51 of 61 School Crossings Saved

Dorset County Council's Cabinet has agreed to continue to fund 51 of its 61 school crossing patrol sites.

Funding will be withdrawn from 1 April 2012 from 10 sites, five of which do not meet the nationally agreed criteria and five of which operate on an existing pedestrian crossing.

Local communities will be offered the opportunity to identify alternative funding, possibly using sponsorship arrangements, to continue to provide a crossing patrol at these 10 sites under the county council's management.

Members of the Cabinet considered the findings of a cross-party policy development panel set up to discuss the options for alternative funding of the service by local communities. The council had proposed to withdraw funding for all 61 sites in order to achieve savings of £200,000, part of plans to save £54.9m over three years.

The Cabinet yesterday agreed to all of the panel's recommendations, which were:

1. That the county council continues to implement the nationally agreed criteria for the establishment and retention of authorised school crossing patrol sites and that this becomes its formal policy.

2. That as a consequence of adopting this policy, funding be withdrawn from 1 April 2012 for all five non-criteria school crossing patrol sites and for this policy to apply to any sites in the future where the national criteria is no longer met.

3. That funding be withdrawn from 1 April 2012 for all five school crossing patrol sites that operate at formal signal controlled pedestrian crossing facilities or zebra crossings and that this policy applies to any sites in future where a school crossing patrol is replaced by a signal controlled or zebra crossing.

4. That the development of sponsorship arrangements be utilised where possible with local communities, which would enable school crossing patrols to continue in those areas where the criteria were not met or where the site operates on the highway at a signal controlled or zebra crossing.

5. And that school crossing patrol staff be offered redeployment from non-criteria sites to vacant criteria sites where appropriate.

Peter Finney, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for highways and transport, said:

"This decision was the culmination of several months' hard work by a cross-party policy development panel set up to look at the school crossing patrols issue. Unfortunately, no community was able to help us with additional funding for the service. However, we have listened to what people had to say, and have agreed to retain all 51 school crossing patrols on sites which meet the national criteria. But in the current financial climate, we can no longer afford to continue funding the service at those sites which do not meet the criteria or which have pedestrian crossing facilities."