A call to bring back patrollers Indies want Nats to reinstate axed jobs
South Lanarkshire Council’s independent councillors have this week called on the SNP administration to reinstate the 20 axed crossing patrollers in the area.
The local authority agreed, as part of the budget process in February 2017, to axe the patrollers as part of a £100,000 savings exercise.
However the independent group on South Lanarkshire Council – which includes councillors Jackie Burns, Margaret Cooper, Joe Lowe, Jim Wardhaugh and Sheena Wardhaugh – say that having read the auditors’ report last week and noted reserves of £98 million, they are calling for the recent decision to withdraw the crossing patrollers to be reversed.
The independents say they now plan to write to the leaders of all groups in the council to support their position.
Larkhall councillor Jackie Burns said: “I have attended a number of meetings with parents and this is a cut too far.
Five out of the 20 crossing patrols are being revoked in the Larkhall and Ashgill area.
“In Ashgill this was the only crossing patroller in the village. When the new Dalserf Primary School opened in 2011, the council put in a crossing patroller on a temporary basis for three months.
“Due to poor communication between the council departments, this patroller remained in place for six years. The council has raised the expectation of the people of Ashgill that this patroller was justified.
“With increased housebuilding and volumes of traffic going through Ashgill, the risks to children will increase.
“We have asked that the £100,000 to cut the crossing patrollers should be taken from the reserves.”
Gordon Mackay, head of Roads and Transportation at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “Even though there is no statutory obligation to provide school crossing patrols, we have continued to fund this service at a significant leve,
“In fact, figures show that South Lanarkshire provides the secondhighest level of funding of all 32 councils in Scotland this service.
“In total, we continue to invest some £1.2million in school crossing patrollers each year, meaning that we spend more per head of population than 30 of the 31 other councils in Scotland, including four of the five that have bigger populations than we do.
“However, there is no escaping the financial climate we are forced to live in and everyone is aware that the council has had to critically review all areas of service provision, especially those we are offering over and above our legal requirements.
“Following a review of the service, a number of patrollers were removed where it was appropriate to do so.
“These predominantly cover locations where there is a small number of children using the patrollers.
“Risk assessments were carried out in advance at every location where it was proposed to remove a patroller to ensure that roads could still be crossed safely provided that reasonable care is taken and that children are accompanied by an adult if required.” in delivering