Agenda item

Travellers Education service

The committee to consider proposals for the future delivery of this service. Report to follow


The Committee considered proposals to close the Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Education Team. This was a non statutory service affected by the budget savings required by the directorate and Council.  The service had been operating for many years and was valued for its contributions to the Traveller, Gypsy Roma communities.  The service provided advice, guidance, training and support to Children Centres, schools and colleagues and undertook casework with children and their families. The Committee were informed that over recent years much good work had been done to equip, the settings outlined above, to meet the needs of Travellers and Gypsy Roma children. In light of this and, given the need to radically reduce expenditure, the Committee were assured that these settings would have the capacity to meet the needs and responsibilities of this group.


Clarification was sought on the responsibility for children, from these minority groups, that were not attending school. It was noted that the Education Welfare service were the accountable service for ensuring that all children were in school and should be the point of contact for reporting any concerns on children seen not to be at school.


Members enquired about what the impact had been of the equalities assessment completed on this unit closure and whether the findings of the assessment had any bearing on the outcome of the recommendations in the main report.  Overall, concern was expressed on the length of the Equalities Impact Assessments attached to all reports considered by the Committee and their connection to the outcome of the restructures being considered. Clarification was sought on what  the information requirements were for an EQIA or whether a summary of the key information was allowable. The Assistant Chief Executive agreed to speak with Equalities team about how the assessments considered by Committee can be shorter without an impact on the due process.


The Committee noted that the displaced staff would be subject to redeployment process but it was unlikely they could be transferred to another service area with responsibility for this minority community.  In the responses to the consultation about the delivery of support services to this community, the Committee also learned that there were likely to be private organisations which schools could purchase this support need from if required.


The Employee side expressed their objections to the recommendations contained in the report and asked the Committee to consider the future capacity of Children’s Centres, Connexions and Education Welfare team, which were already part of separate restructuring exercises, and how they would take on the responsibilities of this team.   In the Employee side’s view, there was already a strong reliance on the traveller’s team for support on cases from the Education welfare team. The Employee side advised the Committee that one of the displaced post holders was from Gypsy Roma dissent and was able to effectively communicate with the community saving the Council the costs associated with translation. Although the team was small it was unique and provided a vital service. Members noted that no consultation had been carried out with users, on the recommendation of the service manager, as   the users would have been unable to respond in writing. The Chair advised the meeting that, in keeping with the consultation processes followed by other services on budget savings affecting services, there should be consultation in an appropriate format carried out with the users of the service. The Committee agreed that consultation with users of the service is carried out and a further report with these responses considered by the Committee in May.







That following necessary consultation with users a further report is considered by the Committee at a special meeting in May.


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