School bus changes after complaint

Scottish Borders Council changed school bus checking procedures following a complaint about a “missing” pupil, it has emerged.

The incident was investigated by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) which did not uphold the complaint, but advised the authority to apologise to parents for the failure of a decision letter to be “more empathetic”.

The complaint came from a man named Mr C in the SPSO report about a child feared to have gone missing while using the school bus service. It emerged that the child had stayed longer on the bus than they were meant to.

Mr C claimed the pupil had been put at risk because the driver did not know which children were travelling on the bus and had not checked to see if the child was on board.

Mr C complained to the council that the driver had not followed procedures, but the authority found he had followed the guidance in place at the time, back in 2013.

An SPSO investigation found no evidence the probe had not followed council procedure and did not uphold Mr C’s complaint.

It also concluded that changes to procedures had been made and no further problems had been reported.

However, it did find that SBC had not given parents “sufficient advice” about the changes it was making.

An SBC spokesperson said: “While the SPSO have not upheld this complaint, we have, through our investigation into the complaint and our work with the SPSO, identified a number of improvement actions that we believe will prevent a reoccurrence of this incident.

“We have also taken on board and actioned the recommendations made by the SPSO in their decision report.”