School consultation problems must be rectified

Action must be taken following IT issues which could “potentially undermine” a consultation on the proposed closure of a local primary school  – South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies has said.


Two consultations have been held on plans to replace Llancarfan Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan with a new school some five miles away in Rhoose – leading to parents expressing deep concerns.


But it has now emerged that several responses to both of these consultations may not have been received – after the online submission form included a 10,000 character limit.


Any response that exceeded 10,000 characters has been automatically cut down – with key concerns potentially missed.


No warning or instructions were provided on the website informing consultees of the limit – and Mr Davies said that the “serious flaws” in the consultation process must be rectified.


Education officers in the Vale have confirmed that respondents whose responses ended abruptly have been contacted – but Mr Davies said that all consultees should be informed.


He said questions would be asked as to why the problem had only come to light now – following two separate consultations – and called for all residents to be given another opportunity to provide their representations in full.


Mr Davies said, “Parents and residents are understandably very concerned by these proposals – and they must be given a full and proper opportunity to have their voice heard.


“Two consultations have been undertaken to date – and it is unacceptable that in both cases – responses may have been lost because of a 10,000 character limit.


“The fact this was not made clear on the form shows there have been serious flaws in the process – and these must be sorted out.


“Consultees will rightly ask why this has only just come to light – when a second consultation was launched on the back of the first. If those responses had been read thoroughly – surely this would have been spotted sooner?


“All residents must be given a full and proper opportunity to make representations – and everyone whose response was cut down must be able allowed to provide it again in full.”