Transport: Proposals for Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships
Briefing No 125
WHAT IS IT?
The former Minister for Transport, Nicol Stephen
MSP, introduced the Transport (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish
Parliament on 27 October 2004. Part 1 of this Bill requires Ministers
to establish a network of Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs)
covering the whole of Scotland. The Scottish Executive launched
a consultation, Scotland's Transport Future - Proposals for Statutory
Regional Transport Partnerships. UNISON Scotland responded to
Originally, the Scottish Executive was proposing
the creation of five statutory RTPs. The RTPs at the time of the
consultation period would have covered: West & South-West;
South-East; Central & Tay; North-East; Highlands & Islands.
The Scottish Executive used the following criteria
in deciding where to draw the boundaries of the statutory RTPs:
Reflecting travel to work patterns and other
Following the existing boundaries of local
authorities and other public bodies.
Avoiding the division of a local authority
area between more than one partnership other than where there
were compelling transport reasons.
Capturing a regional boundary that would make
sense to its inhabitants.
Bringing together local authorities with common
interests and issues.
Ensuring partnerships with sufficient critical
mass to deliver services effectively but without including
so many members to become unweildy.
On the 21st July 2005, Tavish Scott,
the new Transport Minister, announced the proposal for a RTP when
publishing the draft orders for the new statutory RTPs, setting
out revised boundaries and membership details.
The Executive believe that the new RTPs were a key
element of the Transport Scotland Bill to improve regional transport
Provision for a more strategic approach to
planning and delivery
Building on existing joint working relationships
Working in partnership with the new transport
Bringing together local authorities and principal
The draft orders set out the revised boundaries
for the seven proposed RTP's. The following table indicates the
extensive areas to be covered by the partnerships based on local
authorities to be included in each.
The West of Scotland
Argyll & Bute(only Helensburgh and
Lomond), East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire,
Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire,
Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West
The South West of Scotland
Dumfries and Galloway
The South East of Scotland
City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, East Lothian, Falkirk,
Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian
Central Scotland and Tay
Angus, Dundee City, Perth & Kinross,
The North East of Scotland
Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire
The Highlands of Scotland
Argyll & Bute(except Helensburgh
and Lomond),Highland, Moray
The Islands of Scotland
Western Isles, Orkney ,Shetland
Each statutory RTP will be made up of 'councillor
members' and 'external members' who will account for approximately
30% of the voting membership. In addition non-voting external
members may also be appointed to the RTP. The criteria for appointment
Councillor member: a single councillor will
represent each constituent council of an RTP.
External member: These will be key players
in the transport field, from service providers to users and
will initially by appointed by Ministers. Once RTPs are established
they will appoint their own external members.
Non-voting external member: RTPs will also
be able to appoint external members who do not have voting
RTP decisions will be made by consensus, where a
consensus cannot be reached there will be a vote decided by a
simple majority. The vote of each councillor will be weighted,
based on the population of the local authority that they represent.
The functions of RTPs will be determined by ministerial
order. The Executive has stated that the functions by each RTP
will be based on the wishes of the organisations involved. However,
the Executive identifies three distinct types of RTP.
Regional strategy and limited transport
powers: Each RTP must develop and implement a Regional
Transport Strategy (RTS). However, under this scenario all
of the powers required to deliver the RTS will be retained
by local individual authorities.
Regional strategy and some transport powers
transferred: This is effectively a development of the
above model. The RTP would develop its RTS in which it would
identify what additional powers it needed to implement the
strategy. Ministers would then decide, in consultation with
the RTP, what powers to devolve to the Partnership, which
would be done by order.
Regional strategy and significant public
transport powers transferred: A development of model 2
which would see further powers devolved from local authorities
to the RTP, as is currently the case in the West of Scotland
with SPT. This model could go even further than current passenger
transport executives by incorporating local authority road
functions into the remit of the RTP.
Revenue Funding: RTP's revenue funding expenditure
will be covered through requisition of funds from the constituent
local authorities. This would include funds to cover costs incurred
in the delivery of services and functions devolved to the RTP
from those local authorities. The proportion of funds to be paid
by each individual local authority will normally be agreed by
negotiation between local authorities, if no agreement can be
reached then Ministers will impose a settlement on the relevant
Capital Expenditure: Investment in infrastructure
projects identified in a RTS can be funded in a number of ways:
The constituent local authorities will be
able to put money towards the project, borrowing if required
under the prudential borrowing regime.
The RTP will also be able to borrow money
under the prudential regime in the same way. It would have
to cover the costs incurred by such borrowing through its
budget in future years - this is likely to fall on the constituent
authorities to fund.
The Executive will also be able to contribute
to regional projects of strategic significance.
For individual projects, other partners may
UNISON Scotland has serious reservations about the
establishment of RTP's. We believe that RTP's will stifle local
innovation and lead to the disruption of staff employed in local
authority transport units and remove another public service from
local democratic control.
Action for Branches
This briefing paper is intended to inform branches of the
main issues surrounding the establishment of RTP's and the impact
it will have on local authority transport unit staff. Branches
should identify members who may be affected and discuss with employers
how they intend to manage the transition.
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