IT'S proving so difficult to recruit lollipop men and women that Fife Council have taken to advertising roles in public loos.

Councillors were told there are 19 vacancies which makes it harder to cover all the crossing points and keep children safe as they go to and from school.

And officers have pledged to look again at supplying school crossing patrol officers outside three primaries in Dunfermline after road safety concerns were raised.

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Melanie Arthur, from the facilities management service, said: "We're looking at various different ways, and being more creative, about recruitment to see how we can fill those vacancies.

Dunfermline Press: Fife Council are finding it extremely difficult to fill certain roles. Fife Council are finding it extremely difficult to fill certain roles. (Image: Fife Council)

"We're making use of job fairs, looking at leisure centres and advertising even in public conveniences.

"A lot of the time people see these positions as giving to the community almost so we're using that tact too."

A report on staffed crossings and school travel plans went to last week's environment, transportation and climate change scrutiny committee.

The head of facilities management, Tariq Ditta, said it followed on from a motion in September where concern was raised about the number of school crossing patrol guards dropping from 76 in 2015 to 56 in 2023.

He said he didn't know where the figures had come from but they were "inaccurate".

Dunfermline Central Lib Dem councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder said that was surprising as she had tabled the motion and the statistics were the result of a freedom of information request and the details had "come from the council".

Mr Ditta said there are 131 staffed school crossings, for the morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups, and they are covered by 64 school crossing patrol officers and 48 janitors.

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This leaves 19 vacancies but he explained that recruitment was "extremely difficult" due to the small number of hours on offer and split shifts, as well as "inclement weather".

He added: "One thing I do want to make absolutely clear. There has never been any management instruction not to fill vacancies.

"The health and wellbeing of our school pupils is absolutely paramount so there's never been any budget saving or management instruction to reduce the number of crossing patrol officers."

Cllr Boubaker-Calder suggested that pay scales were more attractive in other local authority areas and asked what more could be done to fill the vacancies.

She said: "In my own ward I know Crossford Primary School and Pittencrieff Primary are both on A roads and don't have crossing patrol guards, and Pitreavie Primary, they took away the school bus and there's no crossing patrol guard for pupils crossing Queensferry Road.

"People are complaining all the time about it. It's not pointing fingers, it's to try and find solutions and how we can move forward."

Ms Arthur said she would contact other local authorities to look at pay scales and also that she noted the three schools and would ensure surveys have been or will be carried out to establish if crossing patrol guards are required at those locations.