport their own children. However, where it has been identified through a Single Assessment that a child should attend a specific provision to meet their assessed needs then consideration will be given to providing transport and be included in the assessment. Some transport will be provided by the service provider who will then charge the parents/carers. In some cases Social Workers will negotiate cost sharing arrangements with parents/carers;
  • When a child is required to attend hospital appointments the Health Authority should be approached to request transport or provide financial assistance toward transport in order to facilitate a child receiving appropriate Health Care Provision.

3.2 Looked After Children

When arranging/changing a care placement the transport requirements should be agreed with the care provider. Social Workers should inform the Contracts Section of any agreed transport arrangements so that they may be recorded within the Individual Service Agreement.

In relation to contact arrangements where young children have to travel the Foster Carers should be asked to provide transport in the first instance. Provision to meet the costs incurred by carers transporting children is included within the Foster Carer Allowance.

If the foster carer is employed by an Independent Foster Agency and is unable to transport/accompany the child/young person to contact, the additional transport costs must be costed into the package and referred to the Independent Placement Panel. The Contracts Section should be notified of any agreed transport arrangements so that costs can be negotiated with the Foster Agency and be included within the Individual Placement Agreement.

Parents and relatives who see children as part of a Contact Plan can be provided with financial assistance equivalent to that of public transport rates for the journey.

Where carers need to attend hospital appointments with a looked after child and do not have access to their own transport, public transport should be used. Commissioning it through Transport Section should only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Prior to commissioning transport the Health Authority should be approached to request transport or financial assistance towards transport in order to facilitate a looked after child receiving health care provision.

Transport arrangements for respite placements should be agreed between carers and the Supervising Social Worker and should not require commissioning transport, unless specifically adapted vehicles are required to manage children with complex needs.

If a Court orders the Local Authority to assist a parent carer to attend a specific appointment as part of the proceedings then reasonable steps must be taken to commission appropriate transport that ensures prompt attendance.

3.3 School Transport

Where children are placed within the Borough the expectations should be that secondary School aged children should use public transport unless their assessment indicates that they are not sufficiently mature or reliable, or may be at risk to travel unaccompanied. In such cases the care provider should be approached to transport the children to School or accompany them on public transport. If the care provider is unable to transport/accompany the child/young person to their Education Provision, the additional transport costs must be costed into the package and referred to the Independent Placement Panel. The Contracts Section should be notified of any agreed transport arrangements to that they may be included within the Individual Placement Agreement.

In relation to children with a disability, the Education Department will transport children to School.

For placements outside of Wirral Borough, consideration needs to be given as to where and how a child’s education is provided. In such cases transport must be costed into the package and referred to the Independent Placement Panel. The Contracts Section should be notified of any agreed transport arrangements to that they may be included within the Individual Placement Agreement.

Staff need to ensure full use is made of the bus passes provided to looked after children that allow them free use of the bus service within the Borough.

3.4 Young Carers

In relation to young carers, assistance with transport is only provided where there is an assessed need for a child or young person to attend the Young Carers Project. Where this is reasonable and appropriate to the child’s age this should be through public transport. When the Young Carers Project has completed the assessment then a copy must be made available to the appropriate District Team for a Manager to make a decision and must be reviewed in line with any other child’s planning process.


4. Notification of Changes

Providers of care must be told at the placement agreement meeting that they can cancel but not commission additional transport arrangements if circumstances warrant this and be given the contact details of Transport Division.

End