Opposition councillors from all parties on Suffolk County Council have joined forces to challenge the administration’s decision to change the home-to-school transport policy to a nearest school system. Councillors are dismayed that despite shocking financial modelling, a weak business case and a distinct lack of clarity on what the change is supposed to bring, ill thought through proposals that will harm children’s educational opportunities have been railroaded through.
The Cabinet agreed unanimously to confirm the change in policy at a fiery meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday 19th June, despite there being a record number of 33 public questions as well as two hours of challenges from councillors as to why the home to school transport changes should be stopped.
The call in, which was proposed by Labour’s Cllr Jack Abbott and seconded by the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group’s Cllr Andrew Stringer means the councils Monitoring Officer will need to look at the decision again to see if it was a fair, justified and proportionate decision.
Cllr Abbott said; “How the Cabinet can ignore all the holes in this policy proposal and railroad it through is a complete mystery to me. The strength of feeling across all the opposition groups is clear and this issue transcends party politics. This ill thought through, poorly formulated policy decision must be reversed to ensure educational attainment in Suffolk is not negatively impacted by this decision.”
Cllr Stringer added; “It is simply staggering that the Conservative Cabinet have agreed these changes on such a weak business case. We cannot stand by and watch as more children are likely to be injured or worse as a direct result of this move, we need a rethink. The report and financial modelling is inaccurate, incomplete and fundamentally flawed, I cannot see how this decision can be justified.”
The call-in was submitted on 21st June 2018. You can view it here: Scrutiny call-in Review of School and Post16 Travel.