- UNISON welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation
on Scotland's Transport- Proposals for Statutory Regional
Partnerships. UNISON represents staff employed in the administration
and delivery of public transport services across Scotland.
- UNISON fully supports the function of Scotland's four Regional
Transport Partnership groups, HITRANS, NESTRANS, SESTRAN and
WESTRANS in their way of working with Scotland's local Authorities
and the excellent service supplied by the Strathclyde Passenger
- UNISON Scotland has serious reservations about the establishment
of ‘Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships'. We believe that
these RTP's would stifle local innovation, it would lead to
the reorganisation and disruption to staff employed in local
authority transport units and remove another public service
from local democratic control.
- As an alternative we support joint working across local authorities
through the maintenance and establishment of public service
networks. The precise form of those networks will vary depending
on local circumstances. They should not be imposed by the Scottish
UNISON is Scotland's largest trade union representing
over 145,000 members working in the public sector. We are the
largest trade union in local government, with over 98,000 members
working in this sector in Scotland. UNISON welcomes the opportunity
to comment on this consultation, particularly as UNISON has members
engaged in the administration and delivery of transport services
who will be directly affected by the Scottish Executive's proposals
for Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships.
UNISON Scotland is opposed to the creation of
RTP's and this response examines the consultation paper's proposals
for the creation of such organisations.
Response by UNISON Scotland
- We would welcome views on these proposed regional transport
partnership boundaries. Would you suggest any modifications?
As these are issues for authorities to decide,
UNISON Scotland do not feel they are able to comment on the
views of the boundaries of the proposed partnerships.
- What are the benefits and/or disadvantages of these proposals
from the perspective of your organisation or the council area
in which you live? Could a regional partnership based on these
boundaries deliver improvements to transport in your area?
UNISON Scotland do not wish to comment on
the proposed boundaries, as we feel that this is an issue for
the individual authorities.
3. What should the role of external members be?
(a) To what extent do you think that external
members should be: (i) representative of other stakeholder organisations;
(ii) experts in particular spheres related to transport; (iii)
representative of interests outside the transport world?
UNISON Scotland is of the belief that the
role of external members should be representatives of organisations
rather than individuals. We are also concerned that the appointment
of external members could lead to a conflict of interest with
which the bodies they are representing.
(b) Do you agree that external members on the
board of the partnership once approved should be there on the
basis of the personal contribution, skills and experience they
bring rather than representing a particular organisation or interest
Once approved the representatives should be putting forward
their contribution as an individual rather than the views of their
It will in most cases be possible for RTP boards
to have a sufficient number of external members to cover a range
4. Do you agree that decisions on who are appointed
as external members are taken by RTPs themselves in conformity
with guidance issued by Scottish Ministers?
Yes, UNISON Scotland believe that it should
be the decision of the RTP's to determine appointments of their
external members. In appointing external members to RTP boards
it is important that the boards have a sufficient number of external
members to cover a full range of interests.
5. How should the RTP involve people and stakeholders
within its region? For example:
(a) Is there merit in co-opting key stakeholders
to work at management team level?
No, it is considered that key stakeholders
should be involved on working groups once strategic projects have
been defined rather than working at the management team level.
The work of these project groups would feed through into the management
(b) Would a stakeholder forum be a practical
way of including broader interests?
Yes, stakeholder forums would be a good way of allowing everyone
the chance to put forward their views and feed this information
through to the management teams.
(c) Are there any other means of ensuring wider
Once Regional Transport Plans have been drafted then these
should be available for public consultation prior to being finalised
thereby allowing any member of the public to comment on the proposed
(d) How can RTPs make best use of Community Planning
to deliver better transport solutions? What should the Executive
do to support them in this?
Community Planning groups should consider
transport matters in their area and feed through these to RTP's.
Similarly RTP's could ask Community Planning groups to consider
proposals or plans which they have and feedback their views.
6. Are there some particular organisations that
you believe ought to be represented on some or all of the new
partnerships? Are there any organisations that should not be represented?
Yes, UNISON Scotland believe there should
be a wide range of groups represented on working groups in an
advisory capacity only. UNISON Scotland have produced a list which
is not exhaustive of the main organisations that should be included
in consultation. Currently different authorities will have different
groups set up to cover broadly similar interests but it will be
down to the partnerships to decide which groups they consult.
Suggested organisations are:
- Age Concern
- Scottish Pensioner's Forum
- Disability Groups
- NHS Trusts
- Shipping Services Advisory Committee
- CalMac Users Consultative Committee
- Bridge Authorities
- Local Enterprise Companies
- Trunk Roads Authorities
- Trade Union Representation
- National Park Authorities
The final list of representative organisations
will be decided by the partnerships and each partnership may have
reasons why the do not wish to include certain groups or organisations.
UNISON Scotland would not wish to comment more than there non
exhaustive list of potential organisations to be represented.
7. Do you agree that on occasions when a vote
is needed to reach a decision, that this ordinarily be decided
by a simple majority?
UNISON Scotland believes that a simple majority
could lead to certain projects being vetoed by a council with
no specific interest in the project. They therefore feel that
for example a two-thirds majority would be more acceptable to
deliver improvements to transport in the area.
8. On what issues (e.g. on issues involving the
sharing or transferring of local authority transport functions)
should decisions require a larger majority?
UNISON Scotland feels that on issues of funding
and functions that a larger majority is required. While it may
not be possible to achieve 100% a larger majority than 51/49 is
9. What current local authority functions could
be appropriate for an RTP to exercise concurrently with its constituent
local authorities (in your region)?
10. What current local authority transport functions
could be appropriate for delivery at regional level by an RTP
(in your region)?
11. Do you agree that this model should be adopted
by a west of Scotland RTP in order to ensure the continuity of
the public transport services provided by SPT?
12. What powers currently held by local authorities
in the SPT Area would it make sense to deliver alongside SPT's
existing public transport powers in a new west of Scotland RTP?
General questions on functions
13. Which of these 3 models would you like to
see your region adopt?
14. Do you envisage that the RTP in your region
will gain further functions as it develops? If so, which ones?
As UNISON Scotland has members from a variety
of authorities with assorted views over the most suitable model
to adopt UNISON Scotland is unable to provide a consensus of opinion
and feel unable to comment on the most suitable model.
Given that UNISON Scotland has serious reservations
about the establishment of RTP's, then we take the obvious view
that we want to see as few functions as possible transferred away
from local authorities.
15. Do you agree that there is no alternative
to requisition if regional transport partnerships are to have
a stable and secure source of funding?
UNISON Scotland fully understands that requisition
may not be popular among authorities and in many cases authorities
may be paying for projects that they have no benefit from. However
it is felt it is the fairest and most stable and secure source
of funding available. Although UNISON Scotland believes it is
not the only form of funding for partnerships they should also
be able to seek funding from other bodies such as the Scottish
16. What classes of expenditure (e.g. core staffing,
running costs, provision of services, capital investment) are
best met through (a) requisition, (b) prudential borrowing, (c)
grants from the Scottish Executive?
UNISON Scotland believes that different classes
of expenditure can be met through different funding methods. Requisition
is best used for core staffing and administration. Prudential
borrowing or grants from the Scottish Executive should other costs
especially large projects.
There is an absence of financial information
in the consultation paper. No value for money study to ascertain
if the cost of the proposals are worth the alleged organisation
There is little reference to staffing issues
in the consultation paper. In particular what staffing resources
will be retained by existing authorities and what resources the
Regional Transport Agencies and Transport Scotland will require.
The consultation document mentions that The Bill
will provide that the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of
Employment) Regulation 1981 (TUPE) will apply in relation to the
terms and conditions of staff whose functions transfer from one
body to another. However, this does not go far enough.
TUPE only provides limited protection for the workforce, especially
in terms of occupational pensions.
UNISON Scotland would want assurances that staff
transferred to the new authorities would have continued access
to the Local Government Pension Scheme, and that this pension
scheme should also be accessible for new employees. There is a
concern that pensions and particularly admission agreements with
the LGPS have not been mentioned in the consultation paper.
UNISON Scotland also has concerns regarding the relocation of
staff. In some cases this may mean additional travel to reach
the offices of the new authorities. This will have an impact on
the take home pay of affected staff and we would want further
discussion/ detail on how this issue will be addressed.
UNISON Scotland is disappointed that the consultation
fails to provide such basic details on staffing and financial
The key element of this consultation paper is
the establishment of Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships.
UNISON Scotland believes that the paper fails to make a convincing
case for the establishment of such RTP's or explains how they
will operate in sufficient detail. In particular the absence of
financial or staffing information makes it virtually impossible
to comment effectively.
We believe that very few transport initiatives
require to be managed on this type of basis. Most services are
best managed and delivered either locally by individual councils
or regionally by local authorities voluntarily coming together
in appropriate public service networks.
For further information please contact:
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel 0845 355 0845 Fax 0141 342 2835