UNISON Scotland
Scotland's public service union




News & Campaigns

Responses and Submissions


Branch Contacts


Health & Safety

Service Groups







Scotland's Transport
Proposals for Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships

 UNISON Scotland's response to the Scottish Executive's Consultation on proposals for Statutory Regional Transport Partnerships.

January 2005

Executive Summary

  • 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 Transport.

  • 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 Executive.


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

Consultation Questions


  1. We would welcome views on these proposed regional transport partnership boundaries. Would you suggest any modifications?
  2. 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.

  3. 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 group?

Once approved the representatives should be putting forward their contribution as an individual rather than the views of their organisation.

It will in most cases be possible for RTP boards to have a sufficient number of external members to cover a range of interests.

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 teams.

(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 engagement?

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 plans.

(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
  • AA
  • RAC

  • 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 required.



Model 1

9. What current local authority functions could be appropriate for an RTP to exercise concurrently with its constituent local authorities (in your region)?

Model 2

10. What current local authority transport functions could be appropriate for delivery at regional level by an RTP (in your region)?

Model 3

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?

Questions 9-14

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 Executive.

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 gains.

Staffing Issues

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 issues.


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
UNISON Scotland
14, West Campbell Street
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel 0845 355 0845 Fax 0141 342 2835

Email matt.smith@unison.co.uk



Top of page

Submissions index | Home