Research identifies widespread and serious legal failings by local authorities in relation to transport entitlement 23/08/2017 08:04

Research carried out by Leeds University has uncovered serious legal failings by local authorities (“LAs”) in relation to the information contained on their websites concerning transport entitlement for children with special educational needs (“SEN”) and/or disabilities. The research, funded by the disabled children’s charity Cerebra and  undertaken by students at the School of Law, Leeds University was conducted under the supervision of Professor Luke Clements and Sorcha McCormack.

Between November 2016 and January 2017 student volunteers at the School of Law analysed the websites of 71 English LAs to assess the accuracy and accessibility of their information concerning transport entitlement. IPSEA are delighted to have contributed to this important research and our submission can be found in Annex 3 of the report.

 The main findings in the report included:

  • Almost half of the sites were considered difficult to understand and/or to navigate (para 4.07);
  • Almost half of the sites failed to include mention of one of the four statutory categories of eligible children (para 4.09);
  • Four out of ten sites failed to provide information as to how an application could be made for supported school transport (para 4.13);
  • Almost four out of ten sites ‘failed make it clear that children who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their SEN, disability or mobility issues are entitled to transport’ (para 4.10);
  • In many sites reference was made to non-statutory (arguably unlawful) local criteria (para 4.10).

The report describes the legal failings as:

“at the very least, reckless: in the sense that it is probably cost effective not to provide clear and concise information as this will deters families’ from accessing their statutory entitlements”. (para 5.01)

In terms of remedial action, the report recommends:

“The Secretary of State would appear to be under a public law duty to have regard to these findings and to consider taking action to address this failure”. (para 5.05)

If you want to know more about the law on transport and what your rights are, you can find plenty of information here. If you require advice from one of our specially trained volunteers you can book a call back here.

 

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