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Transport Act 2008: Quality Contracts Schemes

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 30 March 2010

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Mr Sadiq Khan) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Local Transport Act 2008 includes provisions designed to make bus quality contracts schemes— the London-style model of bus contracts—a more realistic option for local transport authorities throughout England and Wales. The Government announced on the 10 December 2009 that these provisions will come into force, in England, on 11 January 2010.

The Government are today announcing the appointment of six individuals to a QCS board panel from which members of QCS boards will be appointed. QCS boards are independent boards with a remit to provide an opinion on whether proposed quality contracts schemes in England meet the statutory public interest criteria, and on whether due process has been followed.

It is also envisaged that QCS board panel members will be called upon to provide advice to traffic commissioners on Quality Partnership Scheme (QPS) “admissible objections”.

A QPS is made by a local transport authority, under which the authority provides facilities (e.g. bus lanes) and any bus operator wishing to use those facilities must operate services to the standard specified in the scheme.

Following amendments made by the Local Transport Act 2008 to the 2000 Act, a QPS can include requirements about frequencies, timings and maximum fares as part of the “standard of service”. But they can do so only if there are no “admissible objections” from relevant bus operators.

In the first instance, it is for the local authority to determine whether an operator has an “admissible objection” on either or both of the two grounds set out in regulations. But where there is a disagreement between operator and authority, the objecting operator may refer the matter to a traffic commissioner for an independent determination.

A number of local authorities either have, or are planning, Quality Partnership Schemes.

The panel will comprise:

Andrew Burchell

Currently an Appeals Decision Maker for the Department for Transport in respect of concessionary travel appeals from bus operators, Andrew has gained a wide range of skills including as a Government Economist, a Senior Civil Servant and member of Defra’s management board. He sits on the Community Services Board of his local Primary Care Trust, as an “independent lay member”, and is Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at his local citizens advice bureau.

Tim Larner

Founding Director of Strata Consultants, Tim has over 35 years’ experience of local transport planning, including providing advice to Passenger Transport Executive CEOs as the former Director of the Support Unit at PTE. He has worked to raise the profile of PTEs, highlighting their role in transport policy development.

Peter Hardy

A Project Director at JMP Consultants, Peter has 26-years’ experience in transport planning starting in a local authority environment and specialising in areas including passenger transport development, policy and strategy for both the public and private sectors.

James Reeves

Currently Technical Director for Gifford UK, James has worked extensively in the transport sector both in the UK and abroad. Including a period as a Local Authority Officer, he has experience in transport economics and planning.

Alan Wann

Former roles at Northumberland County Council include Head of Highways, Transport and Waste services; Head of Regeneration; and Principal Advisor to the Chief Executive. Alan has recently become an independent consultant specialising in sustainable economic, social and cultural regeneration.

David Humphrey

Recently retired after 42 years in the public transport industry, David has held a number of senior roles in both the bus and tram sectors. A former President of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, he is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

A further two candidates will be held in reserve.