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Lollipop patrol hit by council savings

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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If the council do not have a statutory duty to provide crossing patrols, then presumably the schools also have no statutory duty. Why should £4-5K be taken from the school budget to fund this? If it is a parental responsibility then it is down to them - that's what responsibility is about.

Trust Oldham Council with its highly paid executive to find a way of saving money like this. Perhaps we should force the council to carry out its 'statutory' duties like attending to the great many potholes in the roads etc.

This is a major item of road safety, and as the amount of money taken by the council in fines from parking tickets is also imposed they say in an effort to maintain road safety in our town the £187.000 should be taken out of this money rather than put into the general coffers.

i would rather lose the chief executive and save all these jobs....yes thats around his wage packet...

what do i get for my council tax is it is it just to pay wages and pensions for all the retired council workers.i would have thought the childrens safety came first

Looks a bit like shifting costs from one budget to another...from Highways to Education.... costs will still be met from the council so where's the saving?

What price the life of a child?

And how much exactly does it cost in purely monetary terms to investigate and run an enquiry into a fatal accident? You can reckon a couple of non fatals or a single fatal will wipe out any saving to the treasury.

Given many people's road sense these days, is this really such a wise idea? Shifting the blame onto the people that most of the time are nowhere near the kids on their way to school is really dumb.

Given that a lot of school funding for the majority of schools comes from the government, where is the actual saving?

How long until the first story of a kid knocked down at a crossing once covered by a lollipop person, and of course it will be the drivers fault!

Lets hope Cllr McMahon doesn't get run over during his tour of Oldham Schools because he's sacked the school crossing patrol!

council should be ashamed,make the savings somewhere else,councillors expenses,jaunts abroad,staff cars,petrol.you have a duty to keep our children safe,shame on you.

A council only has so much money, it is up to them to decide how to spend it. They want to provide money for Latics and the Rugby club. When you see the result from the Failsworth election it would appear this is what the people want.

greenacres boy......not all council workers are that well paid or have massive pensions to look forward to.we aren't and will never be treated like the staff,senior staff,councillors or chief exec through wages or pensions.after nearly 30 years my pension isn't all that rosy ,if you're going to comment on this then back it up with some facts.when job evaluation went through,most senior staff didn't lose money ,it was the lower end that lost out and this affects their wages and pensions.try again

Job evaluation downgraded the staff who work hard and also mangers didn’t loose a penny – the only people in the council are the frontline staff who are being hit the hardest – we are being asked to take voluntary redundancy now – last person turn lights off

ALL non statutory spending should be stopped. Every single department should have every bit of waste trimmed off it. Scrap the office of mayor while you're at it & save thousands on perks there too.

As long as the Ipsa is reduced to nothing and Westmister MPs get their hands back on their own expense accounts is all that matters. A few northern monkeys children dying due to lollipop politics isn't really an issue. This would never have happened under a Labour government, really.

How about scrapping the "school safety car" which is expected to cover 20 schools all at the same time and spends the majority of its time on roads away from schools? At present this car gets 30 cars a day outside schools so by my reckoning the potential revenue would be £70 x 30 cars x 100 schools x 190 days = £39,900,000 (in reality there would only have to be one offending car per school per week). The solution - issue school crossing patrols with cameras. Job done.

Why loose such a service? Increased Accident rates for Oldham, increased insurance costs for us all and another reason for people to avoid investing in Oldham.

Why not open the service for Advertising to help the costs? I am sure Halfords, McDonalds or even Oldham Football Club would jump at the chance to support road safety.

Got to be innovative during difficult times, rather than cause more hardship.


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