School transport cuts call in is successful on three counts
A decision by Suffolk County Council to implement school transport cuts over a phased period has been successfully challenged by opposition councillors from all parties.
The call in, which was proposed by Labour's Cllr Jack Abbott and seconded by the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group leader Cllr Andrew Stringer, was considered by the council's monitoring officer yesterday.
It was successful on three fronts - the reliability of the financial modelling, whether the Cabinet were fully informed of the role of the Consultation Institute and whether there was enough weight given to the experience of Essex County Council who actually had a rise in mainstream home to school transport costs when they implemented the same nearest school policy.
“We have been saying for months now that the financial modelling simply does not stack up," said Cllr Abbott.
"I wonder how much money has been wasted defending the line saying that home to school transport will cost £45m, something people can now see is misleading at best. The finances don’t add up and never have done. We are delighted for the schools, parents, carers and children who have been fighting against this ridiculous policy change.”
The plans will now be put on hold and reviewed by the Scrutiny Committee on Monday, July 9. The cabinet will need to convince the Scrutiny Committee that they had all the available information to make an appropriate and well-informed decision - something the councillors who made the call in dispute.
“We’re delighted the call-in has been successful. Over the past few months, opposition councillors, schools and parents have all been very vocal about the flaws in this policy," said Cllr Stringer.
"This decision shows that our numerous concerns are entirely valid. The financial modelling simply isn’t good enough to justify such a drastic and damaging policy change. Not analysing the experience of Essex County Council was just irresponsible.
"We hope the Scrutiny Committee will recognise these errors and send the report back.”