Road Safety News
 

Suffolk's SCP service is under threat

Wednesday 8th December 2010

Suffolk County Council could axe its entire school crossing patrol service (SCPS), according to a report in the East Anglian Daily Times (EADT).

Sources at the council confirmed to the EADT that the entire £230,000 SCPS budget is set to be included in possible cuts to be discussed by the county’s finance scrutiny committee.

Final decisions, however, cannot be made until the county knows the exact settlement it will receive from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Sandy Martin, Labour group leader, said: “Parents all over Suffolk know how important it is for their children to get to school safely.

“The county council administration has a totally warped sense of priorities if they can’t see what a terrible decision this will be.

“Labour councillors at Suffolk County Council and in borough and district councils throughout the county will not rest until we have made the Conservatives see sense about this.”

According to the EADT report, Jane Storey, county deputy leader, said she knew SCPs were mentioned in the budget document, but did not know the details of the issue.

She said: “There are going to be a lot of things a lot of people are not going to be happy about – but I’m afraid this is the stark reality we are facing.”

Click here to read the full EADT report.

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As a former RSO in Suffolk I deplore this mean and unwarranted reduction in road safety activity. I have been told that the total saving will be just £174,000 which in terms of County expenditure is a mere drop in the ocean. Especially when the CEO alone earns in excess of £218,000 and extra staff have been recruited in The County Information section on high salaries. SCPs carry out an outstanding function both in terms of direct accident prevention and in road safety education. This decision should be condemned and opposed at every level.
David Williams MBE FIRSO

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Has anyone ever evaluated a SCP service? I'd be genuineley interested to know.
Mike Mounfield, Birmingham

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Sadly the communities that will suffer the most will be the disadvantaged communities where there is not a ready supply of spare money to help fund a locally paid SCP. The more affluent communities may well not have a problem.
Despite being someone who devotes a lot of out of work time to voluntary community work I would be seriously concerned if the service was staffed by volunteers. The SCP service needs the reassurance of guaranteed attendance and you do not have that in the voluntary sector despite the best will in the world.
This is not the way to run a vital and high profile road safety service.
Alan Hale, South Gloucestershire

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We are in a similar situation here in Dorset. The option being considered is a withdrawal of funding for the service, to be replaced either by funding from local communities or through delivery by "volunteers". Either way, it will be a considerable challenge for us to try to continue delivering an efficient and effective service if the proposals are confirmed. These are unprecedented times and we will have to work even more creatively in partnership with local communities.
Robert Smith

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