Laura Sharman 20 August 2020

Council to amend school transport appeals policy

Coventry City Council has agreed to change the way it handles appeals about free school transport following an investigation by the ombudsman.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found the council's policy did not meet statutory guidelines as it did not allow parents to make verbal representations at the appeal panel stage.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, said:? 'The council appears to have made the decision to depart from statutory guidance to speed up the process and save money: these are not valid or acceptable reasons to depart from statutory guidance. ?

'Denying the right to make verbal representations could disadvantage parents, particularly those who cannot express themselves as well in writing as they might in person.'

The council has accepted the ombudsman's recommendations and has now amended its procedure.

A Coventry City Council spokesperson said: 'The council welcomes and accepts the findings of the Ombudsman in identifying an unintentional flaw in the council’s appeal process for home to school travel assistance. The process has been reviewed, in accordance with statutory guidance to ensure that parents can now attend an appeal hearing if they choose to do so.?'

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