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Operator Guidance

22 August 2018

Essex County Council invites tenders from Operators for a wide variety of transport services each year.

The Council works closely with operators to ensure contracts deliver value for money by improving efficiency, looking for innovations and encouraging best practice.

Essex County Council also offers support services to aid Operators and support them in delivering an excellent service.

Here you can find relevant tools and guidance to assist in the delivery of Essex County Council contracted services.

These pages will be updated to include the latest information and news regarding our activities including the current terms and conditions of contract, contact details, downloadable documents and links to relevant websites.

You will also find information on how to tender for Passenger Transport contracts.

If you are a new operator starting to work with Essex County Council, or considering becoming one, please refer to our New Operator Guidance.

Contract management


Novation / sub-contracting


If an operator wishes to novate a contract (i.e. transfer full responsibility and payment rights to another operator)  follow the novation of contracts procedure.

Should you wish to subcontract (i.e. employ another operator to undertake a contract on your behalf) please follow the subcontracting procedure above.

Change of operator details

If you need to change the operator's name, address or contact details, email the changes to

In your email, please include both the old and new contact details as well as information about any other changes, such as operating addresses, name of owner/manager, contacts for invoicing, complaint handling, emergency/out of hours phone number, website details, etc.

In addition to the above, can you please ensure that you amend your details on the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to ensure that the update is consistent as ECC is unable to make this update for you.

How do I get paid? 

Passenger Transport, along with the support of Commercial Analysts, Contract Managers and Contract Analysts, manages the procurement and delivery of transport services and arranges and monitors contract operations – they arrange all contracts. The Finance and Strategy Team pays invoices.

Invoices are paid directly into the nominated bank account through the Bank Automated Clearing System (BACS). The aim is to pay invoices within 30 days from the date of a correct and valid invoice, provided it is received within 2-3 days of the date / tax point on the invoice. The timeframe will be affected by holiday periods such as Christmas and by weekends.

Each contract should be invoiced separately. 


Essex County Council provides various forms of transport for passengers travelling within Essex. Many of these services are contracted out to private transport operators, and contract tender opportunities are available at various times throughout the year.

Essex County Council has an enhanced procedure for tendering transport contracts via online systems. To be able to tender for Home to School, Social Care and Local Bus transport opportunities, you will need to register and complete the Accreditation and Enrolment process within our Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).

Please go to our Become an Operator web page for more guidance about tender opportunities and how to enroll on DPS.

See also the general guidelines for supplying council services.

Notes of guidance for operators 

Guidance for passengers (and their families) is on our Transport Guidance Page. For any queries, contact 

Business Continuity Planning guidance 

Passenger Assistants

If you wish to employ staff in the role of Passenger Assistant you will need to ensure that training is undertaken and that the relevant documents and declarations are approved by Essex County Council before they work on an Essex County Council transport contract.

The following documentation must be completed prior to commencement of the contract and sent to

For Specialist Health Passenger Assistants (STPA), please see the Training Brochure detailing all in the information you need prior to commencement of a contract requiring a STPA. The referralform must be completed to arrange the relevant training.

The video below will give a basic view of what the work of Passenger Assistant entails and may be of interest to drivers also.

Video not playing? Watch it on our Youtube Channel. 

To access our Full Passenger Assistant Awareness DVD click:

Training to work on Essex County Council transport contracts as a Passenger Assistant must include;-  passenger assistant awareness, first aid to include child and adult life saving skills and this to be satisfactorily completed with a certified trainer, emergency evacuation and wheelchair /tail lift training where appropriate.

Passenger Assistants and drivers on Essex County Council transport school transport contracts will also require an enhanced DBS check for the correct workforce to be in place before they are allowed to travel with ECC passengers on our contracts get more information on DBS checks.

For more information on training, or the application process for approval to use your member of staff, contact and mark your email Badge application in the subject line. 

How to report student behaviour 

In the first instance, all behaviour issues should be discussed directly with the school and parents/ guardians of the child. As the people that have the most daily contact with the child, they are the ones that can give you a valuable insight into how to manage their behaviour. This is particularly relevant to those conducting SEN Transport and you should remember the school and parents are your best resource.

If the behaviour persists, you should send a written report to so it can be investigated further. Please ensure you are using this email address alone to report issues, as your reports contain sensitive details relating to specific students.

Before making any report, we expect that all operators explore all possible solutions that do not incur additional cost such as switching seating positions or switching routes. If you have a solution that will incur additional cost, please submit this with the report so we can get the issues resolved as quickly as possible. 

To report the behaviour of a student, complete this form  making sure that you have read the guidance of the form  and that you have undertaken all the actions detailed on the checklist before sending the form. 

Email the completed form to  

Included with this briefing is a flow chart on School’s Travel Behaviour issues which you may find useful:  Process Flow Chart

Suspending Transport 

Please can it be noted that the final decision to suspend transport in behaviour issues should be made by Essex County Council only. This is stated in Schedule 1A, Part 1 P86 of your contract:  

1.63 Passengers must not be banned from the vehicle without consultation with the Student Behaviour Officer within the Transport Co-ordination Centre (or successor functions) in the first instance.

If it is the case that transport needs to be suspended on grounds of health and safety then the following procedure should be followed: 

An initial suspension period of can be applied for a 24 hours period from when the incident occurred. When the operator has taken this decision responsibility to notify the parents and we also ask that you notify School’s Travel Behaviour as well.

If the incident occurs on a morning run and you have brought the child into school it remains the transport operator’s responsibility to bring the child home.

Health and safety suspensions must last no longer than to 5 days, during this time you must be providing Essex County Council with details of potential solutions including any cost implications to the authority that may be incurred by implementation.

If a solution cannot be found within this time scale then a cross agency meeting will be held with education professionals, the parents, transport crew and the School’s Travel Behaviour Project officer.