SP Paper 377
7th Report, 2013 (Session 4)
Report on Community transport
Remit and membership
Context of inquiry
Historical funding arrangements
Other current funding structures
Recent work on community transport
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
Importance to service users
Wider community benefits
KEY ISSUES FOR COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
Impact on staff
NATIONAL CONCESSIONARY TRAVEL SCHEME FOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED PEOPLE
Costs associated with participating in the scheme
Minibus driver training
Coordination and leadership
AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION ON COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
Future Committee engagement with stakeholders
Remit and membership
To consider and report on infrastructure, capital investment, transport, housing, and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Investment and Cities apart from those covered by the remit of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee.
Adam Ingram (Deputy Convener)
Maureen Watt (Convener)
Committee Clerking Team:
Clerk to the Committee
Senior Assistant Clerk
Report on Community transport
The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—
1. At its meeting on 20 February 2013, the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee (ICI) agreed its approach to an inquiry into community transport in Scotland.
2. The Committee agreed to focus on building on the work already undertaken by other bodies, including the Community Transport Association (CTA), and that the areas to be considered by the Committee would be directly influenced and shaped by the views of key stakeholders and community transport providers and users. The Committee did not set a remit in advance of hearing the views of stakeholders and users of community transport.
3. The Committee issued a call for views1 on 11 March 2013 and received 80 written submissions in response to this call. A summary of the written responses received was produced by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) and is attached at Annexe C. Links to all of the written responses can also be found at Annexe D.
4. During April 2013, Committee members undertook a series of fact-finding visits to community transport operators across Scotland. These included; Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, Berwickshire Wheels, Lothian Community Transport Services, and Coalfield Community Transport (including Thornhill Community Transport). The opportunity was also taken to meet service users during these visits. Summaries of the visits can be found at Annexe E.
5. During April and May 2013, the Committee took oral evidence from a range of stakeholders, including: the CTA, community transport providers, regional transport coordinators, and service users. The final evidence session took place in June 2013 when the Committee raised questions with the Minister for Transport and Veterans. Details of the oral evidence and associated written evidence provided to the Committee can be found at Annexe B. The extracts of the minutes can be found at Annexe A.
6. The Committee invited other subject committees with an interest in community transport to engage with the inquiry. The Health and Sport Committee held a roundtable evidence session in May 2013 with the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS representatives and others, in relation to changes in provision of non-emergency patient transport in Scotland. That Committee’s findings are discussed later in the report. In addition, the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee appointed a rapporteur to this inquiry, Jayne Baxter MSP. The Convener met with Jayne Baxter to discuss emerging themes from the inquiry. They discussed examples of good practice currently being undertaken in Fife and the delivery of community transport in rural areas more generally. Jayne Baxter subsequently reported back to the RACCE Committee at its meeting on 19 June.
7. The Committee would like to thank all those who provided written and oral evidence as part of this inquiry which has proved invaluable.
8. This inquiry has been structured exclusively around the key issues raised in response to the Committee's call for views and those raised during oral evidence sessions. The Committee wished to ensure that all stakeholders had an opportunity to raise the issues they feel most significantly impact upon community transport in Scotland, and to voice their views about the most appropriate ways to address these issues. This report provides some background information and definitions in order to put the evidence received into context.
Context of inquiry
Definition of community transport
9. There is no statutory definition of what constitutes a community transport service. However, community transport services do tend to share a number of unique features, which include—
- service providers are non-statutory organisations;
- service providers are non-commercial and non-profit distributing; and
- the ownership and management of the services is undertaken by members of the local community and often involves substantial effort from volunteers.2
10. Community transport services are provided by several different types of organisation, for example dedicated community transport providers, community groups and private individuals using their own vehicles.3 Some local authorities and regional transport organisations provide transport services which share many of the features of community transport, however these are not included in the above definition.
11. Community transport organisations are not identical, and operate across a wide range of scales, using a mixture of voluntary and paid staff to meet the specific needs of the local area. Community transport organisations tend to use one, or a mixture, of the following models—
- community car schemes, with volunteers driving their own cars in return for mileage expenses;
- group travel services and door-to-door dial-a-ride services for individuals;
- wheels to work – hiring a variety of modes of transport to enable people to access work or training;
- contracted 'assisted travel' services, such as home-to-school, or social care travel, with the same mini-buses then used for community benefit outside the contracted hours; and
- demand-responsive or fixed-route transport services, operating where commercial bus routes are not viable.4
12. Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is any form of transport where the service provision is influenced by the demands of users. DRT services fall into five broad categories—
- access to services: these can include patient, school and workplace transport services;
- high care needs services: these include services for people with disabilities or other special needs;
- public transport: where demand is low, the greater flexibility offered by demand responsive transport can provide a cost effective form of public transport that feeds into the commercial bus and rail system;
- dial-a-bus: dial-a-bus or dial-a-ride are general terms used to describe pre-bookable flexible bus services that take people from their home, or near to their home, to destinations within their area of operation. Dial-a-bus services can be provided by voluntary, commercial or statutory organisations; and
- premium services: premium services can include door-to-door services, such as airport shuttles.
Who are service users?
13. Community transport service users tend to be those who cannot access or use public transport. Such users may also not have access to, or be able to afford, private transport.
14. More than 80% of passengers of community transport are older and/or disabled people.5 However, community transport can be used by people of all ages for a wide variety of purposes linked to community participation. The CTA suggests that as many as 100,000 people use community transport in Scotland.6
Volunteers and staff
15. Community transport services are provided, at least in part, by volunteers in a variety of roles, including, but not limited to: drivers, escorts, administrators, coordinators, telephonists, and committee members. Some community transport groups also employ a mixture of full and/or part-time staff in order to best respond to local needs.
16. The CTA estimated that, in the community transport groups surveyed, 2,500 volunteers gave hours totalling 278,500 annually. At minimum wage this time was equivalent to £1.7 million annually.7
17. Community transport bus drivers undertake extensive training to ensure passenger safety. Examples include the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS) and Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators’ licence, with many drivers undertaking patient handling and safety qualifications.
18. Professional bus drivers are required to obtain a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), but this is not required if the vehicle is “used for non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use”.8 However, community transport organisations can still require minibus drivers providing non-commercial services to obtain a CPC.
“Section 19” permits
19. Educational and other organisations which operate on a non-profit basis can apply for a permit under Section 19 of the Transport Act 19859 which exempts them from the need to hold a PSV operator's licence when providing transport for a charge.
20. Section 19 permits are either 'standard permits' for vehicles which are adapted to carry no more than 16 passengers (excluding the driver) or 'large bus permits' for vehicles which are adapted to carry 17 or more passengers. These permits may be granted to organisations who operate vehicles without a view to profit to transport their members or people whom the organisation exists to help. Section 19 permit vehicles cannot be used to carry members of the general public.10
“Section 22” permits
21. Community bus operators wishing to carry members of the public cannot benefit from Section 19 permits. However, community bus operators wishing to provide a service can benefit from the similar Section 22 permits, which are issued to organisations concerned for the social and welfare needs of one or more communities who operate vehicles without a view to profit in order to provide a community bus service. Unlike Section 19 permit vehicles, community bus services are 'local bus services' and can carry the general public.11
22. Any bus service provided under a Section 22 permit that is registered with the Traffic Commissioner, a requirement for all regular local bus services, is eligible to participate in the national concessionary travel scheme (NCTS) – meaning passengers can travel for nothing if they are beneficiaries of that scheme. However, the vast majority of community transport is not provided by such services, meaning that they are not eligible for the NCTS.
Changes to EU driver regulations: D1 licence entitlement
23. The D1 licence entitlement allows drivers (who meet all the necessary criteria) to drive a minibus under specific circumstances.12
24. Changes to driver licensing in the EU, introduced by Council Directive in January 1997 (91/439/EEC)13, mean that British citizens no longer automatically acquire a D1 licence upon passing their driving test.
25. In response to this inquiry, community transport operators and representative groups have raised concerns about the requirement for minibus drivers who obtained their car driving licence after 1 January 2007 to separately obtain a D1 licence entitlement – which requires additional and expensive driver training - before being able to drive a minibus. The only exception to this requirement is when all the criteria below are met—
- the driver is 21 or older;
- the minibus is being used for social purposes by a non-commercial body;
- the driver has held their car driving licence for at least 2 years;
- the driver is working on a voluntary basis and the minibus is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body;
- the maximum weight of the minibus is not more than 3.5 tonnes (or 4.25 tonnes including specialist equipment for disabled passengers); and
- the minibus is not towing a trailer.
26. The principal concern of community transport operators is that weight of the majority of vehicles used for community transport purposes exceeds 3.5 tonnes which means that a D1 licence is required. Driver licensing is a reserved matter guided by EU legislation, in which the Scottish Government has no locus to intervene.
Historical funding arrangements
Rural Community Transport Initiative and Urban Demand-Responsive Transport
27. In March 1998 the then Minister for Transport announced that the Rural Transport Fund (RTF), would provide £13.5 million over three years to improve transport links in rural Scotland. The RTF comprised three different elements: the Rural Public Passenger Transport Grant; the Rural Community Transport Initiative (RCTI); and the Rural Petrol Stations Grant (RPSG). Urban Demand-Responsive Transport (UDRT) was funded through the Demand Responsive Transport Initiative (DRTI). The DRTI provided funding towards several rural and urban DRT pilot projects between 2004/5 and 2006/7. Funding was continued for successful projects in 2006/7 and 2007/8.14
28. The aim of the RCTI was “to fund community transport measures which will be of particular help in the more remote areas of Scotland, particularly where there are no scheduled bus services or where the services are very limited”.15 The RCTI was intended to particularly address transport difficulties in more remote rural areas. £0.6M per annum for the three years from 1998-99 to 2000-2001 was set aside to fund the RCTI.16
29. Funding for community transport (RCTI/UDRT) was transferred from the Scottish Government to local authorities as part the 2008 concordat, in which ring-fencing for funding for specific purposes was removed.17
Other current funding structures
Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG)
30. Commercial and community bus operators may receive this grant based on the eligible kilometres they operate on registered local bus services.
31. The aim of BSOG is principally to benefit passengers. It does this by helping operators keep their fares down and enabling them to run services that might not otherwise be commercially viable thus contributing to the maintenance of the overall bus network.
32. On 1 April 2010 the links between fuel duty and BSOG was formally removed. Payments to operators are calculated on the eligible kilometres run on local bus services, the total volume of fuel used and a pre-determined payment rate set by Transport Scotland (currently 41.21p per litre for all fuel types apart from bio-fuel which is 57.19p per litre). On 1 April 2010 an additional incentive was introduced for Low Carbon Vehicles (LCVs).
33. BSOG also contributes to the operation of community transport organisations allowing people who cannot make use of conventional bus services to access local services. From 1 April 2012 DRT/ flexible "dial-a-bus" services available to the general public that are registered with the Traffic Commissioner as local bus services qualify for the BSOG. BSOG funding is paid to contracting operators who operate eligible services on behalf of local authorities. The funding is not paid to the local authority.18
34. BSOG is also payable for eligible community transport services provided under a Section 19 permit by non-profit making bodies. Services must also meet the requirements detailed in the Bus Service Operators Grant (Scotland) Regulations 2002.19
National Concessionary Travel Scheme
35. The Scotland-wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People was introduced on 1 April 2006 and provides free travel on local registered bus services and scheduled long distance bus journeys for people aged sixty or over and eligible disabled people20 and injured armed forces veterans21 who are resident in Scotland.
36. Those eligible under the Scheme are issued with a National Entitlement Card which allows them unlimited free bus travel throughout Scotland at any time The Scheme also provides two free return ferry journeys to the mainland for card holders living on Orkney, Shetland or the Western Isles.
Recent work on community transport
CTA State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012
37. In March 2012, the Community Transport Association (CTA) produced its State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012, which was the first national survey of the size and scope of Scotland’s community transport sector.
38. This report was the outcome of a survey of the 80 largest community transport organisations in Scotland, although it acknowledges that there are more than 100 smaller voluntary groups which were not surveyed. As a result, the statistics quoted represent a significant underestimation of likely actual values.
39. The report found that community transport organisations provide over 3.5 million passenger journeys per year, and are used by more than 30,000 individuals and 4,000 community groups using more than 300 small buses and 600 cars.22. Approximately a third of the income to the community transport sector comes from grants, with £660,000 claimed by 126 community transport operators from the BSOG scheme. Funding received by community transport groups tends to be allocated on an annual basis, and 70% of groups indicated in the survey that, as a consequence, they could not plan their operations for more than a year in advance.
40. The fact was highlighted in the report that 60% of community transport groups emerged during the existence of the RCTI and UDRT funding schemes. Since the RCTI/UDRT schemes were rolled up in the Scottish Government’s concordat with local authorities in 2008, only nine new groups have emerged.23
41. The CTA report made a number of recommendations which included that local authorities should support their local communities to design and implement local transport services, and that transport service commissioners should make accessing public contract tendering processes easier for small providers. The report advocated the extension of the NCTS to operators with a Section 19 licence to promote equity for service users. In addition, it also recommended that the NHS should adopt a strategic approach to the best use of community transport services, and should address issues of financing community transport groups where they provide non-emergency patient transport.
42. The report also forecasted that community transport will be relied upon more heavily in the future, stating that—
“Scotland’s population of people aged 65 years and over will rise by 22% by 2020 and by 63% by 2035. The number of people aged over 75 years will increase by 22% by 2020 and by 80% by 2035. Those aged over 85 years will increase by 39% over the next 10 years and by 147% over the next 25 years. This means there will be a significant rise in the number of people living with long-term health conditions and so the demand for the services provided by community transport – which is used mainly by older and disabled people – can be expected to rise dramatically.”24
Audit Scotland Transport for Health and Social Care report
43. In August 2011, Audit Scotland published its report on Transport for Health and Social Care.25 The report looked at transport provided to help people get to their health appointments or to social care services. It focused on services for people who were not eligible for the Patient Transport Service provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service, but who nevertheless needed some help with transport. This included people on low incomes, those who live in remote and rural areas and those who have on-going health or social care needs.
44. Audit Scotland found that transport services for health and social care lacked leadership, and that there was a lack of strategic joint working with partner agencies and the third sector. It specified that joint working was crucial for the successful and sustainable development of community transport.
45. It indicated that pilot projects show that there is scope for effective and efficiency-creating joint working, but lessons are not being applied across Scotland. Issues of resource efficiency were also highlighted, with over £93 million being spent in 2009/10 on providing transport to health and social care services (although it was acknowledged that this was a considerable underestimate as the availability of data on costs, activity and quality was poor). The report suggested that resource efficiency would be improved if more accurate information was available.
46. The need for information also applies to an understanding of the impacts of potential changes to service provision, often brought about by changes to funding. It concluded that as a result, there is a need to better understand the impact upon service users of changes to service provision.26
47. Audit Scotland recommended that the Scottish Government form a short-life working group on healthcare transport, considering the findings of the Audit Scotland report. The report recommended that there was a need for the Scottish Government to clarify with partner agencies responsibilities for planning and delivering transport for health and social care and how these link together. Joint working with partner agencies, in terms of integrated and shared services present an opportunity for resource efficiencies, and this might include shared scheduling. Partner agencies need to ensure regular data collection around community transport activity and costs and quality of service is taken, to ensure effective and efficient allocation of resources, and to assess the impacts of any potential change to service funding on service users, as well as other transport providers.27
48. The Scottish Government short-life working group report on Healthcare Transport was published during the course of this inquiry. This issue was considered by the Health and Sport Committee and is discussed later in this report.
Age Scotland Still Waiting Campaign
49. Age Scotland launched its Still Waiting campaign in February 2013, the aim of which is to advocate the extension of the existing NCTS to include community transport, to help “ensure that older people are supported to live in their own homes and communities for as long as possible”.28
50. In its written submission, Age Scotland also highlighted their Driving Change research paper. Although the paper was written specifically with regard to Scotland’s elderly population, many of the issues raised are pertinent to the full range of community transport users.
51. This research paper suggested that the Scottish Government should establish a national strategy to expand community transport infrastructure in Scotland, alongside additional financial resources. The paper also highlighted the need to address the gaps in the evidence base in relation to the impact of the community transport sector on health and social outcomes, preventative spend, and the role of community transport in the achievement of the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes, and to map transport needs and gaps in provision. The paper also advocated that health boards and local authorities should review commercial transport provision and increase funding available for community operators.29
52. In May 2013, Alison McInnes MSP held a members’ debate on the Still Waiting campaign, which raised issues relevant to this inquiry. The Committee heard during the course of its inquiry of the inequalities which exist between those who can access public transport and those who cannot, which is the primary focus of the Still Waiting campaign.
Conclusions on work already undertaken
53. The Committee notes the findings and recommendations across the various reports in recent years around community transport provision. It is the intention of the Committee to propose action in this report with potential to make some real and tangible improvements to the sector.
54. The age demographic means that there will be a greater number of older people living longer in the coming decades. The Scottish Government’s own statistics highlight the fact that the over-65 population is expected to increase by 21% between 2006 and 2016 and that the over 85 age group is projected to increase by 38% by 2016 and by 144% by 2031.30
55. The Committee believes that, given Scotland’s aging population this will inevitably lead to an increasing requirement for, and reliance on, community transport services. It is therefore of the view that it is vital to begin to put in place improvements now to ensure that the sector is able to develop and ensure long term sustainability of these vital services.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
Importance to service users
Access to public transport
56. Community transport can often be an individual's only transport option where they cannot use, or access, either public or private transport. It was highlighted to the Committee just how vital community transport is in their lives, when service user, Jackie Paterson said—
“People use it for every aspect of their lives. They use it for appointments with a doctor, dentist or hairdresser; shopping; hospital appointments; and social activities, such as going to the pictures or the theatre. They use it for everything. Without it, many people would be stuck in the house. We rely totally on the community transport service.”31
57. The Committee was told that particularly (although not exclusively) in rural areas a lack of access to public transport can be the defining factor which necessitates the use of community transport services. The Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) pointed out in its submission that—
“In some parts of Scotland, not just the more remote rural areas there are now no conventional public bus services, while in most others there are not yet fully accessible vehicles for those with mobility difficulties.”32
58. The CTA informed the Committee during oral evidence that there has been a general decline in public bus transport provision in Scotland since 2008. John MacDonald representing CTA said that—
“A recent study that was commissioned by the Confederation of Passenger Transport found that, since 2008, the annual mileage that is provided by the bus industry to Scotland has reduced by 12.5 per cent. There has been a gradual decrease in services. I would have thought that that would be worrying for any local authority. Citizens need to get to places, and local authorities—despite the fact that they might not have a statutory responsibility to sort out that problem—should be concerned about the issue.”33
59. The Committee heard that it was not only the elderly and/or disabled who found that the level of public transport in their area was unable to meet their needs. Glenkens Community Transport noted in its submission—
“It is very easy for us to think Community Transport is all about elderly people and forget the needs and requirements of the younger members of the population. Whether it be a school, the youth club, a local scout group or perhaps the Transport Initiative arranging a trip to somewhere that appeals to this age group, it is very important that we cater for younger people. They have the similar problems in accessing places of education, work or enjoyment therefore we must be prepared to look after their needs and encourage them to use Community Transport”. 34
60. The Committee was informed that in the absence of public transport, individuals often sought to use private transport in the form of taxis. However, the cost could be prohibitive to many. Wayne Pearson of Handicabs (HcL) stated that—
“They need to get out and do their shopping or go from A to B for whatever reason, and they cannot use mainstream transport and public transport. They rely on us and they cannot afford some of the private sector options that are out there.” 35
61. When giving oral evidence to the Committee, Highland Council noted that due to the lack of public transport provision, community transport was strategically vital to the region. 36
62. In giving evidence to the Committee, the Minister for Transport and Veterans echoed the importance of community transport in shaping services into the future. The Committee welcomed the comments made by the Minister when he said—
“There is no doubt in my mind that community transport has a place in Scotland as we build a transport system that is fit for the 21st century. I am open to practical suggestions on how best we can achieve that.”37
Ability to use public transport
63. The Committee saw from numerous submissions that even in cases where public transport was comprehensive, in urban areas for example, challenges still exist for service users. Many community transport service users do so because they are unable to use public transport due to distance from public transport pick-up sites, physical or mental disability, and/or need for specialist transport or support, or cost of commercial public or private transport.
64. In its submission to the Committee, Ecas38 summarised the situation—
“Even in areas where all, or nearly all, buses have wheelchair access there are other reasons why some people are unable to use buses (often they are unable to get to and from bus stops). Even if taxis are available they are very expensive. Unless the person has a car (and if they cannot drive, a driver) this leaves community transport as the only viable option.” 39
65. The Committee heard from Community transport service users that in the lives of those socially isolated by distance, infirmity and poverty, community transport can provide a life-line to the wider world.40
66. In its submission to the Committee, Ecas argued that community transport service users can, without transport, lack access to social and leisure opportunities which results in an increases feeling of isolation. It stated—
“We find that our clients are often unable to attend events and become more socially isolated unless we are able to assist with their transport costs. We commissioned research by the University of Glasgow that showed that “very few people with complex mobility impairments used leisure facilities” and that “lack of appropriate transport facilities” is a key contributor to this.” 41
67. On its fact-finding visits the Committee learnt that the provision of group transport in itself is an opportunity for social interaction. This point was also made in written submissions to the Committee. Dumfries and Galloway Accessible Transport Forum's written submission reported that—
“The passengers find that the driver is someone known to them and this familiarity transforms what generally amounts to a rather uninteresting means of getting from A to B into something of a social occasion or (and especially for those living on their own) a chance of social contact conversation.”42
68. This was a view echoed during evidence with services users. Alice McFarlane said—
“The hoppa shoppa picks up everyone—maybe 10 or 11 ladies at the one time—and takes them to the shops. That provides company and chat for them, and it keeps them up to date with what is going on in the community.
Basically, the service is wonderful as far as my ladies are concerned—they just love it, and we use it as much as we can.”43
Health and independence
69. The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that people in Scotland can continue to live independently at home, or in a homely environment, for as long as possible.44
70. MACS noted in its submission that loss of transport can be the tipping point between an individual being able to live independently and having to consider residential care. They said—
“Loss of a transport service is sometimes the tipping point which leads to a loss of quality of life for people with mobility difficulties and leads ultimately to preventing them from living independent lives in their own homes and forces them into having to go into residential care. This reduces their quality of life and increases the demand upon public expenditure. Without transport some people cannot access the most basic of services such as shops to buy food or GP surgeries to attend to their health needs.”45
71. Community transport organisations have reported in written and oral evidence that they see supporting independent living and enabling social interaction, thereby helping to maintain physical and mental health, as part of their aim in the provision of transport services. Edinburgh Community Transport Operators Group (ECTOG), in its submission, described community transport as a preventative measure stating—
“CT is not just a reactionary measure which contributes towards social inclusion of the most vulnerable members of communities. It is also a preventative measure with wide-ranging health and economic benefits for a vast range of stakeholders.”46
72. The Committee received significant anecdotal evidence over the course of the inquiry to suggest that the provision of community transport can be shown to support long term mental and physical health, and independent living. Highland Council told the Committee that local medical provisions had reported that community transport users require less medical intervention. In its written submission Highland Council said—
“Often they also have a relationship with the community transport group such that the drivers may suggest to the health professionals that there has been a change in circumstances and a visit may be beneficial for the passenger’s wellbeing, leading perhaps to provision of some domestic care. While this aspect is dependent on local relationships, most health professionals recognise this is helping to reduce admissions to hospital and care homes and that early intervention enabled by Community Transport gives a net saving.” 47
73. Some community transport groups, such as Badenoch and Strathspey Transport Community Transport (BSCTC), have reported having made a measurable impact upon service users' lives. Maggie Lawson, representing BSCTC, told the Committee—
“Through evaluations being carried out BSCTC have identified an improvement in people’s health and also identifying that without the inclusion of our services, many of the older people would not be able to remain independently in their own homes.”48
Importance of volunteers
74. The Committee understands that community transport organisations operate to meet the needs of their local community, or those of specific groups in the community, because a gap exists in provision. These organisations generally emerge from the community, and run for the benefit of that community.49
75. Community transport groups have noted in evidence to the Committee that neither the Scottish Government nor local authorities have any statutory requirement to provide, assist, or fund community transport, so there is a strong awareness in the community transport sector of “the cost of not doing it”.50
76. Evidence to the Committee has strongly indicated that many community transport organisations are entirely dependent upon, and would not be viable without, the commitment and time of their volunteers. North Argyll Volunteer Car Scheme illustrated this in its submission—
“… the gov[ernmen]t needs to understand what a small volunteer scheme like the North Argyll Volunteer Car Scheme is, how and why it works, why we need security of funding (for employment of co-ordinator), that that security allows us to access third party grants, (which can double the value to the council), that we are not a statutory provider of transport, nor do we have a contract with anyone. We are totally dependent on volunteers, and that’s what they are – volunteers.” 51
77. The Committee heard that services which are highly dependent on volunteers are inherently vulnerable as a result. In its submission to the inquiry, Mull and Iona Community Trust noted the issue of volunteer attrition and stated—
“Relying on volunteers is also not really sustainable; we are familiar with the concept of “volunteer fatigue” when eventually the enthusiasm of volunteers wanes. Also, in the long run, the volunteers themselves are in many cases semi-retired and before long will themselves be seeking assistance with transport.”52
78. Highland Council research concluded that volunteer contributions to community transport meant that there is a great deal of added value in the sector, compared to any sort of commercial equivalent. Its written submission stated—
“Across the five case studies, the cost of replacing the CT provision with commercially managed transport services would be in excess of £500k, which is an order of magnitude greater than the level of current council spending on CT. The CT projects also deliver much more than a transport service. Added value derives not just from volunteer time, but an ability to connect with benefits across a wider range of policy areas than is possible with other transport delivery approaches.” 53
Wider community benefits
79. The Committee took evidence which highlighted the necessity for community transport to be viewed in the context of the benefits it brings to the wider community in which it operates. The benefits created by the provision of community transport are experienced beyond the individuals who rely upon it for transport.
Impact upon other services
80. Submissions to the Committee highlighted that community transport can have a direct impact upon the sustainability of other community services and groups. Creich, Croik and Ardgay Day Care Association gave an example of how community transport was vital to maintaining another community service. Its written submission noted—
“At the outset we had no intention of becoming involved in transport but we soon found out that people from our very large catchment area had little or no transport to get them to the Centre. Public transport is virtually non-existent...Without transport our day care/lunch club was not viable and we were faced with the prospect of having to close the facility because nobody could access it.” 54
Access to work
81. On its fact-finding visit to Coalfields Community Transport, Committee members heard how community transport can play a role in wider strategies for local economic and social regeneration. Helping people access work can be a key factor in a holistic approach to regeneration.
82. Coalfields Community Transport had previously accessed funding for a 'wheels to work' low-cost scooter hire for young people in the area to access work. The scheme enabled young people in the area to access low-cost, flexible transport to gain access to paid employment.
Rural population decline
83. The Committee heard during evidence-taking that there are rural areas in Scotland which are experiencing significant population decline. It was suggested that there were a variety of contributing factors; including the availability of jobs, access to amenities, and cost of living, and that this population decline is challenging the long-term viability of communities in these areas.
84. The Committee was told that access to transport can play a significant role in the continued survival rural communities. Councillor Phillips of Highland Council told the Committee that community transport is vital to reversing the population decline in rural areas—
“What gets me up in the morning is not having a community transport scheme or running a council budget but trying to reverse the population decline in my county, trying to prevent young people from having to move out, and trying to prevent old people from going early into care homes perhaps 40 or 50 miles away because there is nothing in their area. We want stable and sustainable communities in places that, to be honest, transport funding does not reach.”55
85. The Committee learned that in areas of population decline, as families, friends and neighbours move away, it can often mean that individuals can become isolated from traditional support networks, which might otherwise have assisted with an individual’s transport needs.
Committee conclusions and recommendations on the importance of community transport
86. The Committee recognises and values the important role which community transport plays in enabling access to health care, leisure and social opportunities which might otherwise be closed to those who need it most. The Committee is also aware that community transport allows many service users to live independently who might otherwise require supported or residential care.
87. The Committee notes the anecdotal evidence on the reported positive impacts of community transport services upon the lives of users and the wider community. Whilst it considers that these benefits are obvious and clear, the Committee however acknowledges that there is a significant information gap which makes it impossible to make a robust assessment of the total positive impact on individuals and communities of community transport provision.
88. The Committee praises the valuable work carried out by volunteers within the community transport sector and believes that it is vital to recognise the importance of volunteers in delivering these services, and that continued provision is almost wholly dependent on supporting and enabling volunteers to allow them to continue to do this work.
89. The Committee is concerned that there appears to be no comprehensive understanding of the scale and scope of volunteer contributions to community transport in Scotland in terms of its social and economic impacts.
90. The Committee has highlighted later in this report how the availability of more qualitative information on the operation of community transport services across Scotland, including that on the immediate and wider benefits of community transport and the contribution of volunteers, might be beneficial.
KEY ISSUES FOR COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
91. This section of the report examines the key issues which challenge the provision of community transport services in Scotland.
92. The key issues identified in written and oral evidence as impacting upon the provision and operation of community transport in Scotland are: funding; training; joint working; a lack of information on current community transport provision, and as a result, a lack of information on needs. In addition, the Committee also heard calls for the extension of NCTS to cover community transport, and this is discussed later in the report.
93. The Committee explored the funding arrangements currently in place for community transport and was made aware that the lack of funding, specifically in relation to capital funding to address fleet replacement, was by far the biggest challenge faced by operators.
94. Additionally, the Committee noted that local authority funding post-concordat was proving a challenge for operators where levels of funding varied across Scotland. Furthermore, the current practice of one-year funding of the voluntary sector (as opposed to multi-year funding) has often raised challenges in terms of long term planning and the viability of their operations.
Local authority funding
95. The Committee heard in evidence that since the concordat was introduced, local authority funding of community transport has varied widely, with some local authorities maintaining similar funding commitments to those previously available under RCTI/UDRT funding, while other councils either reduce funding, or reallocate it to other areas. Rachel Milne, the representative from the CTA Scotland Committee, gave an overview of the level of variation when they gave oral evidence to the Committee—
“Some local authorities have kept to the kinds of funding commitments that were being made prior to 2008. In other areas, there have been cuts and, in some areas, there is not a great deal of community transport activity—of course, some of those areas had never had a great deal of transport activity anyway. At the moment, if you are looking at setting up a service and you are in an area that is covered by a local authority that does not value community transport, you will find it extremely difficult to establish a service, locally.”56
96. Written evidence to the Committee highlighted that, despite the expectation that local authorities would maintain previous funding levels for community transport, in practice funding varied across Scotland and had been reduced in some areas. Age Scotland provided the Committee with current funding levels for local authorities across Scotland as far as these could be ascertained.57
97. The Committee also heard that even prior to the concordat, community transport groups required the support of local authorities to access RCTI/UDRT funding. The engagement by the relevant local authority therefore played an important role in the ability of community transport groups to access funding at that time.
98. Representatives from Highland Council told the Committee that there is now an expectation on local authorities to maintain current community transport groups, and extend funding to new groups, but with no additional funding being made available58.
99. The Committee was told that councils have had to restructure and devise ways of allocating limited funding to community transport groups. The Highland Council witnesses gave the example of a contingency fund for local authority funded community transport groups to access in case of emergency, for example, when vehicles suffered significant mechanical failure. It was explained that the creation of such a fund gave funded groups access to a shared emergency fund, allowing the council to reduce funding to individual groups, and allocate funding to other community transport groups.59
100. In its submission to the inquiry, Aberdeen Council simply acknowledged that there was no funding available in its budget for either current or prospective community transport groups. It stated—
“As noted there is no funding support from Aberdeen City Council for Community Transport providers and this would be an issue to any group looking to undertake Community Transport in the area.”60
101. The Chair of the CTA Scotland Committee highlighted in oral evidence to the Committee that the funding concerns were compounded due to the fact that funding cuts were happening in in tandem with rising costs and, as such, community transport organisations are in fact experiencing an even more significant drop in funds in real-terms.61
102. The issue of returning to ring fencing funds for community transport initiatives was raised with the Minister who outlined the Scottish Government’s position stating—
“The Government is sometimes accused of centralising, and I am not sure that we would want to do that again. I am confident that the decision not to ring fence the funding was the right one.”62
103. The Minister did however acknowledge that funding for community transport initiatives has been reduced since the removal of RCTI funding telling the Committee—
“It may be that less funding is going into community transport in a local area, but it is up to stakeholders to challenge that. I do not think that the remedy is for the Government to go to the council and say, “You must spend this much on this function.”63
104. Respondents to the Committee’s call for views raised the issue of the short-term nature of local authority funding, which is common practice in the voluntary sector. This was considered particularly pressing by community transport groups, and it has negative impacts both at the planning and the delivery level.
105. The Committee was made aware of the range of problems which single-year funding can create for community transport organisations such as: inability to plan for the future; inability to develop the service or respond to changes in demand; increased dependence on grant funding; and the impact on staff time and retention, amongst other issues.
106. The Committee was told that local authorities’ tendency towards allocating single-year funding as opposed to multi-year funding is a result of the budgetary constraints experienced across the public sector in light of constrained economic circumstances.
107. Community transport organisations explained to the Committee that in order to operate most effectively they need to be able to plan several years ahead, both in terms of vehicle replacement and volunteer numbers. The representative from CTA Scotland explained that a lack of funding security can make organisations hesitant about developing their service or introducing innovations. He told the Committee—
“There are very few organisations that have received commitments from funders for more than one year hence. We picked that up from our survey. We asked people how far into the future they felt they could plan their business. About 70 per cent of them said that they could not see much more than a year into the future.”64
108. He went on to say that it is CTA Scotland’s view that three-year funding is the minimum which would allow for effective forward-planning—
“I would vouch for three-year funding as a minimum. It is difficult for local authorities to make any commitment beyond three years but, if people are going to get involved in transport, they should look well ahead into the future...
…if people are going to use resources to buy vehicles and if they feel that they will be around for a long time, they will be much more confident about making that investment decision than they would be if their core funding could disappear in six months or a year.”65
109. Over the course of the inquiry, the Committee heard that community transport would benefit significantly from multi-year local authority funding, as opposed to one-year funding.
110. Evidence suggests that 70% of community transport operators believe that they cannot plan their business for more than one year ahead, as a result of short-term funding.66
111. In its written submission, Voluntary Action Scotland highlighted that a number of Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) believe that a move from one year to three year funding cycles would be of significant benefit in helping with future planning of community transport services.67
112. The evidence taken by the Committee regarding the difficulty for operators to plan their services without multi-year funding was raised with the Minister, who replied—
“That would be an issue for RTPs and councils. With any investment from the public purse, everyone involved, whether it be the council, the RTP or the Government, will want to ensure that whatever is done is done on the most sustainable and efficient basis….
As I have said, individual councils and RTPs could do what you have suggested, but that would be their decision.”68
113. However, the Committee was aware that in May 2013 multi-year funding for the third sector was the subject of a parliamentary debate which was of direct relevance to this Committee’s inquiry and the issues raised regarding the need for multi-year funding.
114. During that debate John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, stated that in the 2009 agreement with Local Authorities, it was agreed that the voluntary sector would receive multi-year funding, although this was not obligatory, it would be given preference where possible and made a commitment to explore the issue further stating—
“I accept in principle the point that if we give funding certainty to organisations, they will be able to spend more time focusing on the delivery of better outcomes for the citizens involved, rather than wondering where the money is going to come from.”69
115. Whilst the matter of the funding of the third sector does not fall within the Committee’s remit, it welcomes the commitment made by the Scottish Government to explore further the issue of longer term funding for the voluntary sector and the Committee will continue to monitor progress in this area.
The Change Fund
116. The Scottish Government established the Change Fund for older people's services to enable health, social care, housing, independent and third sector partners to implement local plans for making better use of their combined resources to improve outcomes for older people. All 32 Health Partnerships agreed local Change Plans and received their allocation of the £70m Change Fund available for 2011/12.
117. Following the 2012 Spending Review, Ministers announced that an £80m Health and Social Care Change Fund will be available for Partnerships in 2012/13, with £80m committed for 2013/14 and £70m for 2014/15, to drive the development of services that optimise the independence and wellbeing of older people at home or in a homely setting.
118. The Committee heard that some community transport groups have accessed funding through the Change Fund, but others were unaware of the existence of the change fund.
119. Peter McColl of WRVS (now RVS) suggested that the Change Fund has also in fact become a de facto replacement for local authority funding in some places—
“Sometimes the change fund has come in to supplement funding from local authorities and in other places the fund seems to have replaced funding from local authorities. There is a certain level of anxiety about that.”70
120. The Committee asked the Minister’s view on the appropriateness of using the Change Fund to fund community transport initiatives to which he replied—
“I cannot speak about the change fund, but I realise why you mention it, in that it is about considering how spend across budgets might prevent greater spend overall. In theory, there is no question that that could be done. ”71
Alternate funding sources
121. In written submissions and oral evidence, the Committee has been made aware of a range of bodies which allocate funding to community transport. Funding bodies vary in size from the Big Lottery Fund to small local trusts.
122. The representative from Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Services explained to the Committee that in many cases these grants are essential, and can allow for longer-term planning, and allow groups to develop their service to meet wider needs. However, the risk is that they often have a limited life-span—
“Our organisation was lucky enough to get a Big Lottery award five years ago. It was a grant over five years, which has allowed us to develop the social side of the organisation. Transport was the core, but we have done lots of development on the social side. That funding runs out next March. We have our one-year local authority funding, but if we do not find a major funder or more sustainable funding, we will not be able to operate next year at all. It is such a big issue.”72
123. The representative from WRVS noted that third sector organisations can also access funding from non-traditional sources—
“One of the advantages of our sector is that we are mostly charities or not-for-profit organisations, so we are able to look out with traditional sources of funding. We either work in partnership with other charities or actively look for sources of funding that might not otherwise be available. We have for example worked with the Order of St John in Scotland, which has given us some money towards our revenue funding and recently indicated that it would provide funding for a new vehicle for us.”73
124. Both Berwickshire Wheels and Coalfields Community Transport noted during fact-finding visits by Committee members that they had accessed funding made available for the benefit of people who had worked for specific industries and organisations in their areas (for example, mining, textiles, and the army) and who now required additional support.
125. Community transport groups were keen to emphasise to the Committee that they were in competition with one another for a limited pot of funding, much of which is from non-statutory bodies. The witness from WRVS told the Committee—
“Although we still enjoy a level of success, I suspect that this is sometimes at the cost of other organisations that provide good and worthwhile services.”74
126. However, the Committee heard from John Moore of Lothian Community Transport Services (LCTS) that the specificity of terms for some alternate funding can create problems for community transport groups in meeting the needs of the whole community—
“Many trust funds do not fund capital and, if they do, very often they do not like funding vehicles. Community transport does not seem to fit the criteria of many trust funds, which have a particular niche. Funds want to fund a particular service for a particular client group, whereas we are trying to meet a lot of different transport needs for a lot of different communities in our area.”75
127. In its submission to the Committee, Buchan Dial-a-Community-Bus emphasised the point that community transport organisations have to plan for the longer term because service users depend upon them—
“A question regularly asked by funders is; “what is your exit strategy?” DACB has a standard response that we do not have an exit strategy, nor do we feel that we will ever have one. This is because we know that the problem of providing accessible, safe, affordable transport to those most vulnerable and disenfranchised in Scotland will not go away/be resolved.”76
Public contract tendering and social enterprise
128. During the course of the inquiry, Committee members asked whether community transport organisations bidding for public sector contracts and/or establishing social enterprises could be a source of sustainable funding. It was suggested that this might reduce, or remove, organisations' reliance on grants and funding, and create stability.
129. In its response to the call for views, Buchan Dial-a-Community-Bus expressed concerns around pursuing public sector contracts/social enterprise route for a variety of reasons, including; lack of capacity, detraction from core concerns, and the risk of losing of volunteer good-will—
“Over the last few years there has been a shift towards encouraging charities/communities to become more self-sustaining by creating Social enterprises/commercial arms and tendering for contracts/ starting commercial operations. This can be successful for larger CT groups who have the infrastructure and ability to move into commercial enterprise. However, the majority of CT groups are small voluntary organisations run by volunteers. Social / Commercial enterprise is often one step too far for these groups. Their remit / “need” is to help their community, not to run businesses. They have neither the desire nor, often the skills, to run a commercial enterprise with the risks and the business issues therein.” 77
130. During oral evidence, the witness from CTA Scotland also emphasised that an organisation's ability to establish a social enterprise is dictated by the size of the market for the service offered, and that this might not be the most appropriate route for all groups—
“Alternatively, are organisations looking to set up in a trading company environment to do additional business in order to fund their core business? If so, it is a question of the size of the market and what part of that market they have to capture to meet their objectives. I think that the answer will be different for different community transport groups in different parts of Scotland, and I do not think that it is a panacea for the funding of community transport.”78
131. The LCTS representative also noted that even where market capacity exists, it is uncertain that a social enterprise/commercial arm would generate sufficient income to allow organisations to become self-sustaining—
“… a number of years ago, we set up a wholly owned trading company that provides training throughout Scotland for other community transport, local authority and even private sector organisations. We provide on-road driver training and training in emergency evacuation procedures. We have provided disability awareness training for taxi drivers in Edinburgh for more than 10 years. We have examined those income-earning opportunities, but they are not huge. For example, the surplus that our trading company made last year was just about £16,000. The market to make vast sums does not exist, but we are considering what we can do.”79
132. The CTA Scotland Committee witness noted that one of the barriers to community transport organisations pursuing public sector contracts, other than size and market, lies in the tendering process itself—
“A lot of grief and hassle are involved in tendering. Local authorities could make it easier by slightly adapting some of their tendering processes, as Aberdeenshire Council is doing. I look forward to seeing how the council will do that, because we could learn from it.”80
133. The representative also said that community transport groups perceive risks in tendering for public sector contracts. For smaller community transport groups the risk of taking on public sector work can out-weight the benefits—
“In addition, if a group is running contracts, it is tied to them. If you get that wrong then—believe me—the council batters you very quickly. It does not care that you are a community transport group: it has given you a contract and it expects you to fulfil it.”81
134. However, the Committee was made aware that there are several community transport organisations in Scotland which have successfully tendered for public sector contracts. The representative from the CTA Scotland Committee said—
“Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus already tenders for and runs PSV and section 19 contracts with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council. The organisation that provides the Stirling dial-a-journey service tenders for and runs a lot of contracts, as do LCTS and the Orkney Disability Forum. There is quite a strong group of people in CT organisations in Scotland who tender for and win contracts.”82
135. The Highland Council witness added that there are opportunities for working differently within the public contract system, for example by sub-contracting from commercial providers, but the benefits for community transport are marginal—
“I mentioned the Helmsdale group, which is subcontracting a piece of work from Stagecoach and running a Section 22 service to join up with the first morning service from further down the road. There are opportunities, but they are marginal.”83
Impact on staff
Time spent applying for grants
136. The representative from WRVS explained to the Committee that the negative effects of short-term funding lie not only in an organisation's ability to plan for the future, but also in its day-to-day impact upon staff time—
“Something that vastly increases the time spent on fundraising is the practice of one-year funding, which is now very common, unfortunately. Over the past three, four or five years, a range of our projects have been funded on a roll-on of one year. That requires a lot more staff time in reapplying for the funding every year...”84
137. The LCTS witness noted that the number of funding sources available to community transport groups has diminished, and funds have become more limited, meaning that organisations are increasingly forced to seek funding from smaller trust funds. The increased number of applications has resulted in a significant drain on staff time—
“The funding sources that we were traditionally able to access are no longer available to us and we have to spend a lot of time and effort applying to various trust funds, which is incredibly competitive…. Raising capital is incredibly difficult and, across Scotland, we are all competing with one another to do so. That is very time consuming, too.”85
138. The Committee was informed that larger community transport groups were generally in a better position to compete for grant funding86. Smaller organisations can lack the time, resources, knowledge or expertise to submit multiple funding applications on an on-going basis without a significant impact upon the service.
139. During fact finding visits to Berwickshire Wheel and Coalfields Community Transport it was highlighted the time impact which grant applications have upon their organisations. Both organisations employ project-development staff, who find that much of their time is spent in applying for grant funding, detracting from time spent developing the organisation.87
140. The Committee was also made aware that short term funding can have a significant bearing upon a community transport organisation’s ability to retain paid staff. The WRVS representative explained the impact—
“Over the past three, four or five years, a range of our projects have been funded on a roll-on of one year. That requires a lot more staff time in reapplying for the funding every year, and it creates attrition among our staff, because we have to issue a redundancy notice every January. At some point, people will think, “Maybe this year I will go and find something else to do,” so that also requires more recruitment time.”88
141. The Committee believes that the risk associated with staff attrition is significant. The loss of staff means a loss of sectorial knowledge and expertise, loss of time spend recruiting and training a suitable replacement, and the impact that understaffing can have upon the wider team and on-going project.
Capital funding and fleet renewal
142. The Committee heard in evidence that during the period of RCTI/UDRT funding the community sector had experienced significant growth and that since the rolling up of RCTI/UDRT funding in the Scottish Government’s concordat with local authorities in 2008, very few new community transport groups have emerged. The witness from CTA Scotland told the Committee—
“Until 2008, central Government had two funding pots specifically for community transport…That funding had been in place for about 10 years, during which period a growth in community transport occurred. The catalyst for that growth was that central Government funding.”89
143. They reported that the general view of community transport organisations was that funding arrangements under RCTI/UDRT was better for providers telling the Committee—
“I think that everybody in my sector would say that the situation was better in those days than it is now. It is much more difficult now to run a community transport operation… I am sure that I speak for everybody who knows about the way things used to be when I say that that was better.”90
144. Evidence to the Committee suggested that organisations were united in their view that the loss of the RCTI/UDRT schemes was felt, particularly regarding capital funding. The representative from LCTS told the Committee—
“A good point about the RCTI and the urban demand-responsive transport scheme was that they had both capital and revenue. We have been fortunate in Edinburgh and Midlothian, as both local authorities have been able to preserve the revenue side of the funding that we used to receive, but the capital has gone, and that is the difficulty. The capacity no longer exists in local authority budgets, whereas with the RCTI and the urban DRT scheme there was an opportunity to look at capital as well as the ongoing revenue in three-year funding packages.”91
145. Maggie Urie from South West Community Transport echoed this view, saying that the RCTI/UDRT fund had been beneficial for the purchasing of vehicles. She told the Committee—
“We used RCTI money in 2004—I think we got £200,000-odd pounds—to buy four minibuses. There were five or six operators in Glasgow at the time, and four buses is not a lot. My organisation had just been set up as a transport initiative, so we were not involved in the distribution of the buses. Two of the buses that we had taken off us by Community Transport Glasgow were bought with that money back in 2004, and all four buses are still on the road.”92
146. The Committee was told that mini buses and accessible transport vehicles have a limited life-span, and can cost between £39,000 and £50,00093 to replace. For small organisations this is a significant investment, and in the absence of capital funding support, can require extensive fundraising.
147. The CTA Scotland representative explained that replacement of community transport vehicles at the correct time, to ensure vehicles remain cost-effective and reliable, requires forward planning telling the Committee—
“…when I ask people who manage services that have been around for many years what keeps them awake at night, they often reply that it is replacing their vehicles. They have a service that is running well, offering good day-to-day services, but their vehicles have a limited lifetime, usually of eight to 10 years. They have a big problem replacing their vehicles.”94
148. The Committee heard examples of how organisations have had to run vehicles beyond their expected useful life-span to meet needs or because of issues in replacing the vehicle. The representative from LCTS said—
“…there are sometimes difficulties to do with the budget decision to replace a vehicle, which might mean that it ends up being operated for 10 years rather than five or six years.”95
149. They further explained that continuing to run older vehicles can mean that organisations are paying to maintain vehicles which are increasingly inefficient and which may require more maintenance stating—
“Funding fleet renewal is the biggest challenge that faces my organisation—and has been for some years. We have an ageing fleet, which... is getting more expensive to maintain and is becoming more unreliable.”96
150. Berwickshire Wheels emphasised in its submission the importance of being able to run a safe and reliable vehicle, or fleet of vehicles, as their service is often vital to the lives of their users—
“We are not interested in making a profit but we would like to operate a reliable and safe fleet of vehicles.”97
151. The witness from HcL echoed the need for capital funding to help with the replacement of an aging fleet. They told the Committee—
“In an ideal world, we would replace some of our dial-a-rides after five or six years and the dial-a-buses after seven or eight but, as councils’ budgets have been squeezed in the past three or four years, we have found that we have not been getting the capital grants that we traditionally got and we have had to make do with what we have.”98
152. John Berry from the Association of Transport Coordinating Officers (ATCO) provided the Committee with an estimate of the costs of funding a fleet replacement scheme. He stated—
“Some £1.5 million would pay for the renewal of 300 minibuses on an eight-year cycle. I am basing that on Rachel Milne’s figure of around £40,000 for a minibus. That works out as £5,000 a year over eight years and, if I have done my sums right, 300 minibuses times £5,000 a year is £1.5 million.”99
153. The Committee explored with the Minister the issues raised regarding the impact of the loss of the RCTI since funding for community transport was rolled into the local authority block grant and whether consideration would be given to re-establishing a similar scheme to support community transport operators in purchasing and operating vehicles. The Minister replied—
“I realise that there are issues to address. As I have said, it would be possible to support the purchase of new vehicles and we will look at what we can do in that respect through either the transport brief or the third sector brief to support third sector organisations.”100
154. The Committee heard a range of opinions regarding the viability of vehicle leasing for community transport as an option for addressing the issue of lack of capital funding for fleet renewal. Some groups advocated it as a potential solution to the barriers of capital investment in new vehicles and the costs associated with maintenance, while other groups believe it to be too expensive and also limited by short-term funding commitments.
155. The Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Company witness told the Committee that short term funding was the biggest barrier to vehicle leasing as a viable option for community transport groups stating—
“Leasing is just not possible when we are on one-year funding, as nobody would take us on for a loan.”101
156. The representative from South West Community Transport added that the eventual cost of a three-year lease might render leasing financially unsound in the long-run telling the Committee—
“The leasing companies look for leases of at least three years. It might be better to buy a vehicle, because it costs between £800 and £900 a month over three years to lease one, which is a lot of money. It is true that the leasing company will do the repairs and pay the road tax, but it is still necessary to cover the insurance.”102
157. This was echoed by the HcL witness who added—
“We have resisted going down the route of leasing... The costs are still high, the mileage is limited and, at the end of the day, the vehicle does not belong to us. At least we have been able to keep hold of vehicles and thereby maintain a service. However, we would not rule out leasing, if it were a viable option.”103
158. Although the Committee heard that private leasing was generally viewed as challenging, both representatives from HcL and LCTS told the Committee that they had successfully leased vehicles from the local council. The witness from HcL told the Committee—
“We have had vehicles that have been leased by the council, so it has been a hands-off arrangement. In some cases, the leases have run out but the vehicles are still going—I am not quite sure how those arrangements were arrived at.”104
159. The Committee was told that in spite of the perceived difficulties associated with leasing in community transport, it still has potential benefits, such as removing the need for an outright capital investment and the difficulties associated with obtaining capital funding. The representative from LCTS said—
“From our perspective, one of the positive aspects of a leasing arrangement is that, if capital can be converted to revenue, that provides the opportunity to have a fleet renewal programme—all other things being equal—in the revenue budget, although there are sometimes difficulties to do with the budget decision to replace a vehicle, which might mean that it ends up being operated for 10 years rather than five or six years. However, such an arrangement means—at least, in principle—that there is a way of replacing the vehicle.”105
160. The CTA Scotland Council representative suggested that in their experience community groups didn’t have a problem leasing, but a wider move toward leasing would require a significant culture change for community transport groups, away from outright vehicle ownership.
161. They also highlighted the questions around who should lease buses, and how should specifications be decided? Discussion were held around whether it was more appropriate that this should be decided at a local level to suit local needs, with rural and urban areas having different challenges. The witness suggested that leasing may have to be considered as a potential next step.106
Conclusions on funding
162. The Committee notes the evidence from community transport operators and providers that the funding arrangements under RCTI/UDRT where money was ring-fenced for community transport initiatives were preferable, particularly in relation to capital funding.
163. It is clear to the Committee that, following the removal of the RCTI/UDRT schemes and the transfer of funding responsibility to local authorities, the level of funding provided to community transport groups from local authorities varies significantly across Scotland. It is concerned that this can lead to additional financial pressures, particularly around capital funding, being placed on community transport operators in those areas where the local authority funding is either lower than that previously available under RCTI/UDRT or is not provided at all.
164. The Committee also notes that an additional consequence of the withdrawal of RCTI/UDRT is that the growth rate of community transport operators in Scotland appears to have slowed considerably.
165. The Committee also recognises that alternative funding sources can be restrictive in the uses to which funding is put, and so may only meet the needs of some service users and not others.
166. Whilst the Committee acknowledges that decisions on their spending priorities are matters wholly for local authorities, it is of the view that the variation in the availability of funding for community transport across Scotland presents significant financial challenges to many operators which in turn can impact on the service provision to users. The Committee therefore considers that the potential for the provision of funding to further assist the community transport sector should be explored.
167. In particular, the Committee is of the view that there is a strong case for a source of capital funding to be introduced to assist in the purchase of new and replacement vehicles. Vehicle purchase has been highlighted as the principal funding concern of operators. If vehicles are replaced at the appropriate stage in their life span this will deliver improvements in reliability, safety and comfort and ensure that services are more efficient and sustainable. The availability of a funding stream would also significantly reduce the financial pressures on community transport providers, allowing them to redirect resources to other aspects of their service provision.
168. Whilst only rough estimates of the likely cost of a managed rolling programme of funding the provision of new or replacement of vehicles across Scotland have been provided to the Committee, it appears that this could be delivered at reasonable cost, particularly when balanced against the likely benefits.
169. The Committee welcomes the very positive comments made by the Minister in evidence that he would be prepared to consider how this might be delivered. The Committee therefore calls on the Scottish Government to work with sector representatives to consider how such a scheme might be developed and introduced. This work should include a full assessment of the likely costs and consider from which source these might be funded. It should also bring forward proposals for application criteria and management and delivery options.
170. In addition, the Committee is concerned by reports that the Change Fund is effectively being used to replace funding from statutory bodies, rather than to provide additional funding for current services. However, the Committee is unclear as to whether this is the case and calls on the Scottish Government to provide it with details of how the Change Fund is being used in relation to community transport.
171. The Committee heard a range of views about the suitability of social enterprise models and pursuing public service contracts as a means of achieving sustainability for community transport groups. The Committee suggests that where such models are seen to be viable, community transport organisations tend already to be pursuing them. The Committee is of the view that this is a strategy which works for some organisations, but is not necessarily an appropriate route for all.
172. The Committee also heard differing views on the suitability of leasing vehicles for community transport purposes, both now and in the future. Although the Committee has no specific comments to make on this issue, it believes that whether or not leasing is an appropriate way forward is dependent on the circumstances of individual community transport organisations.
NATIONAL CONCESSIONARY TRAVEL SCHEME FOR ELDERLY AND DIABLED PEOPLE
Calls for National Concessionary Travel Scheme to be extended to community transport
173. The Committee heard conflicting evidence regarding whether community transport services should be included under the NCTS. Discussions around the NCT were further complicated given widely varied nature of community transport provision where a range of different models are used such as community car schemes, door-to–door dial a ride schemes for individuals and contracted assisted travel schemes using minibuses.
174. While the Committee did not consider this issue in great depth, issues regarding reimbursement rates, incorporating Section 19 and Section 22 services and the costs associated with participating in the scheme were discussed.107
175. The Committee was aware of the Still Waiting campaign launched by Age Scotland and was told by those advocating an extension of the NCTS to cover Section 19 community transport services that this would address inequalities between those with access to public transport and those without, and between those who are able to use public transport and those who cannot. The representative from HcL told the Committee—
“… we felt that it was not fair that the general public could access public transport for free but our users, who are often unemployed or on low incomes, had to pay to get on specialist services…It is not right that those people are having to pay high transport costs when they should be getting transport for free or for a nominal amount.”108
176. Despite this support for the principal of extending free travel for those using community transport services, the HcL witness told the Committee of the difficulties encountered during previous attempts to take part in the NCT Scheme, which included the operator bearing the cost of not being reimbursed for the full fare cost. They went on to tell the Committee—
“Another factor that prevented us from joining the scheme was that the traffic commissioner felt that we were not running national routes, although we felt that that was a bit of a red herring, because initially they said that we could do it. However, for us, the main stopper was the local councils, who said that, if we had concessionary fares and everyone could get on board for free, we would be flooded by demand. The councils were not able to provide additional resourcing, in capital or revenue, to allow us to uplift. Obviously, if people could get on for free on our services, which take people from door to door, with assistance with shopping, they would take that option rather than have to walk to a bus stop even if they can do so.”109
177. The issue of extending the national concessionary fares scheme was raised with the Minister. The Committee questioned the Minister as to whether the NCTS was the most appropriate use of resources to help funding issues within the community transport sector. The Minister advised the Committee—
“I have tried to approach the matter with an open mind, but some of the practical difficulties—a number of which were laid out by Jim Eadie in the debate last week—are real problems. I am thinking of things such as the investment in the infrastructure that would be required if community transport were to be included in the national scheme. Is that infrastructure the right priority on which to spend thousands of pounds? Also, it would be very difficult to extend the scheme to the whole of the community transport sector, given that it involves taxis and other vehicles.”110
178. The Committee explored the reimbursement rates for operators taking part in the NCT which are set at a rate with the objective being that bus operators should be financially no better or worse off as a result of their participation in the scheme.
179. The Committee is aware that the rate is set by applying a fixed reimbursement rate and currently sits at 60% repayment to operators. It is assumed that the shortfall will be met by the increased demand for the service with a greater number of passengers using the service.
180. The Committee heard that the NCTS assumes that the short-fall in reimbursement will be balanced out by new non-NCT passengers, and would create economies of scale. NCT journeys are regarded as 'additional journeys', and the scheme was designed to ensure that providers were no better or worse off for carrying NCT fares.
181. Those in favour of extending NCT have said that to ensure that community transport operators could participate in the scheme, they would have to be reimbursed at 100%. The representative from South West Community Transport put it simply when they told the Committee—
“Age Scotland identified that community transport operators would need to get 100 per cent of the fares, because we could not afford to get 60 per cent. That is what CT operators are looking for. If the CT operators are brought into the concessionary travel scheme, we will need that money to keep our businesses afloat and to keep our buses on the road.”111
182. During evidence, the CTA Scotland representative told the Committee—
“My understanding of the thinking behind the concessionary fares scheme is that the reimbursement rate has always been less than 100 per cent …because it was viewed that the scheme would generate new passengers. That generation factor would mean that, given the volume of new passengers, the operator would gain economies of scale that would make the service perfectly viable. However, that kind of assumes that the operators are big. That generation factor would not necessarily apply to small community transport operators, whose opportunities for growth will always be pretty limited.”112
Section 19 and 22 services
183. Given that the majority of community transport groups operate under a Section 19 licence, meaning that they cannot carry members of the general public, the Committee explored whether the assumed economies of scale were relevant if the scheme was to be extended.
184. The representative from CTA Scotland told the Committee—
“Most community transport services are run under a section 19 permit. Those are not eligible for the concessionary fares scheme because they are not registered routes—technically, that is what bars them from participating in the scheme”.113
185. They also noted the issue around Section 22 services having to run scheduled routes, rather than demand responsive travel for individuals or private group travel—
“Section 22 permits allow an operator to carry the general public, but they must design their service in detail up front. Routes must be worked out along with when the service is going to run, and those things must be registered with the traffic commissioner. Once that registration has taken place, if the operator wants to change the service, there is quite a laborious process to be followed.”114
Costs associated with participating in the scheme
186. In October 2012, Transport Scotland released its Delivery strategy – smart & integrated ticketing document, in which it notes that—
“all Scotland’s 7,100 buses are equipped with ITSO smart enabled ticket machines… and probably have a credible lifespan of at least 5 years. The national concessionary travel scheme works very well on this platform, with 148m transactions per annum across 260 bus operators using the national entitlement card (NEC), and Transport Scotland ISAMs (smart chip within each ticket machine) and HOPS (central back office which securely processes all smart transactions).”115
187. The Committee was told by community transport operators which currently participate in the scheme of the significant costs associated with participation in relation to the hardware and software required and how potentially prohibitive they can become. The LCTS witness told the Committee—
“We operate five community bus services in Midlothian, on which 95 per cent of the passengers are concessionary card holders. The challenge is that the costs of participating in the scheme have been transferred from Transport Scotland to us as the operator. That is becoming increasingly onerous.”116
188. They went on to tell the Committee—
“...we will eventually have to bear the cost of replacing the ticket machines and the depot reader. We are already bearing the cost of repairs when machines break down and, in our experience, they are not particularly reliable. There is also the cost of the dedicated line to Transport Scotland for the back office. All those costs are coming to us, and we expect them to increase, which is a concern... We have four ticket machines and one depot reader. We understand that, if we had to replace them all now, it would cost more than £5,000 and possibly up to £10,000.”117
189. The Committee learned that in the case of some Section 22 licenced community transport services, local authorities have found ways to enable groups to use smart ticketing technology by covering some of the cost. The witness from CTA Scotland said—
“Some local authorities and regional transport partnerships largely cover the back-office costs if a community transport operator is prepared to run a section 22 service, which can participate in the concessionary fares scheme. Highland Council has a nominal charge for the service, but it is reasonable, so operators do not have to absorb the full cost. Strathclyde partnership for transport, which covers 11 or 12 local authority areas, provides the back-office equipment for community transport operators that run section 22 services, which is helpful. However, that is not the case throughout the country.”118
190. The Committee also touched upon the issue that a vast number of community transport operator do not use buses at all which further complicated the issues associated with extending the scheme. The CTA Scotland representative told the Committee—
“There could also be problems with car schemes that use volunteers, as they might not be willing to have equipment put into their vehicles. If we start from a social inclusion principle and want to include vehicles that are not buses—it could be multipurpose vehicles or cars—the only practical way round the problem would be to use hand-held equipment. I understand that Transport Scotland is considering a hand-held piece of equipment. That would certainly be of interest to our sector... We would need the technology to change—and it may well be changing—in favour of smaller operators.”119
191. Aberdeenshire Council raised in its submission to the Committee the concern that an extension of the NCT scheme to volunteer car services would risk overburdening services—
“any proposals to extend free concessionary travel to voluntary car schemes could lead to significant increased demand for transport which could overburden some schemes who have limited numbers of volunteers, so further consultation with groups would be beneficial prior to the introduction of any such initiative.”120
Inequity of service availability
192. The Committee heard concern around the inequality created by some NCTS pass-holders’ lack of access to public transport and the subsequent necessity of paying for community transport or private transport.
193. The Committee was made aware that this is a problem experienced particularly by service users in rural areas, although not exclusively. A lack of access to public transport, or inability to use public transport, can still necessitate the use of expensive private transport or community transport in urban areas too.
194. The Committee was told that in rural areas, the cost of using either private or community transport can be significantly higher than in urban areas due to the distances travelled. The representative from ACTO emphasised that for individuals whose only choice is to use community transport, the costs can still be very high. Giving an example of the costs of £57.50 for a round-trip of 128 miles at 45p per mile they stated—
“For the little old lady sitting in Aberfeldy who has to go to her appointment at Ninewells hospital, £57.60 is a lot of money to have to pay out. If she could use the bus to get from Aberfeldy to Ninewells hospital, she could get there for free. There is a disparity between the people who can use public transport and those who cannot.”121
195. During oral evidence, service users highlighted that for private transport the cost is often higher than community transport.122 However, service users felt that community transport, although it costs more than public transport, has added value aspects to the service which make it good value for money. Jackie Paterson said in evidence—
“...people get an excellent service for their money from community transport. Somebody comes to their door, comes in and helps them with their jacket, for example, if they need help. It is expensive, but it is an excellent service and it is subsidised. Using a commercial taxi company, even with a taxi card, would be an awful lot more expensive.”123
196. The representative from ATCO went on to state that—
“I do not think that the concessionary reimbursement scheme is the right fit for community transport, because of many of the issues that we have touched on. Surely we can think of another system that can bring down the seemingly eye-watering cost of accessing services.”124
197. This was a view echoed by the Minister during evidence, who clarified that the Scottish Government has no current plans to extend the NCTS to community transport groups, beyond those already registered under Section 22.125
198. Committee members were keen to explore whether the concessionary fares scheme was an appropriate tool with which to address any lack of parity, and whether there were other options for doing so in the context of preventative spend and the change fund. The Minister responded—
“I cannot speak about the change fund, but I realise why you mention it, in that it is about considering how spend across budgets might prevent greater spend overall. In theory, there is no question but that that could be done... I think I accept that what you suggest can be done; the issues are how we do that in practice while ensuring that the system has integrity, and how we ensure that we can make the funding available.”126
199. During evidence on related priorities for addressing the barriers to community transport provision, such as driver training, the Minister pointed out that decision would have to be made on where funding priorities lay. The Minister said—
“It will not be possible to provide the finance for all the things that the sector wants—additional money for the concessionary travel scheme, BSOG, vehicles and training—so it would be useful to get a sense of the sector’s priorities through the work of the committee before we make any decisions.”127
Conclusions on proposals to extend concessionary fares scheme
200. The Committee acknowledges the case put forward by Age Scotland’s Still Waiting campaign on behalf of service users.
201. The Committee also acknowledges the evidence heard regarding the significant cost burdens which would be placed on community transport operators in purchasing, maintaining and replacing ticketing infrastructure, as well as the negative impact the imposition of a reimbursement rate would potentially have on their revenue raising capabilities.
202. In addition, the Committee also notes that given the strong reliance of the sector on private cars for much of its service provision the extension of the concessionary fares scheme would present hugely significant logistical and administrative challenges.
203. The Committee recognises that there is no easy or immediate solution to this problem, but shares the concerns around the inequity of transport provision for those who cannot access free NCTS services. It notes that this may, in some cases, compound existing ineqity resulting from uneven or limited public transport provision in some areas. However, based on the evidence heard it does not consider that an extension of the NCTS to community transport services, beyond those registered under Section 22, would be the best mechanism by which to address these issues. The Committee recommends, however, that the Scottish Government explores ways in which to address the issue of inequity in the context of community transport provision, and how this might be most appropriately addressed.
Minibus driver training
204. The Committee was informed that for community transport organisations one of the most pressing challenges they face are the costs of training minibus drivers. This is as a result of changes to European legislation around driver training, specifically D1 licencing and the fact that drivers who qualified after 1997, must now obtain a D1 licence if they are to be able to drive a minibus which can cost around £1000.
205. In considering the issue of minibus driver training and the requirement to obtain a D1 licence, the Committee was also told of concerns regarding the criteria associated with list of exceptions to this requirement and how this increases the challenges face by community transport operators.
D1 Licence age and weight exceptions
206. Drivers who qualified after 1997 have to meet a list of exemption criteria if they are to drive a minibus without first obtaining a D1 licence. One of the criteria contained in this list of exceptions is that the maximum weight of the minibus is not more than 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 tonnes with specialist equipment for disabled passengers.
207. Both written and oral evidence to the Committee confirmed that very few vehicles suitable for community transport needs fall into this weight category as a result of the increasing weight of wheelchair technology and associated safety measures.
Impact on recruitment of volunteers
208. The CTA Scotland representative highlighted the impact this could have on recruiting volunteers saying—
“No matter how community willed they might be, a volunteer cannot drive one of these vehicles without a D1 licence.”128
209. The experience of operators on the impact on recruiting volunteers was also highlighted by the representative from LCTS who told the Committee—
“The difficulty is that the pool of drivers who are eligible to drive minibuses is getting older and smaller. It is to do with European Community driving licensing legislation, so we are unlikely to be able to change it. That is an issue not just for the community transport sector, but for local authorities in finding new, younger drivers to drive their vehicles.”129
210. They went on to say that the problem will only get worse stating—
“In a few years’ time, no one under 40 will be able to drive a vehicle without D1; 10 years hence, no one under 50 will be able to. The population who are able to do so are getting older and older, and I see that as a problem. It is certainly a legislative problem, but it impacts not only on community transport operators but on local authority education departments, whose costs are going to rise.”130
211. Community transport groups also reported that they are “almost reaching the tipping point” in volunteer numbers. The witness from LCTS told the Committee—
“There are very few drivers with D1 driving entitlement under the age of 33. Traditionally, there have been a lot of young volunteers, but that arrangement is becoming difficult. We are probably just getting to the tipping point, at which there will start to be a serious problem.”131
212. The increasing weight of minibuses used by community transport operators was highlighted by the CTA Scotland representative who told the Committee—
“Many organisations are looking to have accessible vehicles and anticipate that many people using the vehicles might be in wheelchairs. Wheelchair technology is getting more sophisticated, but wheelchairs are getting heavier.”132
213. This point was echoed by the representative from LCTS who added that the weight exemption had in fact created a tension between choosing a vehicle which meets the needs of service users, and one which could be driven by those who had passed their driving test following 1997. They advised the Committee that—
“Given the latest access and safety requirements, it is very difficult if not impossible to find a vehicle below that weight. There is a real pressure to trade off on the access and safety design features of the vehicle in order to come below that weight, meet the criteria and get an exception for the D1 licence. There is a tension there.”133
Cost of D1 licence training
214. The Committee heard in evidence that the risks associated with a significant reduction of volunteer numbers in the future is compounded further by the cost of obtaining a D1 licence where exemptions do not apply.
215. A range of costs have been indicated by those who have given evidence. The Committee was told that the cost of training one person in order to obtain a D1 licence is between £800 and £1200. This cost covers theory and practice tests, practical training and a supervisor, amongst other elements. The witness from CTA Scotland said—
“I could not give you chapter and verse on how the elements are made up, but there are fixed costs for the various elements—the theory and practice—which come to about £500. That is before the trainee goes on to a 16-seater vehicle, for instance, to practise. ... The cost is a combination of whatever the training costs plus the fixed costs of the various elements in the test. I have gathered from the training providers that the costs are generally in the order of £800 to £1,000 or more. That is a substantial cost for a volunteer who wants to get involved.”134
216. Community transport groups stated that the cost of training would have to be met either by the volunteer or by the organisation. In addition, for volunteers in full-time employment time off would be required for training – between 5 and 7 days on average The CTA Scotland witness stated—
“Those costs are largely prohibitive to volunteers; after all, not many of them will be willing to spend £1,000 on obtaining a licence. As well as the cost, of course, there is also the time that needs to be spent to obtain a licence.”135
217. However, the Committee learned that in some instances, community transport groups have been able to reduce their training costs by going to other, larger organisations with training capacity. The South West Community Transport representative told the Committee—
“In Glasgow, there is the North Area Transport Association, which gave one of our drivers D1 training. There is also Coalfield, which did a lot of our training when we were set up. If such organisations could provide D1 training at lower cost—while we covered costs and expenses, or whatever—that would be beneficial, because £1,000 is a lot of money to ask for as a grant. That would ensure that we had more people with the right accreditation working for us, and that there were more qualified people working outside the community transport area, too.”136
218. The representative also noted that where there are young volunteer drivers, it is becoming financially onerous to pay for training—
“It is too expensive for us to put people through their D1 test, but something has to be done. Our young drivers are 25 years old. We could possibly use them on accessible work, but we cannot afford to train them.”137
Volunteers leaving after training
219. The Committee raised concerns about the possibility of trained volunteers leaving for paid employment, after being provided with D1 training at the expense of a community transport. The representative from LCTS raised concerns telling the Committee—
“The difficulty, particularly if many volunteer drivers are used, lies in where the investment will come from and whether the people concerned might use that qualification to go and get employment somewhere else. That will be good for that person, but not for the organisations that invested in the training.”138
220. Responses from organisations were varied, but most suggested that this was not a significant issue. The HcL witness’s comment was typical of what was heard by the Committee when they said—
“We are fortunate in being able to keep our staff for a long time—many of our staff have been with us for 20 or 30 years. However, that is also a problem for us, as it means that we have an ageing workforce. We build into our provisions of service the notion that someone who leaves within a year will have to repay half of the cost of the training, but that is up to each organisation. That has not been a problem for us, because we have found that people tend to stay with us. However, it could be a problem, particularly with volunteers because they will leave after giving an organisation a certain amount of time. Organisations have to value and nurture their volunteers, but they will come and go.”139
221. The representative from the CTA Scotland Committee noted that the organisation had recently trained a D1 trainer, and had since opened up training opportunities to volunteers, in return for a commitment of 1 year of service, consisting of a minimum set number of journeys.140
222. The Committee notes the potential risk that once training is provided to volunteers they may leave the operator soon afterwards for jobs in the public transport sector, thereby negating the benefits from investment in training. While not a major issue raised in evidence to the Committee, it believes that any funding and support provided to community transport providers relating to volunteer training should have appropriate safe-guards in place to minimise this risk.
Benefits of D1 licensing changes
223. The witness from HcL suggested that although the changes to D1 licensing had created difficulties for community transport organisations in terms of volunteer numbers and cost, it had also created benefits in terms of professionalism of the services—
“The D1 requirement is a necessary thing for the industry. It represents an improvement in driver standards, and it professionalises the work. We try to run our service as closely as possible to being a passenger-carrying vehicle operation, although we are not a PCV licence holder. All our drivers have a minimum D1 licence, and many of them have full category D licences. That professionalises them. Either we invest in their training, or the drivers come to us with one of those licences. .. However, it is a good thing to professionalise drivers. They are transporting groups of people in large vehicles, and it is a skilled job. People need more than just a car licence to do that. It is a good idea.”141
224. They did, however, acknowledge that community transport organisations which are dependent on volunteers more than paid staff face more of a challenge—
“Fortunately, we do not have to rely on having a lot of volunteer drivers, who might come without the D1 licence, and that is where organisations might have a crisis—if they do not have enough D1 drivers.”142
225. The issue of how to address the prohibitive costs of training drivers to obtain the D1 licence was raised with the Minister who agreed that more could be done to organise training more efficiently. The Minister told the Committee—
“Taking on the provision of training can be a challenge, especially for small organisations. For that reason, there must—at the very least—be scope for more collaboration between different community transport providers to provide that training.
It would be possible for the Government to provide support to reduce the cost to organisations.”143
Conclusions and recommendations on driver training
226. The Committee welcomes the commitment from the Scottish Government to provide support to look at ways of assisting volunteers obtain the training required through collaboration and funding support to community transport providers.
227. The Committee believes there is scope to examine the potential benefits of coordinating training across the sector and of supporting and increasing the capacity of larger operators to provide driver training.
228. The Committee recommends that training coordination be looked at in the context of developing a wider means of support for community transport in Scotland and that, where appropriate, larger community transport organisations should be encouraged and supported in providing training for smaller organisations.
229. The Committee was made aware over the course of the inquiry that there is, in general, a lack of joint working between agencies responsible for the provision of transport in Scotland; local authorities, partnership agencies, and the third sector, and this has been cited in evidence as a barrier to community transport.
230. Although this was not discussed in extensive detail, the Committee did touch on the issues of: transport planning; duplication of provision and resources; under-utilisation of resources; the impact upon service users; and examples of good practice.
231. Although the Committee has heard good examples of joint working, the situation across Scotland is highly variable. The issue is further complicated by a lack of firm information about community transport in terms of its role and value in the provision of transport, and in meeting local shared outcomes.
232. The Committee perceived throughout its inquiry that consideration of community transport in transport planning by local authorities and partnership agencies varies by region. The Committee was told how, as such, changes in funding or provision decisions can fundamentally impact upon the operation of the other agencies, including community transport groups. Care Lochaber pointed out in its submission—
“Any changes to public transport arrangements are likely to have a direct and immediate impact on demand for our services as clients see us as approachable and willing to solve individual travel needs rather than merely providing a set service.”144
233. The Committee is aware that public-sector-wide budget cuts have, consequently, had a tangible impact across all bodies associated with community transport. As with the local authorities, other agencies are reviewing how funding is allocated.
Transport for healthcare services
234. The Committee received a considerable number of written submissions highlighting that one of the major concerns for community transport organisations was the impact of changes to non-emergency patient transport provision in Scotland, and the impacts this can have on demand for community transport. Community transport organisations report having observed a considerable rise in the number of requests for non-emergency healthcare transport.
235. In evidence to the Committee, ACTO, amongst others, advocated financial contributions by the SAS and NHS boards to off-set the rising demands on community transport as a result of changes to their services. The ATCO witness stated—
“We have been involved in a long-running debate with those fellow public sector agencies, in which we have said that we would like them to put more into community transport. A huge amount of community transport activity relates to hospital and other healthcare appointments, and I feel that that is not properly recognised by NHS boards and the SAS.” 145
236. Given the importance of this issue, the ICI Committee invited input from the Health and Sport Committee which held a roundtable evidence session on community transport with representatives from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; the Scottish Ambulance Service; the British Red Cross; Royal Voluntary Service; and Voluntary Action Scotland.
Health and Sport Committee consideration
237. The Health and Sport Committee held its roundtable session on 28 May 2013, and the report is reproduced in full at Annexe F to this report.
238. In the roundtable session the Committee explored a number of key themes with witnesses; strategic planning and coordination; costs; and issues faced by remote and rural communities.
239. The Health and Sport Committee made a number of recommendations in relation to these key issues, and in particular wished to draw the Committee’s attention to its recommendation around funding, stating—
“… a more co-ordinated, integrated approach to funding may lead to savings as a result of fewer missed appointments.”146
240. The Health and Sport Committee concluded that, in general, there is still a need for better coordination, strategic planning and use of technology in the planning of patient transport. The report concluded that—
“The Committee is slightly concerned that, two years after the Audit Scotland report, co-ordination and planning transport as part of care are still aspirations rather than standard practice. That said, it is clear that there is willingness on the part of the SAS, NHS boards and partners to develop more strategic systems”147
Short life working group report on patient transport
241. In Audit Scotland’s 2011 report, one of the key recommendations was the formation of a Scottish Government short life working group on transport for health and social care.
242. Reference has been made to the pending publication of this report throughout written and oral evidence, and it was published on 4 May 2013.
243. The report makes eight key recommendations—
- consider the opportunities to test how a patient focused integrated health and social care transport model would work in practice;
- establish and monitor the success of separate pilots in rural and urban areas of cross sector community focussed integrated transport models;
- NHS Boards should identify an appropriate lead from within their management structures; NHS Boards and RTPs should review guidance in respect of the Transport (Scotland) Act (2005) and work together to strengthen the links between them;
- SAS and NHS Boards should continue to work together to ensure transport for those with a medical or mobility need;
- All partners should use the Health and Social Care Transport Toolkit to assess and profile current activity and expenditure in relation to non-emergency patient transport;
- HITS and HTCS should be reviewed to ensure they remain fit for purpose and offer value for money; and
- wider transport issues identified in the course of this review which affect access to health and social care (such as bus availability) but which are beyond the scope of the SLWG should be referred to appropriate existing committees or work streams such as SG’s Bus Stakeholders Group.148
Resource sharing and efficiency
244. The Committee heard from several witnesses and community transport groups that resource efficiency is an area where improved joint working could play a beneficial role.
245. Groups noted instances of local authority vehicles being significantly under-utilised, and advocated opening use of these vehicles up to community groups.
246. Service users also noted that demand for community transport is often greater than supply, which can partially be a result of vehicle unavailability. Service user Mike Harrison told the Committee—
“The problem with HcL is that the demand is greater than the supply. About 10 per cent of requests for transport have to be turned down because there are not enough drivers or vehicles to cover it.”149
247. The Committee heard that sharing resources could help to most appropriately meet the needs of the service user, and improve resource and finance efficiency. The representative from HcL explained further saying—
“It may not be appropriate to send a dial-a-ride vehicle at a high local authority trip cost. It might be more appropriate to send a car or to share resources more—to share trips so that one vehicle would do several trips. People have different needs.”150
248. The Committee was told of instances of local authority vehicles being released for use by community transport groups in specific instances. The WRVS representative told the Committee how they occasionally have access to local authority vehicles, but the local authority don’t share information about what vehicles are available stating—
“As I said, we do not run our own buses, but we sometimes share buses with the local authority. Colleagues have said that it would be useful if local authorities could let us know what buses they have, and if and when we can use them… I suspect that there are other resources out there that we could use, but we are not getting access to them because the local authorities do not share the information with us.”151
249. The Committee was made aware of good examples of resource sharing and joint working. In oral and written evidence. Highland Council witnesses informed the Committee about an upcoming joint-working pilot study in Lochaber. The pilot project brings together the local authority, NHS, SAS and third sector to avoid underutilisation of transport services. The pilot is intended to scope out the issues which might arise from joint working, and capture data. A representative from Highland Council told the Committee—
“There are NHS vehicles, ambulance service vehicles, school buses and community transport, and there is a lot of duplication. It was suggested that the vehicles could be used more efficiently, and we are alive to that…. We will pool all the vehicles, the community group will handle the bookings, and we will try to get more bums on more seats more often, more flexibly and more cost effectively.”152
250. Dumfries and Galloway Council reported that they carried out a similar project in Wigtownshire in May 2011 as part of the Rural Transport Solutions project. The pilot project saw council vehicle usage rise from 20% to 67%, with a reduction in costs. Dumfries and Galloway Council intends to implement this scheme throughout the region.153
Other examples of joint working
251. The Committee has been made aware of the extensive variation across Scotland in how, and whether, community transport groups are funded to provide transport to and from healthcare appointments. Some local authorities work closely with community transport groups to develop ways of meeting health care transport needs in their area, but others do not.
252. In its submission, Berwickshire Wheels describes participating in a one-year pilot, funded by Scottish Borders Council, called “Taxi to Healthcare”. The scheme provides transport to healthcare centres in the area for NCT pass holders, with some minor exceptions. Berwickshire Wheels invoices the council at £1 per mile for these journeys. The service, however, does not include the local general hospital, but does allow for connections to public transport to the hospital, where NCT passes can be used.154
253. Because journeys to consultation appointment at the Borders General Hospital under the “Taxi to Healthcare” are not reimbursed, Berwickshire Wheels charges service users a fare of 60p per mile, which can add up to £30 for a return journey from Duns to the BGH. It also involves an uncertain waiting time for volunteer drivers, and restricts the number of journeys they can undertake. 155
Joint booking services
254. The Committee heard in evidence the problems for service users as a result of the fragmented nature of transport provision in Scotland. Service users described the challenges associated with limited advanced booking, unavailability of vehicles or drivers, under-utilisation of the vehicles sent for transport.156
255. The Committee was told that a joint working exercise which service users felt would be most beneficial for them would be a shared booking system. A service user told the Committee—
“From the user’s point of view, it would be nice if we did not need to shop around to find someone who can take us. If one group cannot take us, perhaps it could link into another group’s booking system to see whether someone else is available.”157
256. The HcL representative highlighted to the Committee the move in Holland to coordinate transport at a national level. The Committee heard that although there were benefits in terms of best meeting the needs of service users, the cost of transport was significant.158
257. However, Highland Council representatives described in evidence how they are in the process of engaging in joint working with partner agencies and the third sector to run a pilot transport booking hub for the region—
“We are developing a pilot integrated transport hub in Lochaber with the National Health Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service, and working with the school transport service. The community transport sector will be at the hub of that, organising and booking transport—that is absolutely key.”159
Conclusions and recommendations on joint working
258. The Committee welcomes the evidence emerging from the Health and Sport Committee’s roundtable session on transport for healthcare, and thanks it for reporting its findings to this Committee.
259. The Committee echoes the recommendations and conclusions the Health and Sport Committee reached, particularly with regard to taking a more coordinated approach to patient transport.
260. The Committee also welcomes the publication of the short-life working group report on transport for health and social care. It notes that a number of its recommendations relate closely to issues discussed in this report, such as those relating to the benefits of looking at integrated cross sector transport models aimed at delivering more effective and efficient health and social care.
261. The Committee has been made aware that there are good examples of joint working in some regions, but this is not universally the case. There are widely varying degrees of engagement and joint working between local authorities, partnership agencies and the third sector.
262. The Committee recommends that local authorities consider the value of engaging with partnership agencies and third sector groups in their area to establish what resources might be available for shared use, and how these groups can work together to meet local shared outcomes.
263. The Committee recommends that local authorities and partner agencies be encouraged by the Scottish Government to look at joint working pilot schemes carried out and on-going in Dumfries and Galloway, and Highland, and examine the potential benefits such schemes might bring to their own council areas.
Coordination and leadership
264. Over the course of the inquiry the Committee heard a range of views about whether there is a need for a coordinated approach to community transport in Scotland, and if so, what form this might take.
265. The core challenge for any form of coordinated approach appeared to arise from the organic nature in which community transport groups tend to emerge. As a result the community transport sector in Scotland is fragmented and highly variable, as described by Dundee Voluntary Action in its submission—
“There is no coordinated nationwide approach. CT has “just grown” where local individuals have had the vision and energy to get it going. This has resulted in a post code lottery. Some lucky people can access a CT service.”160
Calls for a strategic approach to community transport
266. A number of responses to the call for views advocated the development of a national strategy for community transport. Respondents believed that such a strategy would be beneficial in overcoming some of the barriers discussed during the course of the inquiry.
267. The Committee was told that a strategic approach is necessary to the improvement of community transport across Scotland. The representative from HcL felt that a strategy would help to bring all community transport in Scotland up to a shared standard—
“There are some good examples of community transport, but that is not the case throughout Scotland. That is where a national strategy could help—it could help areas in which community transport is poor… The replication in other places of good examples and their encouragement would benefit all of Scotland, not just certain pockets.”161
268. Witnesses also saw a shared strategy as a way of developing local authority and partner agencies’ understanding of community transport and how it can help meet local outcomes. The LCTS representative said that—
“It would help to identify the role of community transport in the shared services agenda, for example, which we feel is quite difficult to engage in at the moment.”162
269. The Committee was keen to unpick whether witnesses envisaged the development of a strategy for community transport as a role for the Scottish Government, and whether this was appropriate.
270. The representative from LCTS suggested it would be beneficial for the Scottish Government to be involved in the development of a national strategy in order to overcome some of the legislative barriers to community transport.163
271. However, a Highland Council representative suggested that a strategy would be beneficial in that it would help to define the outcomes to be achieved and how this might be done. But he noted that in terms of delivery this should not be attempted centrally because needs and social outcomes are best understood at a local level.164
272. Over the course of the inquiry, the Committee was reminded of the importance of recognising that the development of community transport is an inherently bottom-up process.165
273. The witness from ATCO added that attempting to create these community transport structures from above was inadvisable, and unlikely to succeed, stating—
“If we try to establish something now, particularly if a local authority tries to impose it on a local community, it is hard to make it grow because, as has been said, it needs to come from the bottom up. Unless we have the bottom-up demand, community transport does not really get going.”166
274. The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) witness argued that it would not be helpful to centrally direct community transport because of the wide variation in challenges and needs between regions. Nor did he did believe that there was a need for a national agency for community transport, but there would be value in a framework for quality and governance. They told the Committee—
“We see that there might be a need for a national framework for reasonable quality and good governance—without the framework being onerous, because that would stymie the whole sense of community transport, with volunteering and everything that comes along with it. There might be an opportunity to have a national set of reasonable standards but, certainly in our experience, the delivery has to be done very much on local content.”167
275. The representative from the CTA Scotland Committee echoed this later in evidence—
“I tend to agree that there is a need for a national strategy on community transport….We covered earlier the idea that communities should be free to do what they need to do. I totally agree that there should be quality guidelines written into a national strategy, which would apply to all schemes, whether related to cars or buses. I also hope that funding would be written into a national strategy… it should say, “This is what the national strategy is; this is what will be given to each local authority and statutory organisation to encourage them to do it; and these are the guidelines.”168
276. The Minister also commented on the potentially negative impacts on local community operators of developing a strategy at a national level. The Minister told the Committee—
“A range of diverse groups provide community transport throughout the country and such groups often play a local role that is born from a charitable source or a third sector source. There is a danger in a national strategy that takes a top-down approach, because we do not want to frustrate or inhibit the development of local provision. I can see that the idea of having a national strategy has its merits, because it lets everyone know what the framework is, but I would rather wait and see what the committee’s conclusions are before I come to a conclusion”169
277. The Committee has heard about the work carried out by the CTA in Scotland, supporting community transport groups at every level of development, and in coordinating with national and local agencies, and their extensive knowledge of the sector. The Committee also heard from the Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Company witness that the CTA has itself been subject to funding pressure, and staff redundancies have severely reduced capacity—
“The CTA is hugely supportive in Scotland, but its funding has been cut this year, unfortunately. Our representative’s post has now been cut to half time, but she still has to cover quite a bit of Scotland and a large number of groups—there are 32 groups in Highland. She is just really stretched.”170
278. Witnesses suggested that the CTA, with additional resources and support, would be best placed to provide the leadership and coordination required to oversee the development and implementation of a coordinated strategic approach. The representative from South West Community Transport said—
“The CTA does a brilliant job, so maybe something like the CTA and Transport Scotland—but not another board of directors. The CTA benefits all of us. If we have any problems at all, we just lift up the phone, and if John MacDonald can help, he will. He has the right experience, and there may be somebody from Transport Scotland who also knows a lot about this area. Really, CT organisations just need backup.”171
279. Aberdeenshire Council advocated an increase in CTA support in Scotland—
“It is considered that the ICI inquiry would benefit from considering …an increase in the number of CTA support officers in Scotland would be beneficial to provide local impartial advice and support to groups.”172
280. On the role of the CTA and the level of support provided by the Scottish Government, the Minister told the Committee—
“I say that we have provided a fair settlement for the CTA and we continue to support it. If there was to be increased funding, it would be best to look at that in the context of the committee’s other recommendations.”173
Conclusions and recommendations on coordination and leadership
281. The Committee considers it essential that the management and delivery of community transport services remains at a local level to meet specific local needs and challenges and in the Committee’s view there should be no attempt to alter or undermine this approach. It therefore considers that these issues need to be considered at a national level, but with care taken to ensure that there is no centralised imposition of particular models of service provision. The Committee is of the view that any move towards any such imposition would not be in the best interests of the sector and would fail to reflect the wide variation in needs and challenges which exist in different communities.
282. However, the Committee also acknowledges the wide variation in levels of capacity, knowledge and experience in the sector. Some larger organisations or those with experienced staff find it easier to overcome financial barriers and other challenges to effective and sustainable service provision, whilst smaller and newer operators can have significant difficulty in doing so.
283. In this regard, the Committee sees benefit in developing and making available an appropriate central resource from which advice can be coordinated and provided in a consistent manner on such matters as—
- setting up and managing a community transport service;
- accessing funding sources;
- staff training; and
- development and the application of relevant safety standards.
284. If such a resource was available to the sector, it could help to reduce the need for operators with limited staff resources to carry out time consuming searches for advice and information. It could provide examples of good practice, contacts with experienced operators elsewhere in the sector and advice on accessing or bidding for funds.
285. It is clear from evidence provided to the Committee that CTA Scotland is a respected organisation with a high level of expertise and knowledge of the specific and wide-ranging needs of the sector in Scotland, and is already viewed as a source of reliable and accurate advice and support throughout the sector. The Committee therefore believes that the CTA Scotland may be best placed to take on an expanded role and to lead in the development and implementation of a set of sector standards and to provide support and advice to operators on an on-going basis.
286. The Committee therefore calls on the Scottish Government to work with CTA Scotland and other stakeholders to draw up detailed proposals for the development of shared standards and guidelines for quality and governance of the community transport sector, together with the provision of associated support and advice services. The Committee also calls on the Scottish Government to review the funding level for the CTA Scotland to ensure that this is appropriate to its expanded role.
AVAILABILITY OFINFORMATION ON COMMUNITY TRANSPORT
287. Over the course of this inquiry, it has become apparent to the Committee that there is a significant absence of qualitative and quantitative information on the provision of and need for community transport in Scotland.
288. This absence of information applies across multiple aspects of the community transport sector: current provision and regional variations; projected future service user needs; the social and economic impacts of community transport on service users and communities; funding allocation; and spend.
Importance of information
289. The Committee learned that the availability of robust, accurate and up-to-date information is vital to community transport because without an understanding of current provision, it is difficult to understand where unmet needs and gaps in provision exist. Without understanding where the gaps in provision exist, it is difficult to plan for future needs.
290. In setting the scene for this inquiry, the witness from CTA Scotland outlined that there are gaps in the information about community transport provision in Scotland. The CTA had mapped the distribution of community transport organisations they knew of in Scotland, but it is the information which isn’t visible, such as the size, scope or type of service, which is particularly important because this can determine the types of need the service can meet. The representative from CTA Scotland said—
“There are gaps. We produced a map a couple of years ago and dotted it with all the organisations that we knew about. Sometimes the dot can be a tiny organisation, for example in a village in the Highlands. It might look good on a map but the extent of the service might be tiny, within a relatively small geographic area. Some areas are quite well served, but there are many large gaps.”174
291. This lack of data about the extent, scale and scope of community transport groups means that it is challenging to establish to what extent transport needs are being met, and where gaps exist in the provision of community transport and the types of needs not being met.
292. These challenges are compounded further by the scale of regional variation in terms of needs, provision, funding, region-specific geographical challenges, and current public sector engagement with community transport providers.
293. In some areas, depending on local demographics and public transport provision, services may be more heavily weighted towards meeting the needs of a particular service user group, as described in the submission from Buckie Accessible Bus Scheme—
“We are in an area popular for retirement; many people go south or abroad to work, and return here when retiral occurs. And many people from all over the UK choose this area for retirement as well. Thus the potential numbers of users is ever-increasing and we will need to invest in more vehicles to satisfy demand.” 175
Community transport provision
294. The Committee was made aware that there is a gap in understanding the role community transport plays in transport provision in Scotland, in terms of how and to what extent it helps to meet local outcomes across policy areas.
295. The Committee was told that this is partially a result of the variation of how community transport groups, partner agencies and local authorities keep records of journeys undertaken. ATCO emphasised in evidence that there could be significant variations across the country176, and suggested that a uniform method of measurement would be valuable, stating—
“The Inquiry should look at ways of better measuring and evaluating the contribution made by the voluntary sector in the area of passenger transport. Specifically a national system for recording trip quantity and trip value should be developed and adopted across Scotland.” 177
296. However, the CTA Scotland witness noted that there is already a standard method of recording journeys in the transport industry stating—
“A passenger journey is one journey from A to B. If somebody returns from B to A, that would be two journeys. That is the standard way of measuring passenger journeys in the transport industry.”178
297. Age Scotland noted in its submission that often journeys cannot be examined at an individual level, to allow analysis of journeys per person or the modes of transport used.179 Good management information, which is flexible enough to allow analysis, can help to establish the types of needs and whether there are gaps in provision.
298. The representative from the CTA Scotland Committee noted that it is not time consuming to record journeys, stating—
“The counting of trips is very important and…it is not onerous to do.”180
299. The ATCO witness noted during evidence that quantative information is important from the perspective of funding bodies to establish whether a community transport group which has been allocated funding is providing good value for money.181
300. The Committee has heard over the course of the inquiry from witnesses about the types of added value which community transport brings to their area. However, it has become clear that there is a need for a strong evidence base to establish the contributions made by community transport. A representative from Highland Council stated—
“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of the kinds of benefits that others have mentioned, but there is very little hard evidence... This area could be looked at through research nationally. It might be joint projects between the regional transport plans, or it might be research at national level—say, by Transport Scotland—rather than details of individual schemes. There could be a national opportunity there.”182
301. The CTA Scotland Committee representative emphasised that although quantative information is valuable, it should not be used as the sole measure of a community transport group’s impact—
“… we should not view one group that did 10,000 trips as being better than another that did 5,000, because those 5,000 trips will have been just as important to the clients in the relevant communities. In addition, it could be the case that someone needs to do a 60-mile round trip for a three-hour hospital appointment. That is just as important as 10 clients going out for their shopping. All community transport trips need to be looked at from the point of view of a social return as well as that of a financial return.” 183
302. The witness from ACTO echoed this view, telling the Committee—
“When we look at the value of community transport, we must try to understand what it does for people beyond the trip itself...”.184
303. As discussed earlier in the report, evidence was submitted to the inquiry which highlighted that community transport provided benefits beyond the individual receiving transport. The witness from the CTA Scotland Committee said—
“If we are going to look at the value of community transport, we need to take a holistic approach and look at our value to everyone, including to social work and the NHS. It is an all-round problem for the whole of our communities, not just the elderly person at home. There are impacts on their family members, right down to a five-year-old child going to school. We need to look at the all-round costs.”185
304. The Committee heard throughout the inquiry that local authorities’ understanding of what community transport is, and the role it plays in transport provision, can vary widely. There is also a variable understanding of the role community transport can play in meeting local shared outcomes. The Committee learned from Highland Council representatives that it hoped to run a pilot study, seeking to establish the wider social benefits of community transport. Highland Council representatives had already noted that community transport is vital to meeting local outcomes in the region—
“We really do get it: we are taking a paper to my committee tomorrow, proposing a research project to quantify the social benefits of CT. The proposition is to start such a scheme in a community that does not currently have one, try it for a year and measure the difference that it makes. We sometimes have to do a little bit of lab work.” 186
Meeting future needs
305. The Committee heard that with an aging population, issues pertaining to transport become increasingly important. The CTA, Age Scotland and Audit Scotland in their reports underline the importance of understanding future transport needs in Scotland. Audit Scotland said—
“Our 2011 report highlights that we were unable to project future levels of demand due to a lack of information about the number of people who need help with transport for health and social care.” 187
306. The CTA Scotland witness noted in evidence that it is crucial to plan for future needs, stating—
“I would have thought that, given the decline of bus services around the country and the demographic profile of the country—the number of older people is set to rocket over the next few years, so that when I hit 80 there will be twice as many people of that age—we need to think ahead and work out how older people are going to get out and about.”188
307. The Committee discussed with the Minister the evidence it heard regarding the lack of robust information currently available on the current community transport provision, which makes it difficult to plan strategically for future demand and be confident that community transport needs are being met across Scotland. The Minister was asked if he felt that there was a need for research to be undertaken to establish baseline information and whose role it would be to co-ordinate this research to which he replied—
“That is one of the outcomes of that inquiry that we will look at very closely. Obviously, the CTA currently fulfils a co-ordinating role and provides representation. I understand that the CTA undertakes research both in Scotland and across the UK; it also has the benefit of getting feedback from its members.”189
Conclusions and recommendations on the availability of information on community transport
308. The Committee recognises that without representative baseline information, it is difficult to grasp the type, scale and extent of transport needs, met and unmet, across Scotland, especially with significant variation in provision between regions. This lack of baseline information also makes it hard to plan for potential future transport needs, and to understand to what extent this might rely upon community transport provision.
309. The Committee understands that many of the benefits resulting from the provision of community transport cannot be understood simply by a quantification of journeys undertaken. It is of the view that a detailed understanding of the scale and holistic impact of community transport across Scotland is required, as is an assessment of the social and economic benefits of community transport services, including volunteer contributions.
310. The Committee therefore recommends that the Scottish Government explores with Transport Scotland, the Community Transport Association, NHS bodies and partnership agencies, the potential for commissioning a research project to allow a better understanding of the added benefits associated with community transport.
311. The Committee believes that this is a complex area, and it is important to understand the added value community transport organisations bring to their communities and the benefits such services can deliver in terms of preventative spend, especially with regard to health and well-being
312. The Committee considers that such research might also provide indicators as to how an appropriate methodology could be developed and adopted to gather relevant information on the operation of community transport services across Scotland in a consistent and comprehensive manner on an on-going basis. The Committee is of the view, however, that any such methodology should ensure that no unnecessary burdens are placed on community transport operators.
313. The Committee is also of the view that, in addition to aiding joint working, regional shared booking systems for transport services could also have the additional benefit of creating a bank of management information which can help to establish the types of needs in an area, the outcomes that journeys help to achieve, and any gaps in provision or unmet needs.
Future Committee engagement with stakeholders
314. The Committee intends to identify a suitable opportunity to engage with stakeholders on the recommendations contained within this report, prior to a Parliamentary debate on its findings.
ANNEXE A: EXTRACTS FROM MINUTES OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND CAPITAL INVESTMENT COMMITTEE
4th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 20 February 2013
Community transport (in private): The Committee considered and agreed its approach to its community transport inquiry.
9th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 17 April 2013
Community transport: The Committee took evidence from—
John MacDonald, Director for Scotland, Community Transport Association.
10th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 1 May 2013
Community transport inquiry: The Committee will took evidence from—
Maggie Urie, Transport Co-ordinator, South West Community Transport, Glasgow;
Maggie Lawson, Community Transport Projects Development Manager, Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport;
Wayne Pearson, Chief Executive, HCL;
Peter McColl, Public Affairs Manager, Womens' Royal Voluntary Service;
John Moore, Managing Director, Lothian Community Transport Services.
11th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 15 May 2013
Community transport inquiry: The Committee took evidence from—
John Berry, Sustainable Transport Team Leader, Association of Transport
Eric Stewart, Assistant Chief Executive, Operations, Strathclyde
Partnership for Transport;
Rachel Milne, Chair, Community Transport Association Scotland Committee;
Cllr Graham Phillips, Chair, Transport, Environmental and Community
Services, and David Summers, Transport Development Officer, Highland Council.
12th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 29 May 2013
Community transport inquiry: The Committee took evidence from—
Mike Harrison, User of Handicabs, Edinburgh and Lothians;
Alice McFarlane, User of Southwest Community Transport;
Jackie Paterson, User of Dial-a-Journey, Stirling.
13th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 5 June 2013
Community transport inquiry: The Committee took evidence from—
Keith Brown, Minister for Transport and Veterans, and Tom Davy, Team
Leader, Bus and Local Transport Policy, Scottish Government.
Community transport (in private): The Committee considered the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.
14th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 12 June 2013
Community transport inquiry (in private): The Committee considered a draft report.
15th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 26 June 2013
Community transport inquiry (in private): The Committee agreed its report.
ANNEXE B: ORAL EVIDENCE AND ASSOCIATED WRITTEN EVIDENCE
9th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 17 April 2013
John MacDonald, Director for Scotland, Community Transport Association.
10th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 1 May 2013
Maggie Urie, Transport Co-ordinator, South West Community Transport, Glasgow;
Maggie Lawson, Community Transport Projects Development Manager, Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport;
Wayne Pearson, Chief Executive, HCL;
Peter McColl, Public Affairs Manager, Womens' Royal Voluntary Service;
John Moore, Managing Director, Lothian Community Transport Services.
11th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 15 May 2013
John Berry, Sustainable Transport Team Leader, Association of Transport Coordinating Officers;
Eric Stewart, Assistant Chief Executive, Operations, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport;
Rachel Milne, Chair, Community Transport Association Scotland Committee;
Cllr Graham Phillips, Chair, Transport, Environmental and Community Services, David Summers, Transport Development Officer, Highland Council.
12th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 29 May 2013
Mike Harrison, User of Handicabs, Edinburgh and Lothians;
Alice McFarlane, User of Southwest Community Transport;
Jackie Paterson, User of Dial-a-Journey, Stirling.
13th Meeting, 2013 (Session 4), Wednesday 5 June 2013
Keith Brown, Minister for Transport and Veterans, and Tom Davy, Team Leader, Bus and Local Transport Policy, Scottish Government.
ANNEXE C: SUMMARY OF WRITTEN EVIDENCE
The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee launched a call for written evidence on community transport on 11 March, with a closing date for responses of 24 April 2013. A total of 74 responses have been received. 38 responses are from organisations that provide some form of community transport. Eight responses were from local authorities (including a joint response from SWEStrans/Dumfries and Galloway Council), one from a regional transport partnership, one from a transport consultancy and four from individuals. The remaining 22 responses are from statutory, voluntary and representative organisations including the Joint Improvement Team, Audit Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS Tayside, SCVO, Voluntary Action Scotland and Age Scotland.
This short briefing draws out key themes running through responses submitted to the Committee’s call for written evidence. It does not aim to provide a comprehensive overview of every issue raised by respondents, as many of these are specific to individual respondents and/or the particular service they provide or area within which they operate.
Key Points Summary
- There is little, if any, baseline information on community transport provision, funding and needs within local authority areas and across Scotland. There is a need for local and national analysis of provision, funding and need to establish such a baseline. Only once this is complete can plans for improvement be developed.
- Many community transport operators are concerned that statutory organisations, particularly the NHS, do not appreciate the costs associated with providing community transport services and do not provide adequate funding to secure the long term financial sustainability of operators.
- Many respondents recognise the need for greater partnership working between local authorities, NHS, Transport Scotland and community transport operators in areas such as funding, scheduling of services, vehicle ownership and maintenance and sharing of resources and expertise..
- Several respondents raise concerns about an emphasis from the Scottish Government on community transport operators becoming social enterprises. Many small community transport operators have neither the means nor desire to operate in such a manner.
- Several community transport operators raised concerns about the difficulty in recruiting volunteers.
- Many community transport operators and representative groups raised concerns about the requirement for minibus drivers who obtained their car driving licence after 1 January 2007 to obtain a D1 licence entitlement. This can cost in the region of £1000 to obtain for each driver.
- Many community transport operators have raised concerns about cuts in revenue funding from local authorities. In addition, several have raised concerns that funds previously ring fenced for community transport are now being spent on other services.
- Reliance on year-to-year local authority funding and inconsistent charitable fundraising makes long term financial planning difficult for community transport operators.
- Several community transport operators have raised concerns that changes to the eligibility criteria for the Scottish Ambulance Service’s Patient Transport Service have increased demand for their services.
- Many community transport operators, users and representative groups would like to see the national concessionary fares scheme for elderly and disabled people extended to cover additional forms of community transport.
- Community transport operators that operate services currently eligible for the national concessionary fares scheme for elderly and disabled people raise concerns that the reimbursement rate is too low and does not take account of the high costs associated with community transport, arguing the reimbursement rate should be raised for community transport operators. In addition, several operators highlight high back office costs associated with participation in the scheme and question whether involvement in it is beneficial.
- A small number of respondents have called for the Scottish Government to introduce a grant scheme to assist with the purchase of new vehicles.
- Several respondents have called for the Scottish Government to establish a national leasing scheme for community transport vehicles, allowing operators to sub-lease the vehicles from the Government.
- A number of community transport operators have called for the Scottish Government to develop a national Community Transport Strategy
- Many community transport operators have raised concerns about the difficulty of raising finance to buy new vehicles and the high costs associated with running effectively life expired vehicles.
- Several respondents have raised the issue of vehicles often lying idle at evenings, weekends and for periods during the day and call for a central body to take some role in scheduling vehicle use to maximise efficiency.
- Several community transport operators have raised concerns about public sector tendering, expressing views that this favours large commercial operators and focuses too much on costs and not enough on service quality.
- Many respondents raise the issue of rising demand for community transport, the key reasons given being an aging population, changes to eligibility for the Patient Transport Service and withdrawal of scheduled bus services. This appears to be a particular issue for car based services associated with access to healthcare.
- Several respondents felt that relying on volunteer driven community transport services for issues such as access to healthcare is unsustainable, as volunteer availability cannot be guaranteed.
- Many respondents, particularly individuals, highlight the importance of community transport to vulnerable people and the social aspects of the service that may not be apparent to non-users.
ANNEXE D: LIST OF WRITTEN SUBMISIONS IN RESPONSE TO CALL FOR VIEWS
ANNEXE E: NOTES OF FACT FINDING VISITS
Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee
Note of a visit to Aberdeen held on Monday 15 April 2013.
Members present: Maureen Watt MSP and Alex Johnstone MSP
Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council staff and community transport operators from the north east
Ewan Wallace, Head of Transportation, Aberdeenshire Council;
Marion Mackay, Principal Officer, Aberdeenshire Council;
Chris Cormack, Team Leader, Public transport Unit Aberdeen City Council;
Ian Wright, Chair, Alford Car Transport;
Gladys Stewart, Co-ordinator, Alford Car Transport;
Ian Ritchie, Committee member, Ballater Royal Deeside Ltd;
Rachel Milne, General Manager, Buchan dial-a –bus;
Donna Speed, Co-ordinator, Deeside Community Transport;
Jackie Niven, Co-ordinator, Mearns Community Transport;
Nikki Lorimer, Development Worker, Mearns Health Living Network;
Noreen Harding, Chair, Portlethen and District Community Ambulance;
Jess Horn, Co-ordinator, Portlethen and District Community Ambulance;
Roger Sanders, Silver Circle, Strathdon;
Jane Russell, Active Change Co-ordinator Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations.
The visit opened with introductions and staff from Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council giving an overview of council support for community transport operation in the north east:
- Aberdeen City Council does not have specific funding to support community transport providers.
- There is no formal liaison between Aberdeen City Council and community transport co-ordinators and provider.
- A dial-a-bus service operating in Aberdeen is provided by Aberdeen City Council under Section 19 permit vehicles and users who cannot access public transport can sign up to the cheme. This is not a free service to users and Aberdeen City Council see demand responsive services as services which should be paid for to cover costs.
- Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire City Council are currently working with the Scottish Ambulance Service, Nestrans, Moray Council and NHS Grampian on a health transport action plan as transport to meet medical appointments is a key issue in the area.
- Community transport is supported by Aberdeenshire Council through its Public Transport Unit. The Council supports community transport organisations both with advice and with funding and the community transport groups attending the visit have all received funding from the Council with budget allocated for 2013/14. Some are funded through its Aberdeenshire Community Transport Initiative and other groups such as Alford Car Transport are funded from the Change Fund.
- The Council funds concessionary travel for certain community transport services, including scheduled dial-a-bus services.
- Council supported Dial-a-Bus services provide through ticketing with scheduled bus services
- The Council has had to change the support it offers community transport services from a three yearly to yearly basis
- Despite supporting community transport services, the coverage across the north east is limited in some areas.
The Committee Members and Clerks were joined by community transport operators where discussions took place around transport problems faced by communities in the north east and the community transport services provided.
Following this, Members watched a film on Buchan dial-a-bus which included interviews with users of the service. Discussions then took place on what the inquiry could do to encourage the development of community transport more generally. Below are the key themes which emerged over the course of the visit
Key points of discussion:
- Getting to hospital appointments is a key issue and some operators such as Alford Car Transport, highlighted the impact of the changes to non-emergency patient transport provision on the demand for their services which, along with cuts to funding available, is causing concern.
- The importance of users being able to go shopping and attend social events was highlighted and the positive impact that this can have on users health and mental well-being. Members heard of services such as day trips and social events organised by Ballater Royal Deeside, a registered charity and the importance of having MiDAS trained drivers.
- Deeside Community Transport operates the Deeside Village Hopper and members heard how vital door to door services such as these are to those with mobility issues. This service accepts the free bus card and also hires out its buses for local groups such as the Silver Circle to use.
- Members also discussed the wide variety of community transport services operating in the north east such as car clubs and the extent to which these services could be provided free of charge.
- Members heard of the funding difficulties faced by operators particularly in relation to capital funding for vehicle replacement and funding being made available from year to year making it difficult to plan their services effectively.
- The issue of the reliance on volunteers was discussed and the costs associated with training minibus drivers.
- Concerns were raised about the ability of community transport operators to adopt the social enterprise model, particularly access to the expertise and finance required to adopt this model
- In terms of where the Committee’s inquiry could make a difference, Members were told that capital funding for vehicle replacement was the main barrier faced by community transport operators.
After lunch, Members and the representatives of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Council were joined by John Cowie (British Red Cross) and Josephine Mill (WRVS). Key issues, not already highlighted above, that were discussed included:
- Contracts issued by public authorities can restrict access to vehicles that could be utilised elsewhere during the day
- A need for increased access to information for users and potential users on what services are available.
- Need for a robust health transport action plan and buy-in from the NHS Board
- Public tendering processes are too complex for many community transport providers
Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee
Note of a visit to Berwickshire Wheels community transport group, held on Tuesday 16 April 2013.
Members present: Margaret McCulloch MSP
Berwickshire Association of Voluntary Services (BAVS) staff and others:
Brian Sweenie, Chair, BAVS;
Peter Johnson, Director, BAVS;
Tony Fowler, Executive Director, BAVS;
Allister Hart, Project Development Officer, Berwickshire Wheels;
John Cunningham, volunteer driver;
Graham Bryans, volunteer driver;
Jean Bryans, volunteer driver;
Hazel Muir and Elaine Thornton-Nicol, WRVS representatives;
Tracey Hay, Community Integrated Care representative;
Terri O’Boyle, service user;
Bill Summers, service user;
Mr Fowler, service user.
The visit opened at 10.05 with introductions and members of the BAVS board and Berwickshire Wheels Project Development Officer giving an overview of BAVS and Berwickshire Wheels, including its history, purpose and current objectives.
Key points of discussion:
- Transport to meet medical appointments is a key issue. Berwickshire Wheels covers a large geographical area with a sparse population. GPs serve very rural and remote areas and trips to the regional hospital can be problematic.
- Scottish Ambulance Service non-emergency patient transport is creating an increased demand upon Berwickshire Wheels’ capacity, and in hospital referrals there is an expectation of same-day referral. Ideally the NHS should fund medical transport.
- Local authority funding does not cover transport to the regional hospital for consultant appointments, only social/shopping related journeys. Berwickshire Wheels is working with colleagues in the West Borders to identify scope for improving services to the regional hospital.
- Current pilot funded by Scottish Borders Council, “Taxi to Health Care”, and operated by Berwickshire Wheels, allows for use of concessionary travel passes to access GPs, health centres, community hospitals and day centres at no cost, but does not include the Borders General Hospital. Instead the scheme can be used to connect to local bus services. Specific eligibility criteria apply. “Dead miles” not reimbursed.
- A rural/urban divide in terms of public transport provision creates inequity – those in areas of poor provision have to pay to access a level of service which those in urban areas can more readily access at no additional cost.
- There is difficulty in recruiting and retaining volunteers, and volunteers can’t always offer the required degree of flexibility that is needed. Also, changes to the D1 license mean that it is costly to train any volunteers under the age of 32, which creates problems in the long-term for a supply of volunteers. Berwickshire Wheels conducts its own manual handling training.
- Local authority funding is allocated on a year-to-year basis which makes it difficult to plan for the future, especially in terms of vehicle-replacement. Multi-year funding would provide real benefits.
- Vehicle replacement was viewed as the most significant challenge for Berwickshire Wheels and other operators, with the majority of its fund raising, grant applications etc. and significant staff resources being directed towards this.
- Berwickshire Wheels works with other community transport providers as part of the Borders Community Transport Network. This forum provides an opportunity to discuss co-ordination of services and to share experiences on issues such as funding.
The Committee Member and Clerks joined volunteer driver, John Cunningham, and service user, Mr Fowler, on a service pick-up and drop-off using one of Berwickshire Wheels’ accessible minibuses.
Following this, discussion continued with the Executive Director and Project Development Officer. Members of the wider BAVS team were introduced. The representative from Community Integrated Care gave a brief over-view of the CIC’s use of the Berwickshire Wheels service, and the service-user group from CIC.
Service users, volunteer drivers and representatives of groups which use Berwickshire Wheels’ services also joined the discussion. Service users gave their experiences of using Berwickshire Wheels and the positive impact it has had upon their quality of life. It was noted in particular that public transport wasn’t suitable for their needs in terms of provision or accessibility, and that Berwickshire Wheels allowed them to continue to live independently. The point was made, however, that service users often had to pay significantly more than public transport users to make a similar journey to a hospital appointment, for example. The volunteer drivers outlined their experiences, and the time commitment and training involved.
Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee
Note of visit to Coalfields Community Transport, Cumnock, held on 22 April 2013.
Member present: Elaine Murray MSP
Members of Coalfield Community Transport (CCT) and others:
William Crawford – Chair, CCT
Ian Smith - Director, CCT, and Chair of Coalfield Communities Federation
Eric Ross - Director, CCT
Sheila White - Coordinator, CCT
Alastair McConnell - Senior Driver, CCT
Jim Keirs - Volunteer Driver, CCT
Harry Reilly - Cumnock Mini Midi Rugby Club
Iris Hawthorn and Margaret McFaddan - Dayhopper Members
David Kerr – Chair, Thornhill Community Transport
The visit started at 10.30am with welcomes and introductions from CCT Board members. The Board and Coordinator gave a brief introduction to the service schemes, the history of the project, purpose and current objectives, and issues.
Key issues discussed:
- CCT was set up in 2001 and has been operational from 2002.
- It currently provides services for over 850 members. These are mainly social trips and short breaks which are provided at reasonable cost to the user. CCT does not provide services to meet health appointments.
- CCT has a positive relationship with SPT and East Ayrshire. Council and receives funding from both. It has a Service Level Agreement with the Council to operate its early years service and in the future may seek to run other Council transport services. There has been recognition of the value that CCT offers.
- CCT has opted to hire vehicles in some cases rather than purchase. Accessible buses can cost in the region of £60 – 80,000Leasing options had been investigated, although the cost of leasing a vehicles to the necessary high accessibility standards had made this prohibitive.
- CCT currently has 14 staff. It also has 265 trained volunteer drivers, at a cost of £400 for training per person.
- Geographical issues preclude much travel.
- CCT doesn’t operate a car scheme.
- The area lacks public transport, and the existing infrastructure is incompatible with accessible transport (bus stops). Smaller vehicles would allow greater flexibility.
- CCT offers services which are compatible with area regeneration (“wheels to work” scooters, formerly) but unemployment is prevalent and getting people to and from work is a challenge. A car scheme would be better suited to this than scooters or buses. Second-hand car loan schemes might be a way forward.
- Capital investment and the high costs of ensuring the maintenance and reliability of vehicles are the key issues for operators. Grant schemes to which CCT can apply tend only to fund new projects, as opposed to supporting existing projects. The Rural Community Transport initiative, when it existed, allowed for service growth, and a degree of experimentation with types of services – e.g. “Wheels to Work” scooter scheme.
- CCT believes that the CTA needs funding in Scotland to develop, and might act as a funding conduit for funding from Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government capital funding would make a significant difference, and would free services from the insecurity and limitations of grant funding. It was pointed out that 60% of the service co-ordinators time was taken up by grant application and fundraising.
- For third-sector groups looking to compete in tendering for public service contracts a greater proportion of time and resources are taken up, which diverts attention away from planning for the future and providing the core services.
- Strathclyde Partnership for Travel operates a quality service provision model, which CCT has undertaken. There are three levels of attainment for transport operators, from basic quality compliance to excellence. CCT achieved the top level of excellance.
- D1 licencing amendments have created a ‘time bomb’ for voluntary organisations, and could create issues of age discrimination in that it costs ~£1000 to train a volunteer under the age of 32 (i.e. someone who obtained their license after the D1 licencing changes came into effect) which groups cannot necessarily afford, so may have to give preference to those above this age.
- Changes to benefits allowances may impact upon individuals’ ability to access even community transport.
- 2 CCT services fall into the section 22 licence for use of National Concessionary Travel Scheme cards, and other schemes may move to this, but it does create problems in terms of access.
- The view was expressed that there should be a set of minimum standards introduced for community transport in Scotland and this could possibly be operated by the CTA.
Further discussions were held with representatives of group transport and the CCT Dayhopper Club, about the key issues which impact upon them. These included:
- The representative from Cumnock Mini Midi Rugby Club observed that transport costs are a significant part of their costs, and being able to call on CCT helps to significantly reduce this aspect of their outgoings. The savings are passed onto club participants, making participation more affordable for those who might otherwise be disadvantaged by higher costs.
- The Dayhopper members observed that the volunteer drivers were much better placed to ensure service users’ specific needs were met, and volunteers go out of their way to be flexible and helpful. Using CCT has given them significantly more confidence, and greatly reduced the level of stress associated with travelling.
- The drivers spoke about their level of involvement with CCT, and the difference access to community transport has made in the lives of service users. They also spoke about the personal sense of reward they feel in working with CCT.
A representative from Thornhill Community Transport met separately with the Member and clerks, and gave a briefing about the project, current services, and issues. TCT is not a member of CTA and is a much smaller operation than CTC, but experiences many of the same core issues with regards to funding, licences and ability to meet a wide range of community needs. It was noted, however, that TCT had virtually no contact with CCT, despite being relatively close geographically, and it would like to explore how it might link with other providers in the area. It would, however, be important to retain the local identity of each service. It emerged that there was variation in the knowledge of quality standards between the two community transport operators.
Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee
Note of a visit to Lothian and Community Transport Services (LCTS) held on Monday 22 April 2013.
Members present: Jim Eadie MSP and Gordon McDonald MSP
John Moore, Managing Director, LCTS;
Bridget Wilcox, LCTS Director;
George Wilson, Midlothian Voluntary Action and LCTS Director;
Maureen Moore St David’s Bradbury Day Care Centre, Midlothian;
David Murray, Optima;
Hugh Pettigrew, Northfield and Willowbrae Community Services Group;
Derek Alexander, LCTS Director;
Kenny Duncan, LCTS Training and Personnel Manager;
Alan Poustie, LCTS Transport Co-ordinator;
Jim Veitch, LCTS Driver/Trainer;
Bill Rae, LCTS Chairman;
Peter Randal, Chairman of LCTS Finance Sub-Committee.
The visit opened with introductions and staff from LCTS gave an overview of the services provided in Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian
- Lothian Community Transport services are a non-profit organisation providing minibus hiring services for local voluntary and community groups to use provide transport services for those who cannot access public transport. The minibuses can be hired with or without a trained driver.
- LCTS also provide a Community Driver Project which provides MiDAS training for volunteer minibus drivers.
- Other training services include passenger assistant training and minibus evacuation procedures.
- The community bus services operate timetabled services and are part of the National Concessionary Travel Scheme offering free travel. .
- LCTS also have a trading company which provides training services to transport providers which helps provide limited but vital additional funding for LCTS’ operations.
The Committee Members and Clerks were joined by representatives of groups that used community transport services, where discussions took place around user group perspectives on community transport services and barriers faced by users in the Lothians.
Following this, Members were given a tour of the LCTS fleet where they had the opportunity to see first-hand the varying specifications associated with older and newer minibuses.
Discussions then took place on the experiences of front-line staff involved in community transport provision and how the inquiry could help address strategic challenges across the sector.
Below are the key themes which emerged over the course of the visit
Key points of discussion:
- Local voluntary organisations and groups use LCTS to offer a range of activities for older and vulnerable users. St David’s Bradbury Day Centre for example aims to encourage older people to pursue new interests such as arts and crafts, theatre trips and musical entertainment and access to community transport is vital to their programme of activity.
- Local organisations that use the minibuses provided by LCTS are charitable organisations that obtain funding from various bodies and other fundraising activities. They are generally staffed by volunteers.
- Discussions took place around the work of Professor June Andrews at Stirling University on making dementia-friendly cities and how community transport provision is key to this work.
- Users are often referred to community transport operators by health care professionals and Members discussed the potential for a more joined up approach being taken across the health service, local authorities and community transport groups.
- The impact of the eligibility criteria for non-emergency patient transport services was discussed and the need for more work to be done on how these services are funded and patients referred.
- The need for leadership and guidance across the sector was discussed and the role of the previous Scottish Community Transport Group and the Community Transport Association in Scotland.
- Discussions on the need to gather information on community transport provision was discussed and the importance of having robust information in order to plan for future needs in community transport provision.
- Members heard of the funding difficulties for vehicle replacement and how this was the main barrier faced by community transport operators.
- The costs associated with training minibus drivers was discussed and the scope for centralised training for volunteers.
- Members heard of cases of good practice in West Lothian where the public tendering processes are too complex for many community transport providers and local care homes make use of council contracts in relation to leasing of vehicles.
- The issue of the prohibitive costs of joining the NCTS was discussed and how costs associated will buying and maintain the technology would make it very difficult for smaller operators to participate in the scheme.
ANNEXE F: LETTER FROM THE HEATH AND SPORT COMMITTEE OF THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT
Maureen Watt MSP
Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee
Health and Sport Committee
The Scottish Parliament
TEL: 0131 348 5224
Call via RNID Typetalk: 18001 0131 348 5224
5 June 2013
Thank you for your letter of 5 April 2013. The Health and Sport Committee held a round table evidence session on Community Transport on 28 May 2013. Participants in this session included NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the Scottish Ambulance Service, the British Red Cross, Royal Voluntary Service and Voluntary Action Scotland. A copy of the Official Report of that session is available here.
Transport to enable patients to attend health care appointments falls into three main groupings:
1. people with a medical need who are eligible to access the Patient Transport Service (PTS) provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service
2. people who are not eligible for PTS but need help with transport including people who are on low incomes, those who live in remote and rural areas and those who have ongoing health or social care needs
3. people who have their own means of accessing services, for example those who have their own or family transport or can easily access public transport
At the outset, the Committee notes that the report of the Scottish Government’s short-life working group on delivery of effective patient transport to healthcare services was published on 4 June 2013. The working group was established in response to a request to the then Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy from the Chairs of the Regional Transport Partnerships. Membership included COSLA, NHS Boards, the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), Transport Scotland, the Association of Transport Coordinating Officers, the Community Transport Association and patient representatives from Voices Scotland. That working group will have had an opportunity to consider some of these issues in more detail than our Committee. The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee may therefore wish to consider in detail the findings of the working group’s report before publishing its own report.
In August 2011, Audit Scotland published the report, Transport for Health and Social Care. That report produced a number of recommendations for the Scottish Government, local authorities, NHS boards and other partners. That report is available here.
The “key messages” of that report were:
- Transport services for health and social care were fragmented and there was a lack of leadership, ownership and monitoring of the services provided. The Scottish Government, Regional Transport Partnerships, councils, NHS boards and the SAS were not working together effectively to deliver transport for health and social care or making best use of available resources.
- From the limited information available it identified that over £93 million was spent in 2009/10 on providing transport to health and social care services. This was a considerable underestimate as data on costs, activity and quality was poor. It added that the public sector would find it difficult to make efficient and effective use of available resources without this basic information.
- Joint working across the public sector and with voluntary and private providers was crucial for the successful and sustainable development of transport for health and social care. It found that improved joint planning could lead to more efficient services. It considered there was scope to save money by better planning and management of transport for health and social care without affecting quality. Pilot projects had shown scope for efficiencies but these lessons had not been applied across Scotland.
- Reducing or removing funding from transport services can have a significant impact on people on low incomes, older people and people with ongoing health and social care needs. But the potential effect of changes to services is not often assessed or monitored and alternative provision is not put in place. It found that the public sector required better information on individual needs and on the quality of the transport services they provide.
In the round table session, the Committee explored some of these matters with witnesses. Several issues arose and the Committee has decided to group them under the below headings (although several issues relate to more than one of these headings):
- Strategic planning and co-ordination
- Issues faced by remote and rural communities
Strategic planning and co-ordination
The issue of strategic planning, or co-ordination between different providers, was mentioned by several witnesses.
Planning transport as part of care
The Audit Scotland report highlighted the need to plan transport as part of care. The overall tone of the round table suggested that this is still an aspiration rather than a reality. For example, Peter McColl from the Royal Voluntary Service stated:
“we feel that there needs to be a more strategic focus on the issue [of community transport] and that it needs to be built into the systems that are being created for health and social care integration.”
Calum Irving from Volunteer Action Scotland added—
“To a degree, it is a matter of considering the case for community transport as being part of the reshaping care agenda and the health and social care integration, as we have been discussing.”
During the session, the issue of the importance of developing software to ensure better co-ordination and planning was discussed. There is a software model being used in Strathclyde that helps co-ordinate services provided by different organisations (for example MyBus and Royal Voluntary Service) ensuring that provision is readily available for patients. A model being developed in Aberdeen was also mentioned.
Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) Patient Transport System
In respect of the SAS Patient Transport System (PTS), Heather Kenney stated that the SAS was keen to work towards implementing the recommendations of the Audit Scotland report and is doing so through its PTS improvement programme. She highlighted examples of integrated patient transport that have been developed in Lochaber, Elgin and Wigtownshire. She also stated that a model is in the process of being developed with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Other witnesses, such as Calum Irving from Voluntary Action Scotland, expressed the view that some of these models, in particular the integrated transport pilot in Lochaber, could be rolled out across Scotland. He noted that there is currently a “patchwork quilt of arrangements that can be developed locally”, with some areas having more integrated arrangements than others.
Anne Harkness, Director of Emergency Care and Medical Services, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, provided further detail on the ways in which her board works with the SAS, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and others to improve access and services for people in that area, adding—
“There is a huge opportunity for more joint working but, again, the strategic direction at a regional level should allow the local variation that Calum Irving mentioned, because community transport providers are diverse”.
Whilst recognising that co-ordination of patient transport will vary depending on geographic area and provider, the Committee is concerned that, two years on from the Audit Scotland report, strategic planning and co-ordination is perceived as being an aspiration.
The Committee considers that, where appropriate, the models of good practice of integrated patient transport identified in evidence should be rolled out across in each NHS board area. The Committee also believes that greater use should be made of technology to co-ordinate provision by the SAS and partner organisations.
In its report Audit Scotland expressed concern that data on costs for transport for health and social care were poor. It is not apparent from the round table session that the picture is clearer.
On the general issue of how patient transport is funded, it is clear that there is not a co-ordinated and consistent approach across Scotland. Anne Harkness stated—
“The reality is that the ambulance service and the NHS fund the transport for people who need it on medical and mobility grounds. Transport for people who need it on social or isolation grounds is funded in the main by local authorities. One of the challenges with an integrated model is to adopt a slightly different approach to funding. Although there are many pilots where we can do that flexibly…they tend to be on a small scale at the moment.”
Other witnesses highlighted the fact that a co-ordinated, strategically planned patient transport system may ultimately lead to cost savings. For example, Peter McColl stated—
“over the past four or five years it has been quite clear that by preventing need we can save money, so getting patients to their appointments is a good way to save money. The costs involved in community transport are actually relatively small compared to the costs of missed appointments. Looking at the global cost of missed appointments may be one way in which to release more funding for community transport.”
As part of developing integrated patient transport, the Committee calls on the SAS, NHS boards, local authorities and partners to develop an integrated model for funding patient transport. The Committee notes that the report of the Scottish Government’s short-life working group, which considers many of these matters, has now reported. The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee will wish to consider that report in detail, but in the meantime the Committee draws the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee’s attention to the evidence it has heard about funding of patient transport, in particular that a more co-ordinated, integrated approach to funding may lead to savings as a result of fewer missed appointments.
Issues faced by remote and rural communities
Issues faced by individuals living in remote and rural communities, or areas where there is limited public transport, being able to access patient transport arose during the round table. Heather Kenney from the SAS drew attention to the fact that 200 volunteer car drivers are employed principally to take people with clear clinical needs living in such areas to hospital. She added that the SAS had worked with all 14 NHS boards to develop eligibility criteria for this service. She acknowledged that there had been teething problems with the self-booking system for this service (previously such transport was arranged through GPs and hospital clinics). However she advised that this system was improving and that call centres for booking transport are supported by clinical advisers.
In this context, the Wigtownshire pilot, where the NHS board, the SAS and community transport providers have worked closely together to address transport issues in remote areas. The pilot was evaluated in February. The evaluation showed that Wigtownshire Community Transport had “increased its passenger and journey numbers as well as utilising the shared vehicles efficiently and significantly reducing vehicle downtime”. Commenting on this pilot, Heather Kenney stated—
“An interesting and helpful aspect of the rural transport solutions pilot was the work that NHS Dumfries and Galloway did around zoning patients and improving scheduling, so that we could better co-ordinate transport solutions in healthcare. We have built on an awful lot of the work in our thinking about how to work with other remote and rural communities. The project was particularly helpful”.
The Committee is reassured that the SAS and others are giving thought to how to meet the transport needs of people living in remote and rural areas. The Committee draws the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee’s attention to the Wigtownshire pilot and the evaluation of that pilot.
In general, the Committee considers that there is still a need for better co-ordination, strategic planning, integration and use of technology in the planning of patient transport. The Committee is slightly concerned that, two years after the Audit Scotland report, co-ordination and planning transport as part of care are still aspirations rather than standard practice. That said, it is clear that there is willingness on the part of the SAS, NHS boards and partners to develop more strategic systems. The Committee welcomes the pilots referred to in the round table and expects that, where good practice is identified or developed, there will be no barriers to it being rolled out elsewhere. As mentioned at the outset, the Committee draws the attention of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee to the forthcoming report of the short-life working group on delivery of effective patient transport to healthcare services. We expect that this report will inform future practice in this area.
The Committee is grateful to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee for the opportunity to contribute to its inquiry and looks forward to the publication of its report.
Duncan McNeil MSP
Convener – Health and Sport Committee
5 Community Transport Association (2012) State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012.
6 Community Transport Association (2012) State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012.
7 Community Transport Association (2012) State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012.
10 Scottish Parliament Information Centre. (2013) An Introduction to Community Transport. SPICe Briefing 13/24.
11 Scottish Parliament Information Centre. (2013) An Introduction to Community Transport. SPICe Briefing 13/24.
13 European Commission. Mobility and Transport – Road Safety. Available at:http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/specialist/policy/index_en.htm [Accessed 19.06.13]
19 Transport Scotland website. Bus Services Operators Grant. [Accessed 29 May 2013]
22 Community Transport Association (2012) State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012.
23 Community Transport Association (2012) State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012.
24 Community Transport Association (2012) State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012.
27 Audit Scotland (2011). Transport for Health and Social Care.
28 Age Scotland. Written submission, paragraph 2.
31 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Col 1734.
32 Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland. Written submission, paragraph 4.
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34 Glenkens Transport Initiative. Written submission, paragraph 6.
35 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1651.
36 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1724.
37 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1761.
38 Ecas is Edinburgh based charity, established to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
39 Ecas. Written submission, paragraph 5.
40 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Col 1748.
41 Ecas. Written submission, paragraph 5.
42 Dumfries and Galloway Accessible Transport Forum. Written submission, paragraph 1.
43 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Col 1738.
44 Scottish Government Website. Independent living. Available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/Support-Social-Care/Independent-Living [Accessed 06.06.13].
45 Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland. Written submission, paragraph 5.
46 Edinburgh Community Transport Operators Group. Written submission, paragraph 3.
47 Highland Council. Written statement, paragraph 10.
48 Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport. Written submission, paragraph 2.
49 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report,17 April 2013, Col 1620.
50 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1691.
51 North Argyll Volunteer Car Scheme. Written submission, paragraph 7.
52 Mull and Iona Community Trust. Written submission, paragraph 9.
53 Highland Council. Written submission, Annexe A.
54 Creich, Croik and Ardgay Day Care Association. Written submission, paragraph 3.
55 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1706.
56 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1619.
57 Age Scotland, written submission, page 6.
58 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1693.
59 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1721.
60 Aberdeen City Council. Written submission, paragraph 14.
61 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1719.
62 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1767.
63 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1767.
64 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1616-7.
65 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1630.
66 Community Transport Association (2012) State of the Sector Report for Scotland 2012.
67 Voluntary Action Scotland. Written submission, paragraph 9.
68 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1763.
69 Scottish Parliament, Official Report 01.05.13, Col 19218.
70 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1655.
71 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1770.
72 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1665.
73 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1665.
74 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1666.
75 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1650.
76 Buchan Dial-a-Community-Bus. Written submission, paragraph 21.
77 Buchan Dial-a-Community-Bus. Written submission, paragraph 28.
78 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1670.
79 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1666.
80 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1724.
81 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1724.
82 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1723.
83 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1724.
84 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1667.
85 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1650.
86 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1666.
87 Notes of visits to Berwickshire Wheels 16 April 2013, and Coalfield Community Transport 22 April 2013.
88 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1667-8.
89 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1618.
90 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1631.
91 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Cols 1652 -3.
92 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1652.
93 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1702.
94 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1616.
95 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1653.
96 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1650.
97 Berwickshire Wheels. Written submission, paragraph 9.
98 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1650.
99 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1707.
100 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1763.
101 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1653.
102 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1653.
103 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1653.
104 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1653-4.
105 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1653-4.
106 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1701.
107 Some community transport services operating under Section 22 permits already fall within the NCTS where such services must run to a regular timetable and can be used by the general public. In contrast, services operating under Section 19 permits only entitle services to carry defined groups i.e. not the general public.
108 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1660-1.
109 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1May 2013, Col 1660.
110 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1769.
111 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1May 2013, Col 1663.
112 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1622.
113 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1622.
114 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1620.
116 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1660.
117 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1660.
118 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1625.
119 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1624-5.
120 Aberdeenshire Council. Written submission, paragraph 15.
121 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1716.
122 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Col 1735.
123 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Col 1735.
124 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1716.
125 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1761.
126 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1770-1.
127 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1767.
128 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1621.
129 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1656 – 7.
130 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1621 – 2.
131 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1658.
132 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1617.
133 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1658.
134 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1631.
135 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1621 – 2.
136 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1659.
137 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1658.
138 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Cols 1656–7.
139 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1659.
140 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1710.
141 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1657.
142 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1657.
143 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1767.
144 Care Lochaber, Written submission, pg 1.
145 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1722.
146 Health and Sport Committee report to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
147 Health and Sport Committee report to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
148 Scottish Government (2013) Healthcare Transport: Recommendations of the Short Life Working Group.Performance/Healthcare Transport/HealthcareTransportSLWG
149 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Col 1741.
150 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1675.
151 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1651.
152 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1706.
153 Dumfries and Galloway Council and SWestrans. Written submission, paragraph 38.
154 Berwickshire Wheels. Written submission, paragraph 6.
155 Berwickshire Wheels. Written submission, paragraph 6.
156 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Cols 1741-42.
157 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 29 May 2013, Col 1742.
158 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1685.
159 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1685.
160 Dundee Voluntary Action. Written submission, paragraph 1.
161 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1672.
162 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1673.
163 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1672.
164 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1693.
165 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1686.
166 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1688.
167 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1694.
168 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1668.
169 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1762.
170 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1668.
171 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 1 May 2013, Col 1674.
172 Aberdeenshire Council. Written submission, paragraph 14.
173 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1771.
174 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1615.
175Buckie Accessible Bus Scheme. Written submission, paragraph 10.
176 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1696.
177 Association of Transport Coordinating Officers. Written submission, paragraph 3.
178 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1615.
179 Age Scotland. Written submission, pg 14, paragraph 2.
180 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1697.
181 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1696.
182 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1698.
183 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1697.
184 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1697.
185 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Col 1698.
186Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 15 May 2013, Cols 1704 – 5.
187Audit Scotland. Written submission, paragraph 7.
188 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 17 April 2013, Col 1619 – 20.
189 Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Official Report, 5 June 2013, Col 1762.
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