The leader of the Council, Councillor Ranjit Banwait and Cabinet Member for Cohesion and Integration, Councillor Asaf Afzal, today addressed school crossing patrol officers about the future of their service.
The City Council continues to experience severe pressures on its budgets as a result of government cuts and underfunding, and currently has to find savings of £45 million by 2019. One of the areas which could be affected is the School Crossing Patrol (SCP) service, which is a non-statutory service and has previously been scheduled to have its budget withdrawn by 2017/18.
The Council recognise the value of the school crossing patrol service and although there is no obligation on the Council to continue the service, Council Cabinet have indicated that they wish to protect the service. The Council will seek to find alternative savings that could be used to safeguard the £147,000 currently spent on the SCP service.
Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Cohesion and Integration, said:
“School crossing patrols are a valued community service and we wish to see them continue to support our young people and their parents. The service we currently provide is discretionary and the cost is met by local people rather than central government.”
“Although we had included a proposal in the Councils Budget setting process to remove funding for the SCP service we were always committed to doing everything we could to find alternative sources of funding to keep the service running. We haven’t given up on these efforts to work but we believe that it is now time to be clear that the service will continue and that the Council will find the necessary funding.
“We are now looking at a specific proposal that can enable us to achieve this and will be seeking public views on this.”
Changes to the concessionary fares travel scheme have been identified as a possible area where the savings needed to safeguard the SCP services could be secured. The Red Arrow bus service to Nottingham and the X38 bus service to Burton have been identified as possible services which could be excluded from the statutory provisions of the concessionary fares scheme on technical grounds. This is because they are express bus services which provide a higher level of amenity than other existing services between the same points.
Nottingham City Council withdrew concessionary fares on the Red Arrow earlier this year and Derby City Council now propose to fall in line with this. Consultation with bus operators and passengers will commence during October and November 2016. The results of the consultation will be reported to Cabinet in January 2016.