SOS Transport Sefton has today issued a public statement in relation to Sefton Council’s recent announcement on post-16 SEN transport provision in the borough:
“SOS Transport Sefton are relieved and delighted that the threat to school transport for disabled over 16s in Sefton appears to have lifted. At Southport Town Hall on 23 April 2015, our petition of 5,583 signatures was presented to the Mayor of Sefton at a full Council meeting. In response, Leader of the Council Peter Dowd gave an assurance, on the record, that there will be no cuts to post-16 transport to any special schools or colleges in Sefton.
We are very happy with this outcome, and are pleased that the worry and anxiety caused by the threat of removal of this vital service has been laid to rest. It is reassuring to know that the daily challenges faced by families of disabled children will not be exacerbated, and that no obstacles will be placed in the way of students with Special Educational Needs attending Sefton’s excellent specialist schools and colleges.
We still have serious concerns about the manner in which Sefton Council conducted their public consultation, in particular, the skewed and misleading questionnaire which was issued to parents, carers and young people. On 19 April we sent a parody consultation questionnaire to every councillor in Sefton in order to highlight these concerns (http://twitdoc.com/43LI). At the Council meeting on 23 April, the flaws in the consultation process were acknowledged, and the committee of SOS Transport Sefton was invited to assist in efforts to improve the way future public consultations are carried out.
If this particular consultation is typical of all public consultation exercises carried out by Sefton Council, then, in our view, there is a deeply disturbing failure in the democratic process in local government in this borough, which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to restore local democracy and public confidence.”