For bid­ders & con­trac­tors: 5 legal tips for con­tract­ing school trans­porta­tion ser­vices — con­tact­ing par­ents and oth­er shifts in respon­si­bil­i­ty*

You want to par­tic­i­pate in school trans­porta­tion in your dis­trict. And then this: The award doc­u­ments stip­u­late that you are to con­sult with par­ents and, for exam­ple, ensure haz­ard-free foot­paths.

The prob­lem

Some dis­tricts believe the car­ri­er should take care of every­thing and every­one. It is pop­u­lar to require the school trans­porta­tion provider to main­tain an up-to-date list of par­ent con­tact infor­ma­tion to be aware of “spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions.” It is equal­ly pop­u­lar to require the school trans­porta­tion provider to ensure a “safe route from the stop to the trans­porta­tion vehi­cle and from the trans­porta­tion vehi­cle to the school grounds.”

What to do?

First of all: Don’t just accept it. Act imme­di­ate­ly (prefer­ably with legal sup­port). If you have a prob­lem with the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of a pub­lic con­tract­ing author­i­ty in a pub­lic pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dure, then rep­ri­mand. Do not point out, crit­i­cize, com­plain, or issue “clar­i­fy­ing notices” or “bind­ing con­cretiza­tions.” Do not express your lack of under­stand­ing, do not sug­gest “opti­miza­tions”. But rather: Com­plain. And, please, by the dead­line!

And in terms of con­tent?

The core ques­tion is what is prin­ci­pal duty, what is par­ent duty, and what is ulti­mate­ly your duty. In school trans­porta­tion, sev­er­al areas of respon­si­bil­i­ty over­lap and it is not always easy to dis­tin­guish between them. The con­trac­tu­al require­ment to main­tain con­tact with par­ents — as a rule: free of charge — is one such hybrid. For exam­ple, it is nec­es­sary to care­ful­ly exam­ine whether or not the coun­ty com­plies with the require­ments that the respon­si­ble par­ty or joint respon­si­ble par­ty has in a pos­si­ble con­tract pro­cess­ing. Also, it is not obvi­ous why you should give away data pro­cess­ing ser­vices. So, in case of doubt, you should resist a dubi­ous “list keep­ing” oblig­a­tion before it is “in the con­tract”, what­ev­er the valid­i­ty of the rel­e­vant pro­vi­sion then is. With regard to the guar­an­tee of “non-haz­ardous” routes, in our view it would be an unrea­son­able com­pli­ca­tion of the cal­cu­la­tion — and thus con­trary to pro­cure­ment law — to impose on you route guar­an­tee oblig­a­tions that are detached from the actu­al trans­port. It must also be clear that you can­not park the trans­port vehi­cle in the mid­dle of a con­struc­tion site. Ulti­mate­ly, there­fore, it depends on the indi­vid­ual case.

Any ques­tions?

Feel free to call any­time at 0341 910 28405. “Abante Recht­san­wälte” is active in pub­lic pro­cure­ment and con­tract law nation­wide. We will give you a first overview of your options by tele­phone, free of charge and with­out oblig­a­tion.

*This legal tip is no sub­sti­tute for legal advice in indi­vid­ual cas­es. By its very nature, it is incom­plete, it does not relate to your case, and it also rep­re­sents a snap­shot, as the legal basis and case law change over time. It can­not and does not cov­er all con­ceiv­able con­stel­la­tions, serves main­te­nance and ini­tial ori­en­ta­tion pur­pos­es and is intend­ed to moti­vate you to clar­i­fy legal issues at an ear­ly stage, but not to dis­cour­age you from doing so.

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