A service to help children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) travel to and from school will be brought under Haringey Council’s control.

The borough’s travel buddies scheme will be insourced in a move the council claims will improve the service, cut costs and give staff better terms and conditions. 

Made up of 62 staff members, the travel buddies service aims to help young people with special needs to travel independently.

Concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and viability led the previous provider to tell the council they intended to stop running the service. Following a review and consultation, the council opted to bring the travel buddies team in house, and cabinet members gave their approval during a meeting on Thursday, July 22.

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Cllr Zena Brabazon, cabinet member for early years, children and families, told the meeting the insourcing move was “an all-round good news story” and “part of the long journey of reforming special needs transport in the borough”.

The consultation with staff revealed 92 per cent of respondents were in favour of moving to the council’s direct employment.

According to the cabinet report, in-house delivery will save money and help promote walking and cycling, as well as improving the service for pupils. Instead of paying “substantial management costs and fees to an external provider”, the council will invest in locally-based staff, the report adds.

Cllr Brabazon added that after transferring to the council’s employment, the staff would receive the London Living Wage on local authority contracts.

Cabinet members unanimously agreed the report’s recommendation to bring the service in-house.