Lollipop patrol hit by council savings
Reporter: DAWN MARSDEN and HELEN KORN
Date online: 16 November 2012
SCHOOLS across Oldham will have to pay for their own lollipop men and women to save the council £187,000 per year.
In a letter to all primary and secondary schools, Phil Matley, head of Highways and Engineering, says it has been a “very difficult decision” but necessary as the council strives to make cuts of £31million by 2015.
The letter states: “School crossing patrol is not a statutory service, so councils do not have a legal duty to provide it, although many do choose to provide it as a discretionary service.
“The law states that it is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children arrive safely at school, not the responsibility of the local authority.
“The council is therefore considering ceasing to fund the service from March 31, 2013, to make the revenue saving of £187,000 per annum.”
Schools must now opt for one of three choices: Buy the service from the council, find their own crossing patrol or go without a lollipop man or woman.
If 20 schools opt to pay for the council’s service, the cost per patrol will be £5,377. This falls to £4,561 if 40 schools choose this option.
Concern was raised several years ago when the council tried to implement the same changes.
Teaching unions were worried that schools would face liability for any claims should there be an accident if they were paying for patrols themselves. But Mr Matley has assured schools that the council would be liable for any such insurance claims.
Schools opting to use a volunteer or member of staff to man the crossing will be provided with training for the role and a uniform. The letter adds once the new system is in place, the council will strive to “fully retain the integrity of the service, while examining ways of updating the operation, increasing efficiency and the input of the service users in shaping the future of the service.”
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