Update on Home to School/College Transport 9 June 2023

This update is all about the recent decisions that Hertfordshire County Council has made around Home to School/College Transport. HPCI representatives meet regularly with the HCC Transport Team and have done for several years, as we know what an important issue this is for many families. We work to ensure that the Transport Team understands the enormous impact Transport can have on our children & their families.

All the proposals put forward were formally approved by the Council Cabinet on 15th May 2023. Details of all the proposals can be found in the HCC consultation on Transport, which is now closed.

HPCI did not agree with several parts of the proposals but we are encouraged by some positives, driven by HPCI and feedback from families. You can read our formal response to the consultation here. Our view on each of the now approved proposals is:

Introducing a policy to clarify the role of Passenger Assistants on contracted transport
HPCI has for many years tried to insist this role was formally clarified, we are happy there is now a policy but will continue to push for more detail to be included.

Amending the 19-25 transport policy to align with existing transport policy for Adult Care Services
We remain concerned that this may limit opportunities for some young people and will continue to challenge this.

Amending the charging structure for transport for 16-18 year olds
We continue to challenge any charge however are pleased that the original flat rate proposal has been reduced (to £1554) This will only apply to new students, existing families will remain on their distance related payments with an increase of 10%.
Charges will not be made to low-income families; we will continue to try to ensure simpler and clearer information to ensure low-income families are better informed and not charged.

Amending Personal Travel Budgets
HPCI continue to challenge the term Personal Travel Budget for what in reality is a mileage reimbursement and not the person-centred budget that was originally envisaged.  We have also challenged the rate paid was insufficient.
We are pleased that a new rate of 55p per mile has been agreed (from Sept 2023) with an additional £150 per term for those with a higher level of need: HPCI are seeking clearer eligibility criteria for this (not just limited only to those claiming DLA or PIP).

Removing the 16+ Railcard
Only 1 person currently uses this, possibly due to poor availability of information, however other schemes are now available.

Spare seats – offer to sell empty seats on existing vehicles to special schools to those not in receipt of transport, as a pilot scheme with one or two schools with a charge of £1554
HPCI continue to believe that all children & young people attending a special school should be entitled to transport but until this is the case the spare seat offer may be helpful for those that can afford to pay it, providing risk assessments are in place.

Transport options for those on part time timetables
This item was removed prior to submission to Cabinet.

HPCI continue to raise families’ concerns, particularly for young people Post 16, and will work to challenge and drive improvements.

We are currently updating the HPCI Transport Position Statement to reflect these new policy changes.

I hope you’ve found this update helpful.  If you have any queries, comments or feedback, please do let us know.