New travel assistance policy for adult learners set to be agreed
Councillors will be asked to approve a new draft post-19 travel assistance policy when Shropshire Council’s Cabinet meets on Monday 16 December .
The policy has been prepared following a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman decision that places a duty on the council to make the necessary transport arrangements for adult learners aged 19 and over attending educational institutions.
The draft policy has been prepared after discussions with other councils in a similar position, and following a six-week consultation during September and October 2019 with various stakeholders, including councillors, schools and colleges, parent advocacy groups, voluntary and community sectors and town and parish councils.
The responses to the consultation have been carefully considered, and the recommendation to Cabinet is to implement the draft policy.
Karen Bradshaw, Shropshire Council’s director of children’s services, said:
“Shropshire Council actively encourages young adults to participate in education and training, in order to progress their pathway to employment and maximise their independence – and it’s expected that the vast majority of adult learners will make their own travel arrangements and meet the cost of those arrangements.
“However, the draft policy states that in exceptional circumstances the council may conclude that it is necessary to make arrangements for the provision of transport – pursuant to Section 508F of the Education Act 1996. If the council concludes that such arrangements are necessary, the transport will be provided free of charge.”
The policy has been drafted to meet the requirements of Section 508F of the Education Act 1996.
Under the proposed policy all adult learners aged 19 and over accessing education and training will be assessed for travel assistance eligibility firstly under Section 508F of the Education Act, and if it is determined that it is not deemed ‘necessary’ to provide transport in accordance with the policy then a further assessment may be undertaken under the Care Act. If transport is provided under the Care Act a financial assessment will also be completed, travel assistance may be granted which may attract a contribution.