This is an opportunity for Members of Council to ask the Mayor, Members of the Executive or the Chairman of any Committee or Sub-Committee a question on notice under Procedure Rule 10.2.
The Mayor reported that 2 questions had been received under Procedure Rule 10.2.
(a) Councillor Freeman asked the following question for which he had given notice:
“I have previously asked a range of questions both here in this chamber and by way of email on the subject of Home to School Transport arrangements. Whilst I am grateful of the comprehensive answers provided so far, I remain extremely concerned that the new HTST arrangements do not appear to have adequate clear safeguarding arrangements built into them to monitor and assess risk for the journeys being undertaken daily and monitor whether all those working with our Special Needs Children have the necessary Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks in place. Can you please explain to me your understanding of these arrangements?”
In response to the question, Councillor Cornes the Executive Member for Children’s Services confirmed that as part of the new Home to School arrangements, safeguarding recommendations had been implemented with revised service standards in place and monitoring of quality standards established. The Executive Member assured the Council that he had confidence in the safeguarding arrangements and that where specific difficulties had been identified information had been sought from experts.
Councillor Cornes also advised that in tendering for contracts, service providers supply assurances on compliance with Council requirements and it was a contractual requirement for DBS checks to be made on drivers employed on contracts.
Scrutiny Committee was seeking to review changes to the contractual arrangements and the Executive Member had accepted a request to participate in the process.
Councillor Freeman maintained that there were issues around compliance and asked as a supplementary question why the Council had not in place a generic risk assessment for a safe transport arrangements and whether it could be considered and one put in place?
In response Councillor Cornes re-affirmed that procedures were in place and suggested that the Scrutiny process, with which he was engaging, would be the arena in which to discuss this further.
(b) Councillor Mrs. Brophy asked the following question for which she had given notice:
“Residents have increasingly been contacting me about the lack of thought some people have when dropping off or picking up on the school run. Especially where cars are parking close to exits on main roads such as Park Road in Timperley. Local residents tell me that there are many potential accidents waiting to happen.
I am aware that Parking Services will now ask the Enforcement Officers to place some 'Pavements are for People' leaflets on the offending cars.
The police can get involved if vehicles are causing an obstruction. Would the Executive Member let me know if any meetings are planned with Police Officers to enforce this parking issue that is widespread across Trafford? After all 'Pavements are for People'.”
Councillor Lamb, Executive Member for Communities and Partnerships advised that every day Civil Enforcement Officers carried out up to 5 visits at schools on a rota basis, with most schools getting a visit every two weeks. Visits lasted for up to 30 minutes, varying between a.m. and p.m. and involved the monitoring of the parking restrictions at the school, usually the schools keep clear zigzags and any yellow line restrictions, which carry an instant penalty.
Pavement parking was a common problem and when complaints were received leaflets were placed on vehicles that obstruct the use of the footpath for pedestrians. This leaflet was also widely used across the borough especially where there were no parking restrictions in place.
Councillor Lamb indicated that the Police can and do get involved when a parked vehicle is causing an obstruction and he would bring the issue to the attention of the Police, however, their involvement was on a case by case basis and only when a vehicle was causing a serious hazard to pedestrians and motorists.
In terms of poor parking at and around schools, the Executive Member recognised that in many cases the problems were caused by the parents of children and he believed that effective things could be done by concerned parents and Governing Bodies. Members were informed that, in partnership with Trafford’s Road Safety Team, a small group of school children work with the Civil Enforcement Officer at Seymour Park School to issue children’s parking notices to warn drivers not to park on markings at schools for the safety of children and other pedestrians. The children were given a special uniform to wear whilst patrolling and were very keen to prevent illegal parking. It was anticipated that something similar could be extended to more schools in the Borough.
Councillor Brophy was grateful for the response and welcoming the scheme at Seymour Park School, asked as a supplementary question, what could be done to roll it out around Trafford? Councillor Lamb believed it to be a fantastic idea and as work to extend the scheme to more schools was being considered was happy to gather the details and share them with Councillor Brophy.