East Sussex taxi shambles

Update: the taxi shambles was featured on BBC Politics South East on 19th Sept. For the full segment click this link and go to about 18 minutes in.

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The ongoing shambles on East Sussex County Council school taxi contracts is covered in this week's Sussex Express (print edition only, as far as we can see). We quote here the words they carried from LibDem District Councillor Sean MacLeod, who is Chair of Lewes District Council's Licensing Committee. (Note that taxis as a whole come under the District Council's jurisdiction, but the schools contract, being an education matter, belongs to Conservative controlled East Sussex County Council.)

sean_macleod_cropped.jpgCllr MacLeod said, "My main concern is that there appears to have been a clear lack of due process when, in mid-July, they awarded this contract to 24x7 cars.

"This firm, according to the press release, did not have the cars to do the contract and had to order 160 vehicles in a less than four week turn around before the school term started. On top of this they would have had to have found 160 drivers and 160 support workers.

"To any reasonable thinking person, this turnaround is unrealistic and not achievable.

"What the County Council have effectively done is award a contract involving vulnerable school children to a firm with no taxis or staff.

"It's frankly shocking and I do believe that senior Conservative councillors should be deciding if it's time to resign.

"There are really also real safeguarding concerns; we are seeing vehicles not plated or with any identifiable signs.

"How is anyone to know if these drivers have had the appropriate checks other taxi drivers have when they are not even showing their plate number?

"East Sussex County Council have to remove this contract and hand it back to firms who have a proven record in East Sussex."

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