Posted on 6 August 2021
Children's Services at Derbyshire County Council is offering an opportunity to experience an interesting area and to acquire new skills for professional development.
When pupils gain a place at school or in a further education institution, parents or the young person can apply for transport assistance from the local authority such as a free bus pass. By law, if certain requirements are met, then the local authority will have a duty to provide transport assistance to successful applicants.
Transport applications are processed by officers in the Admissions and Transport Team (‘the Team’) within Children's Services. If the transport application from parents or a young person is rejected by the Team, then parents or the young person will have a right of appeal. First stage appeals are considered by senior officers in the Team, but if the parent or young person is still unhappy with the decision, they can ask for a second tier appeal. The second stage of the appeals process is comprised of a panel of independent officers who would sit to hear the appeal. The panel performs a quasi-judicial role and will consider the local authority’s case and the case of the parents or young person. The panel is required to take into account relevant transport legislation and policies in order to determine whether or not the appeal should be upheld.
If a second tier appeal is planned, panel members will be invited to sit in on an appeal hearing. Preparation time will involve reading the appeal papers before the hearing, and attending a short pre-briefing with the clerk prior to the start of the appeal. At the end of an appeal the panel will withdraw to make their decision in private and with support from the clerk. There will be some post-appeal work which would involve amending and approving the final decision letter that is normally drafted and sent out by the clerk. Each appeal usually lasts no longer than two hours and half a day is normally set aside for two appeals hearings. For complicated cases there could be large amounts of paperwork to read ahead of the hearing, and on some rare occasions, hearings may have to be heard in part and reconvened at a later date.
Full training will be given to new panel members and there will be an opportunity to shadow other experienced panel members before sitting on a first appeal. Panel members will have the support of the clerk who will be available before, during and after the appeal hearing. The clerk’s responsibility is to provide panel members with procedural and legal advice. We would welcome volunteers who we consider to be a suitable candidate. No formal qualifications are required but ideally those volunteers would be experienced members of staff such as teachers or senior members of the administrative teams.
Due to the current pandemic all appeals would be held virtually by Microsoft Teams.
If you think you would be interested or would like more information, please contact Sue Pegg:
Further information can be found on the Derbyshire County Council website, where you will be able to view the Council's transport policies.