- Linda Bamford (LB) – Convener/Chair
- Hilary Stubbs (HS) – Vice Convener
- Michael Tornow (MT)
- Naghat Ahmed (NA)
- Joanne Devitt (JD)
- Susan Fulton (SF)
- Simon Watkins (SW)
- Graham Dunn (GD)
- David Hunter (DH)
- Lynsey Shovlin (LS)
- Audrey Birt (AB)
Transport Scotland Sponsor Team
- Steven Dora (SD, Deputy Sponsor)
- Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government
Agenda Item 1: Welcome, Apologies and Housekeeping
1.1 The Convener welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained how this meeting differed from other Committee meetings in that both action points and minutes were taken. Action points would be allocated to owners and minutes circulated to the Committee within 10 days. The action points would be “chased up” by the Secretariat with the intent of being progressed and closed by the next Board meeting in July 2022.
1.2 The Convener confirmed that Ewan Matheson and Pauline Kelly had both resigned from the Committee.
1.3 The Convener confirmed housekeeping for the sake of the new members and the recently appointed Deputy Sponsor. The Convener then confirmed all in attendance to assist with verbal orientation and listed apologies. She asked that everyone stay on mute unless they are speaking and raise their hand, electronic hand or ‘green card’ to speak. She also stated that, as Chair, she wouldn’t be monitoring the chat function but if anything significant was raised in chat, it be brought to her attention.
1.4 The Convener re-capped the agenda, timings, comfort breaks and stated that because the “Super Report” and “Sponsor Team Update” papers had been circulated in advance, they would not be discussed in detail and Committee members should raise any questions or points for clarification from these reports.
1.5 The Convener also apologised for the changes to the agenda at short notice as the Cabinet Secretary’s diary changed.
Agenda Item 2: Approval of the minutes, matters arising and update on action points from previous meeting
2.1 The Convener stated that the January 2022 minutes had been circulated and that some changes had been made to the formatting. The final version would be sent to the TS Digital Communications Team for upload to the website. The Committee approved the minutes.
2.2 The Convener next asked about the previous legislative meeting action points. She asked if the Committee was happy to close action points 3, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11 and to focus only on the remaining open ones. The Committee agreed to this.
2.3 Action Point 1 which followed-up Action Point 3 from October’s 2021 Main “legislative” meeting (for the Secretariat to send the full consultation list to the Committee for information by the 5 of each month) was now closed. This had been done on 5 April 2022 and would be actioned on the 5 of each month thereafter.
2.4 Action point 2 related to Action Point 5 from October’s 2021 Main “legislative” meeting and was for the Sponsor Team to engage with ferries colleagues about the ‘Turn-up and Go’ App and if there was a need for Blue Badge holders to call in advance of travelling. The Convener updated the Committee with information from the Sponsor Team that there was no need for Blue Badge holders to make CalMac aware of travel on non-bookable routes in advance. The only route on which this would be different was Cumbrae; as it’s an unattended slipway, customers had the option of advanced purchase via the Customer Engagement Centre rather than leaving their vehicle and going into the ticket office. The Committee agreed that this action could be closed.
2.5 Action point 4 was that the previous Deputy Sponsor was to work on the Motability brief on the MACS website in collaboration with DH. The Secretariat updated that this has been sent to the website team for upload but hadn’t been actioned yet.
2.5.1 The Sponsor Team confirmed that it would contact Transport Scotland’s Digital Communication team as there is a number of documents that had been sent but not uploaded. The Convener stated that as MACS is a public body, one of the requirements on them to is to be open and transparent and make such information available for stakeholders. This also allowed stakeholders to keep informed of MACS work, issues they were raising and progress being made.
2.5.2 AF stated that the Digital Communications Team check accessibility using scanning software so the Secretariat is having to adapt respondent forms sent from MACS members to make them accessible. These are respondent forms from whoever is running the consultation. The Convener again raised the issue that there should be accessible Word versions of the consultation and respondent form.
Action Point 1: Sponsor team to urgently re-affirm with TS Digital Communications Team the need to upload documents to the MACS website quickly.
2.6 Action point 6 from the MACS January 2022 minutes, for NA to provide examples of difficulties with the grant awards scheme and means testing issues. It was confirmed that this had been done and the action point could now be closed.
2.7 Action point 12,13 and 14, all related to membership and Terms of Reference of the National Transport Strategy (NTS2) Delivery Board and Transport Equalities Network (TEN). It was agreed that this action could be closed and the Secretariat would share the information they received in response to MACS request.
Action Point 2: Secretariat to share the NTS2 Delivery Board ToR with the Committee and the membership of the NTS2 Delivery Board and TEN.
2.8 The Convener tasked the Secretariat with pursuing the completion of this meeting’s action points in advance of the next meeting.
Agenda Item 3: Update from Convener (including any questions from Super Report content)
3.1 The Convener stated that the Super Report would not be relayed back to the Committee and focused on a couple of areas before opening up for discussion and questions. Points raised were:
3.1.1 There would be no future Super Reports for legislative meetings. Instead, leads would provide a 1 to 2 page newsletter for circulation by the Secretariat on or before the 5 of each month. These would be used by the Secretariat to build the Annual Report to help evidence the progress with MACS high level objectives. This would also make work-stream updates more timely and Board papers more streamlined.
3.1.2 Regarding the pavement parking consultation, the Planning and Strategy Workstream and GD, who has worked on the consultation, agreed MACS position should be no exemption to the pavement parking ban. This also reflected the views of disabled people, as also evidenced in the Disability Equality Scotland (DES) poll with over 1,000 responses and 95% against exemptions to the pavement parking ban.
Other DPOs and disabled people had also stated their “ask” of no exemptions to remove pavement parking barriers that resulted in hostile, dangerous and obstructed pedestrian environment.
The Convener, Vice Convener and DH have an introductory meeting with the Minister for Transport on June 14 and would also discuss the legislation for the pavement parking exemption.
The Committee agreed that their position is that there should be no exemption.
3.1.3 The Committee was now carrying three vacancies. The recruitment process had commenced in December 2021 but had been delayed due to further potential vacancies.
The Convener recorded her thanks to Pauline Kelly for her contribution, while a member of MACS.
3.1.4 in relation to the vacancies, the priority and essential criteria for each vacancy had already been agreed and it was hoped these would be filled by June/July 2022. Afternote: after discussions with the public appointments team it is more likely to be October 2022 that new members join, due to the recruitment and selection process. Adverts for applications should go live week commencing 6 June 2022 and the Convener asked all members to share the public appointment vacancies with their networks.
The Convener thanked Committee members for shouldering the additional workload and advised that the process of recruitment was lengthy to ensure the right people were appointed and to meet the governance requirements.
3.1.5 For vacancy 1 and 2, the essential criteria were:
- Planning and Strategy Co-Lead and will have no second work-stream. They would support DH in his work and work across the other work-streams. The time commitment would be 36-48 days per annum.
- Knowledge of and a stakeholder network on sustainable travel and inclusive active travel to assist the Roads, Infrastructure and Active Travel with MACS work around the 20% reduction in car kilometres by 2030 and inclusive active travel amongst other work. For their second workstream, they should have experience of travelling by rail including using Passengers Assistance and ideally booking to travel with mobility aids. The time commitment would be 12-18 days per annum.
- For this vacancy, MACS are looking for a candidate with knowledge of equality and human rights, ideally knowledge of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (CRDP) and also experience of travelling by Rail or the Rail industry. This individual will have Bus and Community Transport as a first work stream to allow them to work with AB on our equality and human rights work and Rail as a second work-stream. The time commitment will be 12-18 days per annum.
3.1.7 This would give all workstreams, with the exception of the Planning and Strategy Workstream flows, 5 members.
3.2 The Convener updated that the Annual Report was with the Secretariat and publishers to prepare it for submission to Ministers and publication. This included commissioning the request of an Easy Read version from Disability Equality Scotland to ensure there was no lag in alternative formats being available.
Agenda Item 4: Sponsor Team Paper and Update
4.1 The Convener asked the sponsor team if any submissions for the sponsor team update had been received after the papers were distributed and confirmation was given that none had been received.
4.2 The Convener asked the sponsor team about the update on pavement parking and the mention of the parliamentary process and engagement with groups regarding guidance on the legislation for exemptions. The Committee understood that the majority of the secondary legislation was likely to be in place by 2022 and wondered if that timescale meant that the consultation was a tick box exercise i.e. a decision had been made that exemptions would be granted before the consultation closed and concluded.
The sponsor team noted that it wasn’t close to the work on pavement parking and was unable to provide a detailed answer but noted that consultation was an important part of the policy development process.
In MACS view, to allow local authorities to exempt streets as proposed in the consultation would be inconsistent with the “Reducing Inequalities” strategic priority of NTS2 and the associated aims to remove barriers to mobility and to promote equity of access.
4.3 GD expressed his concern around the seemingly extending timescale for the introduction of pavement parking legislation, which appeared to be moving from 2022 to 2023. GD had asked Transport Scotland to confirm the timescale and was dissatisfied with the response. MACS had responded to the consultation and GD considered the delay to be unacceptable. He suggested writing to the Minister for Transport again.
The Convener advised that she, the Vice Convener and DH would be meeting the Minister for Transport in June and would discuss this with her.
4.4 NA asked for clarity regarding free bus travel for under 22s and the existing concessions for disabled 16-18 years old. The Convener stated that, to her knowledge, if someone needs support of a companion you can’t get a plus 1 on the under 22s concession but you can get a “plus 1” on the disabled person’s concessionary travel card.
Action Point 3 – sponsor team to clarify the position regarding free bus travel for under 22s and the existing concessions for disabled 16-18 year old people
4.5 SW asked about the lack of content from the TS Aviation Team in the sponsor team update. HS echoed this frustration.
Action Point 4: Sponsor team to speak to aviation colleagues to facilitate enhanced engagement with MACS (both directly and via the sponsor team update)
4.6 AB asked about update regarding Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) and the medium term exemptions (MTE) that have been extended 2026. AB stated that she was on the wheelchair standards review group and was told it would become the review of the PSVAR.
The sponsor team responded that it understood PSVAR was reserved to the UK Government but also acknowledged the devolved interest and was aware of recent contact with DfT and the need to establish contact with the relevant officials.
The Convener asked if TS could liaise with their colleagues at DfT in an attempt to prevent further delays to the PSVAR and taking account of previous discussion in the Four Nations Forum.
Given that the industry had a period of over 20 years to comply and already had 2 exemptions and now another exemption until 2026 the Convener asked if the SG or TS were doing anything about the review of PSVAR continually being kicked into the long grass by DfT, appreciating it was a devolved matter?
The Convener stated her disappointment at the lack of progress given the timeframes and that the industry had more than adequate time to prepare.
SD asked if there was contact between MACS and its other UK counterparts on this issue. LB stated that MACS were members of a Four Nations Group (as were TS) and discussions in this area are consistent and are minuted.
Action Point 5: sponsor team to establish contact with DfT on PSVAR and provide an update.
4.6.1 AB stated she is happy to be involved in discussion to progress this issue.
Agenda Item 5: Discussion – Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison MSP
5.1 SD welcomed the Cabinet Secretary to the meeting. The Convener thanked the Cabinet Secretary for attending and gave an overview of Committee’s work and previous engagement with Ministers linked to the Cabinet Secretary’s Portfolios.
A general discussion took place around the 20 minute neighbourhoods aspirations, linked to 2021 Programme for Government, MACS work in this area with the Alliance and DES and also on the consultation on the review of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).
The Cabinet Secretary agreed the importance of accessible pedestrian spaces and suggested MACS liaise with the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth. A separate note of this meeting has been produced to track progress of the action points.
Agenda Item 6: Hot Debrief
6.1 The Committee undertook a hot debrief to pick up any learning points from the session. This is standard practice after Ministerial engagements.
6.2 HS recognised the importance of linking the work of MACS with the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government’s portfolio. AB observed that the Cabinet Secretary was well informed, well briefed and helpful including showing an appetite for future engagement opportunities within her portfolio and wider.
SW asked if MACS would have an opportunity to feed in to the development of guidance on 20 Minute Neighbourhoods before it is published. SF agreed that MACS should be involved from the beginning and volunteered to be involved in writing the guidance.
Action point 6: Secretariat to investigate if and how MACS can be involved in writing the 20 Minute Neighbourhood guidance.
6.3 DH thought that it was important to have discussions with other Ministers on STPR2, including the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth.
Action point 7: Convener to write to the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth requesting a meeting.
Agenda Item 7: Workstream Leads Update
(Any key points or new areas of engagement not covered in Super Report or virtual meetings)
7.1 HS gave an update on Ferries and Aviation
7.1.1 HS reported there wasn’t much new information to add after the last monthly review but was keeping a very close watch on the on-going ferries disruption. In addition to COVID impacts, the fleet of vessels was outdated. She related an issue with the Arran ferry, which suffered an engine failure with dangerous consequences when an engine compartment door fell into the car deck. The impact of this ferry being out of service was considerable.
CalMac had done a list of priorities for the island community that included the need to travel to hospital appointments, the need for medical supplies, fuel and getting on to the islands for work.
There was discussion about the Islands Delivery Plan, the Ferries Plan and the Connectivity Plan and a meeting between key stakeholders and the Chief Executive of CalMac.
7.1.2 There was nothing new to add on aviation. The Convener enquired about work done between the previous Sponsor and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). HS responded that there has been no update on this and she would be attending a conference in June in London and was hoping to speak to airport officials then.
7.1.3 DH suggested MACS ask Disability Equality Scotland (DES) if they can do a poll on ferry disruption after the election. HS agreed with the suggestion. LB stated that DES might be already have connections as they have a good relationship with Access Panels on Orkney, and the Access Panels on Barra, Lewis and Harris. HS added that CalMac are visiting various Islands with team members for feedback.
HS – Left the meeting at this point to attend a Transport Equalities Network (TEN) meeting.
7.2 DH gave an update on Planning and Strategy.
7.2.1 DH highlighted what had already been mentioned in the Convener’s report on Motability. MACS had had a lot of discussion in this area and had suggested to Social Security officials that a condition of the AVES scheme be that a user group is set-up so that members have a representative forum. There were at least 60,000 Motability customers in Scotland so it had the potential to provide a highly effective advocacy group and could be funded by Motability.
MACS had also been thinking about value for money (VFM) an issue they had raised with Motability Operations in several occasions and related this to current lease charges in context with the cost of living crisis (whether it’s food, energy or fuel prices and inflation). The level of annual profits evidencing that customers were being charged more than needed to cover the cost of leases.
MACS had suggested to Motability Operations that instead of taking the annual uplift (3.1%) of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA), that the customer should keep the uplift, instead of this also being added to Motability profits and reserves. It was acknowledged this was likely to be a small amount but it would help with cost of living pressures for customers.
This would also give Motability Operations an opportunity to show recognition of customers’ cost of living pressures and challenges rather than using customers 3.1% uplift to accumulate further profits and reserves.
The Motability Sub-Group had met and decided to focus on making improvements via the SG Accessible Vehicle and Equipment Scheme (AVES).
7.2.2 On STPR2, DH suggested members look at the MACS response to the consultation once it is on the website. The next stage in the process is for the Government to develop business cases for budget purposes. DH would like to see MACS return to STPR2 to emphasise the benefits for accessibility. MACS needed to make sure that access issues were considered alongside environmental green policies, acknowledging the need for action to tackle the climate emergency but prioritising accessibility to ensure a just transition.
7.2.3 On statistics, the Planning and Strategy Workstream had a meeting with Transport Scotland officials to discuss and influence data collection. A further meeting was scheduled for 7 June 2022 and DH would update the committee following this meeting. Members were asked to consider any improvements in statistics which they would like to see and to communicate them to him.
8.1 SF gave an update on Roads, Infrastructures and Active Travel
8.1.1 SF reported on engagements with Sustrans Scotland regarding “Colourful Crossings”. SF was also engaging with Paths for All and GD had attended a Roads for All meeting and asked Fred O’Hara to confirm timescales for the pavement parking ban and was dissatisfied with the response. MACS had also engaged with the Scottish Roadworks Commissioner on training. A Sustrans ‘Places for Everyone’ meeting was scheduled in June.
SF updated that she had also attended the Safer Speed Limit Task Group and noted interesting results from Wales, which she would share in due course.
8.2 SF also mentioned a poll undertaken by DES on Motability Centres that found that people want more Mobility Centres as there were currently only 2 in Scotland (Glasgow and Edinburgh) and this caused long waits for assessments and excessive travel.
MACS was also looking to re-engage with officials about Blue Badges.
DH added that individuals who have indefinite PIP awards no longer need to be re-assessed and Blue Badge should be the same.
9.1 AB gave an update on her work and on Bus and Community Transport;
9.1.1 The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) recently appointed a new chair (Ian Duddy) who previously worked within the United Nations, was a former senior Civil Servant, had been an ambassador and leads the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Once he is in the role, AB would meet with him and hoped to do a session with the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC).
AB noted that she would be facilitating the second MACS Development Day, re-arranged for 13 Dec 2022, and hoped to have the SHRC and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) along as guests.
9.1.2 AB also mentioned that there was an autonomous bus workshop scheduled for 3 May 2022.
9.1.4 AB thanked DH for taking forward the Taxi Development Day. The sponsor team confirmed that Lucy Logan would now cover the Accessible Travel Team’s interests regarding taxis aligned to the Accessible Travel Framework (ATF) work packages. It remained the case that whilst there was no single point of contact responsible for taxi policy in Transport Scotland (or the Scottish Government), different policy requirements were served by the relevant policy area according to context
e.g. Justice colleagues led on licensing policy, the Accessible Travel policy team had an interest for its own policy responsibilities and ATF commitments and licensing itself was delegated to local authorities (under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982).
9.1.5 The Convener observed that taxis were a prominent part of the Accessible Travel Framework for disabled people, particularly in rural areas where there is an absence of accessible public transport and the Government needed to provide a requisite level of resource.
10.2 SW gave an update on rail:
10.2.1 MACS had responded to the Ticket Office consultation. ScotRail was looking to reduce operating hours at ticket offices. MACS had responded with concerns stating that it was well evidenced that disabled people requiring assistance received better Passenger Assistance and were more confident when there was face to face contact.
MACS has stated their position, which was that they were against reduced operating hours for ticket offices.
10.2.2 There was a Parliamentary debate on this topic and whilst no Disability Equality Impact Assessment (DEIA) had been undertaken, one would now be undertaken because ScotRail was now under public ownership and as such the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) applied
10.2.3 On tactile surfaces on platforms, contact had been made with Access for All to make small scale improvements to stations and who have put in a submission. SW would be attending a stakeholder event for ScotRail.
10.2.4 MT mentioned that he was in dialogue with ScotRail as their complaints procedure wasn’t accessible so it could come up at future meetings.
Agenda Item 9: Key Messages for Twitter
AOB – LB asked the Committee that with the possibility of hybrid meetings for the four legislative meetings, would members prefer a longer break in the middle of the meeting or two shorter breaks.
The Committee agreed to the longer break. Future agendas would be structured to accommodate this.
Agenda Item 10: Close
10.1 The Convener thanked everyone for attending.