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Joint venture partnership for community transport agreed
The transport needs of vulnerable members of our community will be met by a new joint venture partnership.
Southend–on-Sea Borough Council has teamed up with London Hire Community Services to deliver all passenger services for adults and children with learning or physical disabilities, via an integrated transport model from January 2020.
It will replace the existing mix of in-house and contracted services, for which all contracts expire in July 2019, though discussions are ongoing to extend them while the joint venture partnership is put in place.
Simon Leftley, deputy chief executive for people, said: “I’m pleased to be able to confirm the agreed joint venture partnership with London Hire Community Services, which will help us to provide all such transport services from one provider, streamlining the service.
“London Hire Community Service has a proven record in providing community transport services in some boroughs across London, and we look forward to working with them to develop and finalise the detail of the 10 year contract under which we will work together.
“We have written to all local users, their carers and the services they use, to explain the outcome of the recent passenger transport review. Whilst we don’t anticipate any change to the service we currently provide, we would like to reassure the public that we understand the needs of the passengers who use our services and how some may find changes to their routine, routes or drivers difficult to cope with. With that in mind we will try to minimise the amount of change, and give plenty of notice of any unavoidable changes.
“We are planning engagement events to speak with service users, schools and other invested partners, to answer any questions that might arise.”
The transport services covered by the new joint venture partnership include; home to school services for children with special educational needs and disabilities, supervised contact appointments for fostered children, respite care for disabled children, Dial-A-Ride, and services for adults with learning disabilities.
The assessment processes in place to determine eligibility and level of need will remain the same.
A spokesperson from London Hire Community Services said, “We are delighted to be working with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to deliver a range of high quality, fully integrated transport services that meet the current and future needs of the people of Southend. We are very much looking forward to developing professional relationships and working closely with a range of stakeholders including service users, schools, day centres, invested partners and local transport providers over the next ten years. We are sure these relationships will help us design and shape Southend’s core transport services of the future.
“Using our extensive knowledge and experience of providing a range of high quality transport services elsewhere, we will be taking an innovative approach to ensure that future community transport services in Southend are sustainable, offer more choice to more people and are accessible to all. However, we also fully understand how important it is to provide continuity and stability to those who currently use the service.
“The 10 year contract award enables the joint venture partnership to plan ahead and carefully consult with everyone concerned to ensure any future developments have been created around service users’ needs. We very much look forward to meeting people at the range of engagement events that are planned to share our ideas, answer any questions and obtain peoples’ views.”
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