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Devon County Council (14 009 771)

Category : Education > School transport

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 09 Jun 2015

Summary

Complaint from a couple that the council wrongly decided to discontinue school transport after the family were forced to move. They say the school transport appeal did not take account of all relevant information in deciding not to uphold their appeal.

The complaint

Complaint from a couple that the council wrongly decided to discontinue school transport after the family were forced to move. They say the school transport appeal did not take account of all relevant information in deciding not to uphold their appeal.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

The council should:

  • apologise to the couple;
  • put in place home-school transport for the couple's daughter as soon as possible;
  • pay the couple £1,000 to reimburse the costs they incurred as a result of the council's faults; and
  • pay the couple a further £1,000 to acknowledge the avoidable stress the council's faults caused the family.

The council has accepted our recommendations to remedy the complaint. It should confirm it has taken these actions within three months of the date of the report.

The council has also confirmed that it is taking the following steps to improve its practice:

  • it is committed to raising the profile of the expectations set out in the Armed Forces Covenant. In particular, it is reviewing its school transport policy to make sure officers and panels identify at an early stage if the Covenant is relevant to an application.
  • the review of the school transport policy will also include amending the wording to clearly invite parents to identify if their circumstances are similar to the 'exceptions' listed in the policy. The policy will also stress that the examples offered are examples and not a definitive list.
  • the council will amend the school transport appeal forms to ask parents to highlight any issues about the sustainability of existing travel arrangements.

 

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