Local authority preferred list
Some schools are told that they must hire from a preferred list of transport companies provided to them by the local authority. This is not true. There is no where in law that requires this.
It is the legal responsibility of the governing body and head teacher to research and choose the transport operator for school trips – not the local authority. It is also their legal responsibility to check out companies they intend to use.
The transport companies listed and recommended by a local authority are normally the companies used by them for home to school transport. Local authorities rarely background check transport companies to ensure they are legally and safety compliant. BUSK however, does make such checks and this is why it can recommend Benchmark members who undergo independent audits and must meet a higher standard of operation that the legal minimum one.
Schools can ask their local authority to confirm what background checks are carried out on transport companies. It is BUSK's view that no local authority should recommend a transport company for school trips unless it has ensured they are legally compliant and undertake regular checks. An exception to this is where a local authority own and operate an in-house fleet and employ drivers to operate them. Some authorities do this and offer schools the opportunity to hire directly from them. This is different from a school using an operator on a preferred list.