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Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships Briefing No 125
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Scotland's Transport: Proposals for Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships Briefing No 125




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 this consultation.


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 user needs.
  • 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 through:

  • Provision for a more strategic approach to planning and delivery
  • Building on existing joint working relationships
  • Working in partnership with the new transport agency
  • Bringing together local authorities and principal stakeholders

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.

Transport Partnership

Constituent Councils

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 Dunbartonshire

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, Stirling

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 is:

  • 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 rights.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 local authorities.

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 contribute funding.

UNISON Concerns

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.

Scottish Executive | Scottish Parliament | Briefings Home



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Further Information

Scotland's Transport - Proposals for a New Approach to Transport in Scotland: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/

Scotland's Transport Future Proposals for Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships http://www.scotland.gov.uk/

UNISON Scotland response


Kevin O'Neil
Dave Watson
@P&I Team
14 West Campbell Street
Tel: 0845 355 0845
Fax: 0141 307 2572