14 February
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A meeting of West Lothian Council Social Policy Policy Development Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) received an update on the extensive work that has been undertaken to explore the approach used to deliver Looked After Children School Transport within Social Policy.

On 13 February 2018 a meeting of West Lothian Council agreed the revenue budget strategy for the five years 2018/19 to 2022/23 which included efficiencies in the provision of Looked After

Children Transport.

There has been a long standing approach within Social Policy to ensure that children who are looked after away from their home community should not be disadvantaged educationally by having to transfer temporarily to another school more local to their care placement.

Currently, transport for children in care placements is provided to facilitate continuity of education. This is consistent with council policy of providing support to children in care placements which enhances their educational experience and with the responsibilities of local authorities within the provisions of Section 17 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

The PDSP heard details of the review conducted by officers which looked at how the service delivery can be altered to meet the efficiencies target with no negative effects to meeting its statutory obligations.

The meeting received details on how transport routes could potentially be combined to minimise the number of vehicle journeys required.

Any route change would only take place following careful consideration and consultation to ensure the requirements and needs of the individual pupil are still met.  

It was noted that changes to the service delivery will ensure a central, standardised approach is adopted for all school transport requests across the local authority for looked after children.

Executive councillor for social policy, Angela Doran said: "Looked after children are entitled to remain at their home school therefore it is vital that efficient transport is in place should they require it. The suggested approach designed by officers will ensure that an excellent service remains in place whilst representing best value."