Change in transport arrangements - Frequently Asked Questions
Birmingham City Council’s existing contracted arrangements for Home to School transport are due to come to an end. We have written to all parents and carers who may be affected by a change in transport arrangements. We have also compiled a Frequently Asked Questions to help parent and carers further understand the changes. We will contact all parents and carers again if they are to be affected by any changes.
Why is the transport being re-tendered?
Transport is currently provided by contractors who are on a Transport Framework. The framework has come to an end and procurement law requires that a new framework be put in place.
What are the timescales for the new framework and re-tender?
The new framework is now in place and we have started to re-tender contracted routes. The new arrangements will be introduced between the beginning of January and the end of February 2020. All routes undertaken by National Express Accessible Transport (NEAT) will continue as normal.
How will the re-tender affect pupils and their parents or carers?
Pupils eligible for transport to and from school will continue to receive transport. Some pupils may notice no change at all if their current contractor is unchanged. Others may notice a change of contractor / driver, depending on the outcome of the tender process.
Will this affect the transport for my child?
Your child will continue to receive transport, but whether your particular arrangements change will not become clear until the tender process is completed and routes are allocated to contractors. Some routes may not change at all. Routes operated by NEAT will continue as normal.
How will I know whether transport for my child will change?
We will keep you informed of progress at key stages in the tender process and as soon as the implications for your child are confirmed, we will be in touch to let you know whether your child will be affected or not.
I have an individual taxi for my child; will this change?
All the routes currently undertaken will be under review and where appropriate routes will be consolidated to ensure the most efficient way to deliver children to school; however every effort will be made to ensure minimum disruption to pupils on transport and to take account of the specific needs of each pupil.
Will all the current routes stay the same?
Whilst some routes may remain exactly as they are, others may change based on the routing arrangements employed by the contractor.
How will a change of contractor be managed?
The changeover of contractors will be carefully managed and there are plans in place to communicate with parents / carers and schools. This is a process that is regularly undertaken as routes and individual requirements change, but particular planning will be put in place for change after the tender process.
Will all pupils on transport be affected?
It is unlikely that all will be materially affected as some routes and / or contractors may not change during the tender process. It is likely that many will notice some change from January to February 2020, even if it is only some new faces in the vehicle with them. As mentioned, NEAT routes will run as normal.
Why has there been no consultation?
Council rules do not require the authority to carry out full consultation as the service itself is not changing, only the manner in which it is delivered. However the Council understands that changing travel arrangements for children can cause stress and concern and we will keep you informed throughout and work with you to minimise disruption should changes be required.
I can’t remember this happening before; is it a normal part of Council operations?
This is part of a normal re-tendering process for the Council and one it is obliged to undertake. We will be ensuring parents can engage with us, provide feedback and be informed all the way through the process. We will listen to your views so that we can take them into account now and into the future to improve the change process.
What communications are being put in place for parents and carers and schools?
A specific communication plan is in place to keep all parents / carers and schools up to date with overall progress. Clear, specific information will be generated for individual families on how they and their children will be affected once the detailed tender process has been completed and individual arrangements finalised.
How will the changes impact schools?
In terms of children attending school, those who currently receive transport will continue to be brought to school and taken home as normal. The main change that schools may see is that there could be different vehicles and drivers on some routes when the tender is completed. The Travel Assist team will work directly with schools to establish new arrangements and to minimise disruption.