Child with special educational needs taken to wrong house then abandoned in garden by council-funded taxi

Councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton. Photo: Steve Adams

Councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

A child with special educational needs was taken by Norfolk County Council-funded transport to the wrong house - and then abandoned to wait in his garden until his parent got home.

In the wake of the blunder, Norfolk County Council is investigating what went wrong and is prepared to remove the taxi driver from its list of 'preferred drivers' to transport youngsters with special educational needs.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's children's services committee today (Tuesday) by Labour county councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton, who represents Sewell ward in Norwich.

She said: 'I was extremely concerned to learn that a child in my division who has special educational needs was taken by Norfolk County Council funded transport to the wrong house, subsequently arrived home 30 minutes late and was left unattended in the garden until his parent returned from collecting his siblings.'

Mrs Brociek-Coulton said what had happened was 'disgusting'.

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Stuart Dark, chairman of the children's services committee, said: 'This is of concern to us also and we have robust procedures in the event of this kind of incident.'

The council said when such issues are raised, the authority's travel and transport department make direct and immediate contact with individual transport providers.

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The council said suspension of drivers and/or passenger assistants takes place pending an investigation and the incident is reported to the local authority designated officer as a serious safeguarding breach.

The council said investigations can lead to permanent withdrawal of authority for staff to work on council contracts or termination of contracts with operators.

It was not made clear in today's meeting what has happened in the case of this child.

The council said transport staff, including taxis, receive safeguarding training every three years and they must pass the course before they are issued with a county council identity badge to work on transport contracts.

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