View NSCB Procedures View NSCB Procedures

1.10 Transporting Children and Young People Safely

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter applies to all employees involved in transporting children and young people, including foster carers, adopters and day carers. It details the assessment that should be carried out of every child's individual transport requirements.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Children Act; Schedule 2 Sections 8, 16 and 17

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Highway Code, Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 38

Children and Families Act 2014, Section 95

AMENDMENT

In July 2017, text in Section 3, Child Care Seats and Restraints was replaced with a link to GOV.UK, Child car seats: the law.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Individual Transport Assessment
  3. Child Care Seats and Restraints
  4. Roadworthiness of Vehicles
  5. Induction
  6. Third Party Provision
  7. Volunteer Driver
  8. Ad Hock Arrangements

    Appendix 1: Taxi Operators and Taxi Drivers Operator Protocol


1. Introduction

1.1 The safe transporting of children and young people receiving our services should not be seen as a separate dimension, but should be integral to the planning and delivery of care.
1.2 This practice guidance is intended to clarify principles and expectations in relation to the transporting of children and young people and provide tools for reducing the associated risks.
1.3 The guidance applies to all department employees involved in transporting children and young people as well as to foster carers, adopters and day carers.


2. Individual Transport Assessment

2.1 An assessment of every child's individual transport requirements will be carried out using the Child Care Risk Assessment - Section 2 Transporting Children and Young People Safely (Appendix 1: Taxi Operators and Taxi Drivers Operator Protocol ).
2.2 The assessment will form the basis for good practice by providing a systematic way of identifying and recording the risks associated with transporting individual children as well as strategies employed in managing them.
2.3 The assessment should be produced and reviewed in line with the guidance in Table 1 below.
2.4 It may be necessary to share the assessment with relevant staff and relevant agencies to ensure continuity of good practice. For example, if it seems likely that a child may need to be transported outside of normal office hours, the emergency duty team (EDT) may need to be informed of any specific risks or requirements identified on the Child Care Risk Assessment - Section 2 Transporting Children and Young People Safely.

Table 1 - Transport assessment guidance

Service User Completed at: Completed by: Arrangement for review
Child Looked After Placement planning meeting or in the case of emergency admission, as soon as possible after a placement has been made Child Care social worker Looked After Review
Child in receipt of Day Care Service At introductory meeting Jointly by Day Carer staff, Day Carer and Parent/Carer At 3-monthly Service Review


3. Child Care Seats and Restraints

3.1 The Law

See, GOV.UK, Child car seats: the law.

3.2 Duty of Care

The law notwithstanding, research shows that the best way to protect children in transit is to place them in a properly fitted, purpose-made car seat. The suitability and correct fitting of car seats is therefore crucial to the safe transporting of children. In view of this, the department has put the following measures in place to advise and support those responsible for the procurement and fitting of such equipment.

Fact sheet entitled 'Child Car Seats' offers information and advice about buying, fitting and use of car seats. All new staff, foster carers and day carers should be provided with a copy of this information as part of their induction into the department.

The fact sheet is available at:
Web: RoSPA, Child Car Seats
Tel: 0121 248 2000

Additional advice and information is available as follows:

Department for Transport: 'Seat belts and child restraints' -
Web: Think direct
Tel: 0300 123 1102

RoSPA: 'Carrying Other People's Children Safely' -
WebRoSPA
Tel: 0121 248 2000

Training

Training is provided throughout the year for staff transporting children.

The events will take place across the county and will be available to foster carers, adopters and day carers as well as to staff.

Carers may chose to get their car seats professionally fitted by the company supplying them.

Disabled children

Conventional car seats and restraints do not always meet the needs of disabled children. Each case should be looked at individually and practitioners need to be aware that specialist equipment often requires additional and specific equipment to secure it in transit. In such cases, practitioners should seek advice from:

Chris Holland
Fleet and Compliance Manager
Transport and Travel Services
Central Depot
Abbey Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham
NG2 5NE
Tel: 0115 9694396


4. Roadworthiness of Vehicles

4.1

Whilst Health and Safety Legislation places the responsibility for the proper maintenance of vehicles used in carrying out the department's business with the employer, Road Traffic Legislation places it on the owner or driver of the vehicle. Clearly both the County Council and the individual directly providing the transport have a joint duty to ensure that the vehicles used to transport children and young people are legal and roadworthy.

In carrying out the department's duty in relation to this, line managers will put into place mechanisms to check that those providing transport have a valid driving licence and up to date car tax, MOT and insurance.

Table 3 - Mechanism for checking documentation in relation to the roadworthiness of vehicles

Provider Mechanism Actioned by: Arrangements from Review
Staff As part of induction or for existing staff in supervision as part of the Health and Safety agenda Line Manager In supervision as part of the Health and Safety agenda
Foster Carers As part of the Health and Safety Assessment and Annual Review Supervising social worker As part of Annual Review
Day Care Services As part of induction Day Care Manager At 2-monthly monitoring meeting
Adopters As part of Home Study Adoption social worker  


5. Induction

5.1 The induction process offers the ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the department's arrangements for the safe transporting of children and young people.
5.2

As a minimum, those responsible for planning induction should ensure that new staff and carers are:

  • Informed of the Child Care Risk Assessment - Section 2 Transporting Children and Young People Safely;
  • Informed where they may get advice regarding the specialist equipment used by disabled children;
  • Provided with a copy of fact sheet entitled 'Child Car Seats' that offers information and advice about buying, fitting and use of car seats;
  • Aware of the requirement to provide documentation in relation to their vehicle i.e. driving licence and up to date car tax, MOT and insurance.


6. Third Party Provision

6.1 The department currently provides some of its transport through third party providers such as taxi operators and volunteer drivers. This mode of transport should not be used routinely, but only as a last resort when no other transport is available. For example, good parenting practice requires that foster carers personally transport children to school and appointments etc., whenever possible.

 

Taxis:

6.2 A protocol is in place detailing the level of service taxi operators are expected to provide in relation to transporting our children (See Appendix 1: Taxi Operators and Taxi Drivers Operator Protocol ).
6.3 District Councils are responsible for the licensing of taxi drivers and process DBS checks (at the enhanced level) on individual taxi drivers. All District Council's, with the exception of Mansfield, renew checks every 3 years (no exceptions).
6.4 Whilst Transport and Travel Services are responsible for enforcement of the protocol, and the District Council undertakes DBS checks, staff and carers need to be particularly aware of the potential risks involved in transporting children and young people in this manner.
6.5 The main issue for consideration will be whether or not an escort is required to transport a child/young person safely. The risk assessment should be used to ascertain this and should take into consideration, not only the child's age, but also his/her level of understanding/vulnerability.
6.6

Issues to consider when risk assessing the use of a taxi:

  • Length and context of journey;
  • Number and mix of child being transported;
  • Age and sense of responsibility of child/young person;
  • Risk of absconding;
  • Risk of unpredictable behaviour;
  • Risk of allegation against driver;
  • Risk of service user leaving the vehicle whilst in motion;
  • Risk of abuse or attack.
6.7 The responsibility for providing an escort rests with the staff member organising the transport. Arrangements for providing an escort must be recorded on the Child Care Risk Assessment - Section 2 Transporting Children and Young People Safely and shared with Transport and Travel Services to ensure compliance with the assessment.

6.8

Procedure for booking taxis

 

Please ensure that the following procedures are followed when booking taxis.

Always contact Transport and Travel Services when a taxi is required. DO NOT contact taxi firms directly.

  • Ensure that you have the correct budget code. NB Check this on each occasion - do not assume the code you used last time is appropriate on subsequent occasions;
  • If more than one taxi is required at the same address at the same time, make sure that Transport and Travel Services are aware of the circumstances. This will avoid duplication/cancellation;
  • Consider the scenario where two social workers contact Transport and Travel Services and speak to two different people and maybe booking taxis from the same address but in different names. This could potentially lead to two different taxi firms arriving at the same time. Internal communication between case workers is really important to avoid mixed messages to Transport and Travel Services.

 

Cancellation

  • If a taxi needs to be cancelled please inform the Transport and Travel Services. DO NOT contact the taxi firm directly. If in exceptional circumstances this should happen remember to inform the Transport and Travel Services at the earliest opportunity.
NB. On occasions taxi firms may make a cancellation charge. This would normally only occur if the taxi has started its journey and incurred fuel costs.

 

Invoices

  • Invoices should be forwarded to Transport and Travel Services. DO NOT process them locally;
  • If transport receives an invoice which appears to cover a journey which they consider to be invalid; the taxi firm has to provide evidence that they undertook the work.
Transport and Travel Services have an excellent booking, tracking and invoicing system in relation to taxi journeys. If the procedures outlined above are adhered to there should be no double charging or miscoding.


7. Volunteer Driver

7.1

Volunteer Drivers should be recruited and managed in line with the County Council's Guidelines for Managing and Working with Volunteers. The guidelines provide a framework for managers who work with volunteers and include the following information and tools:

  • Recruitment and selection;
  • Volunteering with vulnerable adults and children;
  • Volunteer agreement;
  • Task description;
  • Induction and training check list;
  • Reimbursement and expenses;
  • Working with volunteers;
  • Working with volunteers on a one-off occasion.


8. Ad Hock Arrangements

8.1 There are situations when transport needs to be arranged at short notice. For example, a young person in residential care may not return to the home as expected and may consequently then need transporting back late at night. If a taxi is the only option, then staff should use a preferred provider. A list of preferred providers is available from Transport and Travel Services.


Appendix 1: Taxi Operators and Taxi Drivers Operator Protocol

Children and Young People Services Specialist Transport Unit Approval Taxi Companies (CYPSSTU)

  1. Only vehicles manufactured post 1985 may be used;
  2. Children travelling alone must occupy rear seats. Under no circumstances should a child travelling alone occupy the front seat of a taxi unless so authorised by the CFCSSTU;
  3. All vehicles must display a current Hackney or Private Hire plate;
  4. The Driver of the vehicle must at all times have on display his/her Taxi Drivers Badge;
  5. All Taxis used must have a means of communication via a Radio/Telephone or Mobile Phone;
  6. A taxi journey slip must be made out for each journey and signed for by the user, except for contract work;
  7. No smoking is to be allowed in the vehicle;
  8. Once at a pick-up-point the driver should make contact with the user and be prepared to assist them to the vehicle if required, just to sound the vehicle horn and wait for the user to get in is not acceptable;
  9. Service users confidentiality must be observed at all times by both the operator and the driver;
  10. All driving staff used on Children and Young People Services and Education work must be advised that as the majority of service users are essentially vulnerable, care must be exercised in the manner that they make personal contact and conversation. Being aware of this will reduce the possibility of a complaint or allegation being made against drivers due to a thoughtless comment or unnecessary contact;
  11. Drivers must be instructed that no change to either the pick-up or destination point should be made without the authorisation from (CFCSSTU) through the taxi operator's base;
  12. NO journey should commence without the occupants having their seat belts correctly fastened;
  13. The driver of any taxi able to carry an occupied wheelchair must ensure that the wheelchair and occupant are fully restrained/secured by means of an approved WTORS (Wheelchair Tie Down Occupant Restraint System);
  14. Any incident concerning a passenger travelling on board a hired vehicle must be reported to the operator at the earliest possible time who will record the incident for future reference;
  15. Any complaint made to the CFCSSTU regarding a taxi service must be investigated by the operator within 10 working days and a written report forwarded to the CFCSSTU.

End