Cuts threat to buses and school pa­trols

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - STAFF RE­PORTER news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

SCHOOL cross­ing pa­trols, Shop­mo­bil­ity ser­vices and the re­main­ing sub­sidised bus ser­vices in a south Wales county are un­der threat as the lo­cal author­ity looks to make fur­ther sav­ings.

In a re­port go­ing be­fore Brid­gend County Bor­ough Coun­cil on Tues­day of­fi­cials work­ing in the high­ways ser­vices de­part­ment say fu­ture fi­nan­cial sav­ings present “a sig­nif­i­cant challenge” and warn that non-statu­tory ser­vices are likely to be cut.

In the coun­cil’s “medium-term fi­nan­cial strat­egy” there are pro­pos­als to cut fund­ing for the school cross­ing pa­trol ser­vice next year by a third – around £20,000.The strat­egy also warns the Shop­mo­bil­ity ser­vice could close un­less it can re­cover the coun­cil’s an­nual fund­ing of £20,000 in 2019-20.

The ser­vice helps all peo­ple who con­sider them­selves to have mo­bil­ity prob­lems to con­tinue to get around city and town cen­tres in­de­pen­dently.

The re­port states: “The high­ways ser­vice will have to con­tinue to con­sider those ser­vices that are not a statu­tory pro­vi­sion and the re­al­is­tic level of ser­vice for those ser­vices that are statu­tory.

“Such con­sid­er­a­tions would ex­tend to ar­eas that have pre­vi­ously been high­lighted for con­sid­er­a­tion such as the school cross­ing pa­trol ser­vice, coun­cil-sub­sidised bus ser­vices, Shop­mo­bil­ity ser­vices, ser­vice level for high­way main­te­nance, struc­tures and staffing.”

The re­port in­forms coun­cil­lors on the im­pact of on­go­ing cuts be­ing made to cope with an­nual re­duc­tions in Welsh Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Since 2010 the high­ways ser­vices bud­get has been re­duced by £4m and it has led to staffing num­bers in some teams be­ing re­duced by up to 50%.

The high­ways ser­vice has tried to “min­imise the im­pact” on front­line ser­vices by do­ing things dif­fer­ently, but ad­mits with the re­duced num­bers there is added pres­sure on re­main­ing staff, who still have to de­liver the same work­load and man­age in­creas­ing de­mands from new leg­isla­tive frame­works.

Of­fi­cials say in the re­port that while func­tions are still be­ing de­liv­ered the re­sponse times for “non-pri­or­ity ar­eas” such as cut­ting back veg­e­ta­tion have in­creased and the abil­ity to de­liver “any­thing out­side of the core ac­tiv­i­ties has di­min­ished”.

It means the coun­cil is hav­ing to use con­trac­tors for any work out­side its core ac­tiv­i­ties, which it says has im­pli­ca­tions on work­load with com­mis­sion­ing, mon­i­tor­ing and qual­ity check­ing of any out­sourced work be­ing nec­es­sary.The re­port goes be­fore the sub­ject overview and scru­tiny com­mit­tee on Tues­day.

School cross­ing pa­trols are un­der threat in Brid­gend

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