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HCT Group supports Local Authorities with innovative 'payment by results' Travel Training Programme

Our Independent Travel Training scheme will help children with special educational needs (SEN) travel independently on public transport, which will have a huge lasting impact on their quality of life.

Posted: 01 Feb 2017

  • HCT Group’s ‘Independent Travel Training’ scheme will help children with special educational needs (SEN) travel to school on public transport
  • Acquiring this greater level of independence has a huge and lasting impact on the children’s quality of life
  • It can also mitigate Local Authorities’ spend on providing transport to school for SEN children, which costs on average c. £6,000 per child per year (and can be much higher)
  • HCT Group is delivering a new programme in Lambeth using a simple, scalable outcomes contract structure that provides Local Authorities with in-year cashable savings
  • This means that the Local Authority only pays if the training is successful and the child sustains independent travel
  • Bridges Ventures will provide up-front funding and ongoing support to HCT Group

HCT Group has partnered with Bridges Ventures to develop a new programme in Lambeth that helps children with special educational needs (SEN) travel to school via public transport – giving the children greater independence while also reducing costs for Lambeth Council.

Local Authorities are currently required by law to provide private transport to school for SEN children, usually via specialist minibuses or taxis. On average, this costs about £6,000 per SEN child per year, equating to a total cost of about £500m per year across the UK – and with an increasing number of children being classed as SEN, this cost is rising.

Travel Training is a proven method for enabling children and young people with SEN to travel independently on public transport rather than using specialist transport – helping to mitigate this cost. Crucially, it also has immediate and lasting benefits for the young person: it improves their ability to access education, after-school classes and social events and, in the longer term, to gain employment. It also has positive benefits for their families, who can manage their affairs more flexibly.

In a UK first, HCT Group will deliver this programme under an outcomes contract, whereby it will only receive payments from Lambeth Council if it achieves specific independence outcomes for the young people. One payment will be made on completion of the course; a second if the beneficiary maintains independence for one term subsequently; and a third if the beneficiary maintains independence for a full year. This should allow Local Authorities to realise cashable savings in the first year of the programme.

The programme will work with up to 200 young people aged 11-19 in Lambeth who are already using or have recently become eligible for SEN transport services. HCT will deliver a tailored programme over a six- to eight-week period, during which the young person will receive personal support and appropriate skills training. Following the course, beneficiaries will continue to receive support to ensure they are able to continue travelling independently.

The Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund, managed by specialist sustainable and impact investor Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”), is providing up-front funding for the programme, and will provide HCT with ongoing management support throughout the duration of the contract. Additional support has been provided by the Big Lottery’s Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund.

Dai Powell, chief executive of HCT Group, said:
“Travel Training has a proven track record of helping SEN children learn to travel to school independently – which has a huge and lasting impact on their quality of life. At the same time, it means Local Authorities are no longer exposed to an uncontrollable, open-ended and ever-rising cost. This contract with Lambeth is a big step towards demonstrating that we can deliver these outcomes at scale.”

Andrew Levitt, Partner and Head of the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund, said:
“HCT Group’s Travel Training programme is a perfect example of how social outcomes contracts should be used: it’s tackling an important social problem in a way that provides better outcomes for beneficiaries and better value for Local Authorities. With Lambeth Council’s help, we have developed a very simple, scalable model that delivers cashable savings in year one. We hope this convinces other Local Authorities to get in touch and find out how they can do the same.” 

For more information on our travel training programme, please visit 

For media enquiries on this story, please contact
Amy Williams, Redleaf PR
T +44 (0)20 7382 4745 / (0)20 7382 4755