Item 24 - Tender for SEN Transport Provision

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Item Number:

Contains Confidential or Exempt Information Title Responsible Officer(s)


Author(s) Portfolio(s) For Consideration By Date to be Considered Implementation Date if Not Called In Affected Wards Area Committees Keywords/Index Purpose of Report:

Tender for SEN transport provision Maggie Wilson, Head of Children’s Commissioning, Children’s Services;0208 825 5284 Maggie Wilson Cllr Ian Gibb, Children & Young People Cabinet 18 September 2007 2 October 2007 All None Procurement, SEN, Contract, Transport

To seek delegated authority to invite and evaluate tenders for Special Educational Needs (SEN) transport. Tenders will be invited for (1) specific routes and (2) services to be provided on the basis of framework agreements. To confirm that a further report will be brought to Cabinet at the appropriate time in relation to seeking Cabinet approval for the award of contracts.

1. Recommendations 1.1 That the Head of Children’s Commissioning, Children’s Services, be authorised to invite and evaluate tenders for the provision of SEN transport for specific routes and for framework agreements. 1.2 That Cabinet members note that a further report will be brought to Cabinet at the appropriate time. This report will seek Cabinet approval in relation to the award of contracts for specific routes and the setting up of the framework arrangements. 2. Key Implications

2.1 The Council is required to provide for the Special Educational Needs of statemented children. Home to school transport is often, but not always, needed to enable children to access appropriate education services. 2.2 This procurement exercise will enable transport provision to be put in place so that children can access education. Providers will be selected on the basis of the most economically advantageous tenders, which includes meeting service standards as set out in the contract documentation. 2.3 The exercise will be conducted in accordance with the Council’s Contract Procedures Rules and European and UK procurement law. 2.4 In 2006/7 a tendering exercise for SEN transport took place. This exercise took into account all the routes that were needed at that time. However since then the need has arisen for new routes. This is due to changes in the pupil population. The permission to tender that is requested in this report has two aims – to provide for specific routes that are known about at this stage and to provide for routes that will be needed in the future. The second of these two aims will be delivered via framework arrangements and will reduce the need to tender so frequently in the future. 3. Background information 3.1 The Council currently provides SEN transport to 721 children and young people (this was the number in June 2007). The transport is required to take children and young people from home to school. The range of schools to which children are transported includes Ealing’s maintained schools, independent sector schools and other Local Authority maintained schools. 3.2 The transport – vehicles and drivers - is provided by means of contracts with external providers. The passenger assistants who escort the children are employed by the London Borough of Ealing and are managed within Integrated Services to Children with Disabilities. It should be noted that the term passenger assistant has replaced the previously used term of escort. 3.3 The detail of transport and passenger assistant costs is contained in the finance section of this report. 3.4 In 2006/07, a SEN transport tendering exercise took place in Ealing as all previous contracts came to an end. Providers were invited to deliver services on specific routes. New contracts were awarded to 17 providers. The new contracts began 2 January 2007. These contracts last for three, four or five years, with these variations in length to allow for a staged re-tendering exercise. 4. Reason for decision 4.1 With constant changes in the population of children with SEN, additional home to school routes are now required and a further tendering exercise is needed in order to have contracts in place by the start of the Autumn 2008 school term. Providers will be invited to bid for a range of routes. The new contracts will be awarded for four years.

4.2 Until this tendering exercise has been completed, transport services for the additional routes will be purchased as required to enable children to travel to school. In the main, these services will be purchased from providers who have already successfully tendered for routes and this provides assurance in terms of quality of provision. 4.3 In addition, and as part of the same tendering process, it is planned to set up framework contracts that will last for four years. These will make the service much more flexible as well as ensuring value for money as new routes will be awarded via a mini competition and pricing will be undertaken on the basis of a four year period. 4.4 The framework contracts will enable new routes to be covered as and when they are needed. It will also provide options should any existing contracts prove problematical or be terminated. 5. Financial The services will be provided within existing budgets. The framework arrangements will ensure value for money. The 2007/8 budget for home/school transport is set out below. Vehicle and driver costs  Primary and secondary transport cost £441,875  Special schools transport cost £1,509,500 Passenger assistant costs  Primary and secondary passenger assistants £334,500  Special Schools passenger assistants £1,760,400 6. Legal 6.1 The Council has a duty under the Education Act 1996 to assist parents and carers where children and young people: (a) live further than the statutory maximum walking distance from their nearest appropriate school with space (more than two miles for children under 8 years and more than three miles for children over 8) (b) have particular needs or disabilities such as travel assistance is required. 6.2 The tendering process will be undertaken in accordance with both the requirements of EU Regulations and the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules.

7. Value For Money 7.1 Ealing’s transport travel policy for children and young people with special educational needs has been revised by officers leading to a new policy being agreed by members in 2007. The new policy provides clear criteria for eligibility and parental responsibility for the journey to and from school.

The policy has the scope to encourage more independent travel training as part of the young person’s personal development. 7.2 Potential providers will be asked to quote prices for a four year period. The tendering process and the framework contracts involve competition and contracts will be awarded on the basis of price and meeting the service standards. 8. Risk Management The risks associated with the procurement process will be identified and reviewed throughout the process and advice and expertise will be sought as necessary. 9. Community Safety All potential contractors will be vetted to ensure that their fleet complies with relevant safety legislation and that staff receive appropriate training. 10. Links to Strategic Objectives This tendering exercise links to enabling children and young people to enjoy and achieve and to the Council making efficient use of its financial resources. 11. Equalities and Community Cohesion An equality impact assessment will be completed. The provision of the service will enable children and young people to access services. 12. Staffing/Workforce and Accommodation implications: None. 13. Property and Assets None 14. Any other implications: None 15. Consultation Key stakeholders will be consulted during the tendering process. 16. Timetable for Implementation The table below shows an outline of the timescales for re-tendering of the contract: Action Seek Cabinet authority to invite tenders. Publish Contract Notice to the Official Journal of the European Union Issue invitations to tender Evaluate tender responses Date 18 September 2007 October 2007 October/November 2007 December 2007to January 2008

Contract award New contracts begin 16. Appendices None

May 2008 September 2008

17. Background Information See for statistical data.


Name of consultee


Date sent to consultee

Date response received from consultee

Comments appear in report para:



Executive Director

Lawyer Director of Legal Services Finance Officer Director of Finance Councillor Cabinet Member External A N Other Police etc Not relevant Not relevant Not relevant

August 07 August 07 Incorporated into 2.4 August 07 August 07 6.1 and 6.2 August 07 August 07 5 August 07 August 07 Incorporated into 2.4

Report History

Decision type:

Urgency item

EITHER: Key decision [state the date it Yes it is a key decision (entered on forward was first entered into the Forward Plan plan in June 2007) OR Non-key decision OR For information (delete as applicable)

Authorised by Cabinet Date report Report deadline:31 Date report sent: 31 member:August 07 drafted:July 07 August 07 August 07 Report no.: Contact: Maggie Wilson, Head of Children’s Commissioning, 0208 825 5284