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7. Personal Transport Budgets and Mileage claims for pupils with SEND
7.1 Personal Transport Budgets
Students of all ages with SEND who are eligible for transport are able to apply for a Personal Transport Budget. This can be awarded at the discretion of the Council and is a sum of money to support the pupil to travel from home to their school or educational setting.
A Personal Transport Budget is paid on the assumption that a pupil of statutory school age attends their school/educational setting 190 days a year (as determined by the government definition of a school year); or for students who are over 16 years old, that they attend a full-time programme of learning that is at least 540 guided learning (planned and funded) hours per year.
If a pupil or student receives a Personal Transport Budget part way through the school year, or attends school or learning on a part-time basis, the total payment would be on a pro rata basis to account for the reduced amount of time that a parent/carer would be responsible for transport arrangements.
What is a Personal Transport Budget?
The Personal Transport Budget allows families to have the freedom and flexibility to make their own travel arrangements rather than travelling on Council organised transport. It is not a short-term alternative while a transport application is being processed.
A Personal Transport Budget could be used in many ways, including:
- to pay for fuel and/or running costs on a family vehicle that is used to transport a student to school/educational setting
- lease a vehicle to use if you don’t have one
- paying for a shared taxi with other pupils
- paying for another person to take a sibling to school to free a parent/carer up to transport the pupil with SEND
- buying travel passes for other children in the family so that they can travel to and from school, allowing the parent/carer to transport the pupil with SEND
- paying for a travel pass for the pupil with SEND
- paying for childcare for another child to allow a parent/carer to take the pupil with SEND to school/educational setting
- working with the school to join up transport options with other parents (e.g. car share), encouraging a sense of community
Personal Transport Budgets can be used for any non-Council provided transport service. This means for, example, a public transport bus pass, commercially-provided closed school bus pass or rail pass. A Personal Transport Budget cannot be used for Council organised transport services, for example the Council’s Spare Seats scheme or to pay for Council transport for an annual fee.
Conditions of use for Personal Transport Budgets
If a parent/carer uses the Personal Transport Budget to employ someone (e.g. for childcare), then they will be responsible for complying with relevant rules regarding Tax and National Insurance, Employment Law, Insurance, Health and Safety or any other relevant rules or legislation in force at that time. In addition, it is good practice for parents/carers to make relevant and appropriate checks on whether employed staff have current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates; and that parents/carers arrange or pay for those checks if directly employing an individual who doesn’t have one.
Similarly, if a parent/carer uses the Personal Transport Budget to enter into contracts with organisations e.g. after school clubs, or individuals, the parent/carer would be responsible for complying with the terms and conditions of those contracts. This may include payment arrangements or notice of cancellation.
Personal Transport Budgets cannot be used in the following circumstances:
- to buy or utilise space on transport services from the Council
- for any purpose that does not enable the pupil to travel to/from the school/educational setting
- to travel to activities other than the educational setting, for example work experience
- for any activity that is illegal, unlawful or unsafe
- for other purposes that may bring the Council into disrepute
To apply for a Personal Transport Budget the student will need to:
- live within the area where Buckinghamshire is the local council
- have an Education, Health and Care Plan
- attend the school/s or educational setting/s outlined in the Education, Health and Care Plan. See section 10.2 for further information
- comply with the eligibility criteria described in section 3.9
All children with an Education, Health and Care Plan in the same family would be considered when agreeing the amount awarded via a Personal Transport Budget. There may be some circumstances where it is appropriate for a family to have 1 child travelling on Council arranged transport (and paying an annual fee), while the other child has a Personal Transport Budget. Where this is an appropriate arrangement this would be discussed with the family.
Appropriate spot checks will be carried out at set intervals and at a proportionate level to ensure that Personal Transport Budgets are used appropriately, in accordance with the Council’s quality assurance protocol for Personal Transport Budgets.
A Personal Transport Budget may be withdrawn in some circumstances, including if:
- a pupil’s attendance falls below 90% (this aligns with the government definition of “Persistent Absence” in school-age children which is an absence rate of 90% and below) - it would be recognised that attendance for some pupils may be affected by their medical needs
- a pupil regularly arrives late at school in the mornings or in an unfit state to learn
- if it becomes evident that a Personal Transport Budget is not being used appropriately
- there is a change to national legislation and/or the Council’s policies
Agreeing the amount of Personal Transport Budgets
The following factors will be taken into consideration alongside discussion with the family, to determine the appropriate personal budget amount:
- the special educational needs and disabilities of the pupil
- the travel distance
- how the pupil might travel to school
- the time the journey takes
- whether the pupil is able to travel alone or if they need to be accompanied
- the age of the pupil
- whether any specialist equipment might be required
The minimum amount that would be awarded with a Personal Transport Budget is 45p per mile. The cost of two return journeys per day of attendance at school (i.e. all four legs of the journeys) would be included in the Personal Transport Budget amount. As every family’s circumstances are different we are unable to determine an approximate upper limit. In many cases it may exceed the amount a family would pay if the Council were organising the transport on their behalf.
More detailed information can be found on our Personal Transport Budgets webpage.
7.2 Mileage Allowance for SEND
Personal Transport Budgets replace mileage allowances. However, there may be exceptional circumstances where a mileage allowance could be offered on a temporary basis.