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Start date: 2015-11-03
End date: 2015-12-14
Results: 2016-03-03

[ARCHIVED] Budget Proposal 2016/17 - Phase One: Learning Independence for Travel (LIFT)

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, with supporting information and Equality Impact Assessments

If you haven't already seen our video explaining why these changes are being proposed, please visit our Budget Proposals 2016/17 webpage.


The council provides an independent travel training service for children with special educational needs (SEN), known as the LIFT Programme. We commission this service through the National Star College, an independent further education (FE) college in Gloucestershire. The project has three staff, a Coordinator and two travel mentors, who are based at Richmond House in Newbury.

Children and young people who qualify for travel assistance through our SEN Transport Policy are eligible for support to enable them to become more independent travellers. Not all children with SEN have the capacity to learn to travel independently; however there are children who are transported to school by taxi or minibus, who could potentially walk to school or use a bus or train with the right support.

Travel training typically takes approximately one term, at the end of which the travel mentor will write a report on whether the child is safe to travel to school independently; if so the child will then be allocated with a bus or train pass. The programme works with secondary pupils and FE college students only and has a success rate of approximately 80%. Where children don't become independent travellers, it is usually because the route is too difficult given the rural nature of West Berkshire.


The budget for this service is £114,000 per annum. The proposal is to remove this budget and seek approval from the Schools Forum for the service to be funded through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) from April 2016. The DSG is grant funding allocated by the government to councils to fund schools and associated services. This funding sits outside of the council's budget.

What do we think the impact will be?

If the service can be funded from the DSG, there will be no impact. However, if the service cannot be funded from the DSG in 2016, (either because there isn't enough funding available, or because the Schools Forum doesn't agree to fund this service), the service will have to be decommissioned meaning children with SEN would not have the opportunity to receive travel training to become independent travellers without support from other organisations. There is likely also to be an increase in costs to the Home to School Transport budget.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

Other than using the DSG, there is no other option for reducing this expenditure.

This consultation is now closed.

What you told us

We received 78 responses to this consultation.

We have condensed all your comments into the 'Summary of Responses' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'.

These can be found in 'Documents' below.

What we did

A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on 11 February 2016.

This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

Following this, at the Full Council Meeting on 1 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal as part of setting the Revenue Budget for 2016/17.

At the vote, the budget was agreed with the suggested amendments.

It was agreed to proceed with this proposal.

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