Issue - meetings

Integrated Transport Authority

Meeting: 16/01/2020 - Cabinet (Item 59)

59 Integrated Transport Authority pdf icon PDF 90 KB

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Order 2017 transferred to the Combined Authority responsibility for certain public transport functions.  This report provides an update on the work to transfer the specified functions from this organisation to WECA


Additional documents:


Councillor Paul May made an ad-hoc statement by saying that he understood the logic behind the Integrated Transport Authority (ITA).  However, he was very concerned that this would bring memories of Avon County and that future decisions, and transport powers, would be centralised within WECA (West of England Combined Authority).  Councillor May also said that B&NES should have control over its own issues around transport, highways, and similar.


Councillor Neil Butters said that there was no movement in WECA becoming ex Avon County.


Councillor Neil Butters introduced this report by saying that the purpose was to integrate the delivery of the transport functions certain transport powers were devolved to WECA and since 2017 these have been carried out by, B&NES, South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Council, i.e. the Unitary Authorities (UAs).  In November 2018 WECA reviewed these arrangements and resolved that the delivery of the relevant transport functions should, where practical, be carried out directly by the Combined Authority (such as concessionary travel, bus service information, community transport, supported bus services).  B&NES has been delivering WECA functions since 2017, in summary these were no longer Council’s duties or responsibilities (with the exception of supported buses, which was a joint function).  The ITA would provide greater resilience, especially as at present there were only 3.5 full time employees in the Council.  No further transfer of functions would take place unless there was a robust business case that would have both management and political sign off in B&NES.


Councillor Neil Butters moved the recommendations.


Councillor Joanna Wright seconded the motion by saying that ITA was a necessity for working with other Ex Avon authorities.  For example, 48% of RUH Bath patients came from outside B&NES.  Councillor Wright also said that she would see this as a positive move for the region.


Councillor Paul Crossley said that he would support the motion; however, he had concern that this would lead towards a bigger ‘empire’.  Councillor Crossley also said that ex Avon authorities worked really well together as West of England authorities and it should have stayed that way.


Councillor Tim Ball said that he would also support this report even though he shared Councillor Crossley’s concerns in terms of WECA powers.  Councillor Ball also said that public transport would need ITA to resolve its issues. 


Councillor Richard Samuel also supported the report adding that all meetings of WECA should be held in public, documents should be available to the public, and WECA should be accountable to its residents.


RESOLVED (unanimously) that the Cabinet agreed to:


2.1 Approve the transfer to WECA of the staff (and associated costs) to enable the direct delivery by WECA of the four core public transport functions contained in the WECA Order 2017, on the basis that there is no additional cost to this authority or loss of income

2.2 Delegate to the Director of Environment authority to progress the transfer arrangements, in consultation with the Cabinet Members for Transport.