Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury, B69 3DB

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


An apology was received from Councillor Ali.




Declarations of Interest

Members to declare any interests in matters to be discussed at the meeting.


Councillor Ahmed declared a personal interest in that he was a registered taxi driver outside of Sandwell.




Additional Items of Business

To determine whether there are any additional items of business to be considered as a  matter of urgency.


There were no additional items of business to consider at the meeting. 



SEN Transport arrangements: September 2021 to February 2022 pdf icon PDF 351 KB

To use existing contracts with providers for the continued provision of SEN transport until 23rd February 2022.



Approval was sought to initiate a tender process using the current Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for the passenger transport contracts from 1st September 2021 until 23rd February 2022.


The Local Authority had a duty and powers to make particular travel arrangements for children with special educational needs and disabilities to facilitate their attendance at an appropriate education provision.


The current DPS for the provision of SEN transport would have ended on 31st July 2021. Contracts had been procured through the current DPS on an annual basis from 24th February each year, up to 23 February 2022.


A closed bid tender process had been held for the award of passenger transport contracts, effective from 1 September 2021 and the proposal for awards to be made had been set out in the report to the Cabinet meeting on 16 June 2021.


A number of challenges had been made regarding the proposals contained in the June 2021 Cabinet report which resulted in the decision of the Cabinet being deferred pending review. At the request of the Leader of the Council, an internal review had been immediately established.


The resultant internal review, the process of assurance regarding the procurement process via the Council’s Audit and Risk Committee, and the request of the Council’s Corporate and Budget Scrutiny Board and Children’s Services and Education Board to jointly examine existing and proposed arrangements for SEN transport provision, was underway.


The need to ensure arrangements were in place in readiness for the start of the next academic year was understood by Cabinet to be critical. Failure to make such arrangements would have breached the Council’s statutory duty. There was a lead-in time for the requisite arrangements to be made. Given the issues arising in respect of the matter and the tender exercise, a very limited window existed to be able to utilise the existing DPS to secure the requisite providers required to ensure service continuity for the start of the academic year for providers that are not able to continue to provide the service from September onwards.


In response to a question raised by the Chair of the Budget and Corporate Scrutiny Management Board, the Leader of Sandwell Council reported that the reason for the delay in bringing the matter before members was to ensure the Council had received the necessary legal advice before extending the current contract. It was also important that the suppliers were contacted and on board with the extension of the current contracts to ensure the continuation of service.


In response to a question raised by the Chair of the Children’s Services and Education Scrutiny Board, the Leader of Sandwell Council reported that the use of Personal Budgets to support transport costs for those families with children and young people with SEND had been discussed and was something that could be considered and accommodated in the future. There had been an increase of the use of Personal budgets over recent years and communicating this option to parents was something that the Council would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 140/21