Labour's Council Leader, Ranjit Banwait and Cabinet Member Asaf Afzal meet with school crossing patrol officers to discuss the future of their service.
The City Council is continuing to experience severe pressures on its budgets as a result of government cuts and underfunding, and currently has to find savings of £45 million by 2019. One of the areas which could be affected is the School Crossing Patrol (SCP) service, which is a non-statutory service and has previously been scheduled to have its budget withdrawn by 2017/18.
The Council recognise the value of the school crossing patrol service and although there is no obligation on the Council to continue the service, Council Cabinet have indicated that they wish to protect the service. The Council will seek to find alternative savings that could be used to safeguard the £147,000 currently spent on the SCP service.
Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Cohesion and Integration, said:
School crossing patrols are a valued community service and we wish to see them continue to support our young people and their parents. The service we currently provide is discretionary and the cost is met by local people rather than central government.
Although we had included a proposal in the Councils Budget setting process to remove funding for the SCP service we were always committed to doing everything we could to find alternative sources of funding to keep the service running. We haven’t given up on these efforts to work but we believe that it is now time to be clear that the service will continue and that the Council will find the necessary funding.
We are now looking at a specific proposal that can enable us to achieve this and will be seeking public views on this.
Since 2010, Councils nationwide have made cuts to School Crossing Patrol services due to Government Cuts under the Tory's austerity programme. The money being saved by cuts to SCP services doesn’t justify the danger that school children are being put in when the service isn’t there.
In a crude attempt to position responsibility for any cuts to the SCP service on Derby's Labour-led authority, the Tory MP for Derby North, Amanda Solloway started a petition that called on the city council to protect the jobs of lollipop ladies and men, however Labour councillors have taken it much further and have not only secured the jobs of SCP officers across the City but are actively campaigning for the government to make School Crossing Patrols a statutory service nationwide.