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Frequently Asked Questions intro

This handy list of frequently asked questions could help you, whether you're a newly approved supplier or one of our current transport operators

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How do I contact the council?

You can contact us on via phone and email.   

Find all our contact details here. 

Are Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks required?

Yes. It is mandatory that any driver (and, where deployed, passenger transport assistant) are in receipt of a satisfactory and up to date Enhanced DBS check covering 'Child and Adult Workforce'.

There are no exceptions to this. It is your responsibility to ensure these checks are in place and that renewals are applied for on time. 

Find out more about applying for a DBS check here.

What information do I need to provide in relation to the drivers/passenger transport assistants and vehicles I deploy on a contract?

We require evidence that you are providing a fully compliant operation.

This will be done in part by undertaking unannounced spot checks and monitoring exercises outside schools/day centres. It is also necessary for you to submit compliance information on a regular basis. From time to time, we will carry out pre-arranged audits on the information submitted.

 An example of the compliance information that needs to be completed by you can be found here.

Maintaining a record of this will enable you to keep track of renewal dates such as:

  • DBS’s
  • MOT’s 
  • insurance renewals 

Once completed, it needs to be submitted to us prior to the start of each school term.

Is there a code of conduct my drivers and passenger transport assistants are expected to follow?

We expect all transport personnel deployed on our contracts to:

  • act professionally
  • discharge their duty of care 
  • display the highest standards of customer service

Further information is provided in the Drivers' Handbook here and Passenger Transport Assistants' Handbook here. 

What training do drivers and passenger assistants need to undertake?

The training that drivers and/or passenger transport assistants need to undertake will vary. This depends on the type of contract they are operating.

For example, if you operate a contract for vulnerable adults attending a day centre, then your team will be required to attend more training sessions than if they were operating a route for young people attending a high school sixth form.

Find out more about the various training programmes here.

What about the vehicles we deploy on council call-off contracts – are they subject to particular standards?

Yes. Any vehicle deployed on a contract must meet certain contractual standards, as well as legal requirements. Find out more about vehicle requirements here.

Are there particular standards that apply to the transportation of wheelchair passengers?

Yes. There are a number of requirements that need to be met for the transportation of passengers in wheelchairs, to ensure they have a safe and comfortable journey. Find out more about wheelchair requirements here.

I have won a contract to transport children to a special school. Do I need to contact their families before their first journey?

In the case of transport provided for  vulnerable adults attending day centres or children with special educational needs and disabilities, you must ensure that a 'meet & greet' is undertaken prior to the first journey.   

This will involve the designated Driver and Passenger Transport Assistant making prior arrangements to meet each family at a mutually convenient time. They can introduce themselves and show the passengers the vehicle that they will be travelling on.    It will also provide an opportunity for the family to share information on their child's needs and for the two parties to exchange contact details.   

Meet and Greets must also be undertaken for any additional passenger that is subsequently added to the route. If the family decline the offer to meet because the date/time offered is inconvenient to them, then an alternative date/time should be agreed for the meeting, but this should always be before the first journey with the passenger is undertaken. 

Is it necessary to maintain the same dedicated driver/passenger transport assistant on a route?

Yes.  For transport put in place for children with special educational needs and disabilities and vulnerable adults there must be a consistent deployment of the same dedicated Driver and the same dedicated Passenger Transport Assistant for each individual route.   

This is because such passengers require familiarity and routine on a day-to-day basis. Any failure to meet this requirement must be reported to us immediately. 

What do I need to do to ensure I get paid for the services I have provided?

We've provided details of how we pay our contractors and the steps you need to take to ensure accurate and timely payments are made to you. Read the full guidance on getting paid by the council here.

How do I keep people informed if my route is running late for whatever reason?

If your route is running late, it is essential that the passengers to be collected (as well as their parents/carers, school and day centre staff) are informed as soon as is practically possible.  Find out how you can provide timely updates on any service disruption here.

What should I do if my route is involved in a serious incident or road traffic accident?

Such occurrences are few and far between thankfully, but they do occur and quite understandably they cause a lot of distress to passengers and their families and friends.  It is, therefore, essential that you follow the accident and incident guidance outlined here.

Breakdowns and delays shouldn’t happen very often but if they do, what action should I take?

There are several actions that you should ensure are carried out in the event of a breakdown or delay. 

Find out what actions to take here.

Can I sub-contract my route to another operator?

As an operator, you are at liberty to sub-contract work to another operator, but you must first seek permission from ourselves to do so. This applies regardless of whether the subcontractor is also a member operator on the DPS. Permission will not be unreasonably withheld.

What happens if it is snowing heavily, do I still operate?

The scenarios that can arise in the event of heavy snowfall are numerous and it is not possible to cover them all in detail. We have however, provided general guidance on operating in hazardous weather conditions here.

In the event of an emergency closure affecting a school or day centre served by my call-off contract, will I get paid?

Where 12 hours’ notice or more is given by the council or the establishment, highlighting that the establishment served is closed on a day it would normally be expected to be open, no payment for that day will be made.  

You should regularly check the council website for notification of school closures here.

I wish to end my operation of the route before the contract end date. Am I allowed to do so without incurring penalties?

Yes, you can discontinue the operation of a route should you need to do so irrespective of the reason. However, you are required to provide us with 4 weeks’ written notice of your intention to do so and it is your responsibility to ensure the contract continues to operate during this notice period.

Can the council end my route before the normal contract end date?

Yes, we can terminate a route before the normal contract end date, but we are required to give you 4 weeks’ notice if a contract has been operating for over 12 months and the reasons we’re terminating it early are not performance related.    

Where a contract has been in place for 12 months or less, we have discretion to vary the notice period to be anything from no notice to up to 4 weeks’ notice.    

There are some circumstances, which arise only occasionally, where no notice will be paid to you when we terminate a contract early. This will happen where a contract is no longer required due to circumstances that are beyond our reasonable control. An example would be where a contract was in place to transport two siblings only and their family moved address meaning they no longer had a need for the transport assistance, effectively resulting in the contract becoming null and void. 

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