London Borough of Newham (16 016 497)

Category : Education > School transport

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 16 Mar 2017

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: It is reasonable to expect Mrs M to accept the Council’s offer to review her child’s home to school transport provision. Therefore the Ombudsman will not investigate her complaint about a change in the provision.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mrs M, says the Council changed her child, B’s, home to school transport provision without just cause. She says it has failed to provide the transport on one occasion and she is unhappy at the way the Council has replied to her complaint about this.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
    • it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
    • it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome, or
    • it would be reasonable for the person to ask for a council review or appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information provided by Mrs M with her complaint and the Council’s replies which it provided. Mrs M commented on a draft version of this decision.

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What I found

  1. Mrs M says B, who has an Education Health and Care Plan, received the same home to school transport for 10 years. She says with just a few days notice in September 2016 the transport changed. Mrs M says there is now no cover when the escort is on leave. She says this meant he had no transport assistance for two days in December.
  2. The Council replied to the complaint in December at the first stage of its complaints procedure. It said it had introduced some changes, in particular moving from taxis to using public transport, to help B become more independent. B still had a travel assistant and at times the Council’s policy required parents to cover for leave. At Stage Two in February it said it would review the provision and asked Mrs M to contact it to discuss this.

Analysis

  1. If the Ombudsman were to investigate, the likely proposed remedy would be a review of the transport provision. The Council has already offered this and it is reasonable to expect Mrs M to use this review.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mrs M’s complaint as it is reasonable to expect Mrs M to take up the Council’s offer of a review.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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