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4.1.4 Booking Transport for Looked After Children

RELATED INFORMATION

See also Transport Requests Flowchart (Documents Library).

AMENDMENT

In May 2018 this chapter was extensively revised and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Regular Transport
  3. Use of Taxi Companies


1. Introduction

Wherever possible and safe, Looked After Children should be transported by their carers or, where old enough, supported and encouraged to use public transport. This should be seen as part of making their daily lives as ‘normal’ as possible and the use of third-party providers should be the exception, rather than the rule.

Where other options are not viable, the Social and Education Transport Team (SETT) aims to provide a safe, reliable, cost-effective service to meet individual service user needs through voluntary drivers, the use of in-house vehicles or by commissioning external providers. 

Individual needs must be assessed along with the risks involved with any journey and a request must only be made if staff believe the journey can be made safely. The responsibility for deciding on appropriate transport for a service user rests with SETT.

Each service user's age and vulnerability, together with any disabilities, must be considered when requesting transport. It is the requesting team's responsibility to inform SETT of any special needs (for example, details of a wheel chair user) or any relevant information that may determine the gender of the driver, the need for an escort or relevance of using a particular taxi company. SETT will monitor requests for transport, service provision and any shortfall.

Before submitting a transport request, consideration must be given to alternative methods of transport, such as the use of public transport, bus passes, or reimbursement to carer or foster carer for the mileage undertaken.

The social worker:

  • Completes Form SOC978C with details of the child, including any special needs and any other information which will assist with the appropriate service allocation. For a first request to the children's Student Assessment Resources Team (STAR) the SEN /Medical form must also be completed/provided.

    For emergency requests, for example in response to a safeguarding risk or other urgent matter, Form SOC978E is completed;
  • Ensures that the time, start point and destination for the journey are clearly understood by all parties and detailed on the SOC978C and include contact details and/or a phone number;
  • Specifies any particular requirements, for example that the child is a wheelchair user; whether a car seat is required (See Child Car Seats: The Law);
  • Obtains authorisation for the SOC978 from the Consultant Social Worker or Designated Safeguarding/Team Manager ensuring that the budget code is correct.

The completed form is emailed to the Social Education Transport Team (SETT) at SSDtransport.requests@cambridgeshire.gov.uk with SOC978C or SOC978E together with the name of the child/young person in the subject line.

SETT will then:

  • Allocate the approved budget coding and arrange transport; or
  • Request funding from the relevant team; or
  • Return the form in cases where it is incomplete and additional information is required.

If a specific request cannot be met by SETT, the unit / team will be notified immediately and alternatives discussed.

If no suitable form of transport can be agreed, practitioners should discuss the situation with their Manager. Any disputes should be resolved by the Consultant Social Worker or Group Designated Safeguarding/Team Manager through discussion with the Transport Manager.


2. Regular Transport

Transport arrangements for individual children must be reviewed every three months after which a new SOC978C must be raised and sent to SETT. If the request is for a school placement, the request will be in place for the whole school year and any required changes must be individually notified.


3. Use of Taxi Companies

Unaccompanied children under the age of ten years, and any Service User considered to be a significant risk to themselves or others would not normally be transported by taxi, even if this is the only available option.

End