- Ally Nelson – Head of Secretariat
- Mary Anne Keegan (MAK)
- Fiona Brown (FB) – Sponsor, Interim Director of Transport Strategy and Analysis
- Bethany Sharp (BS) – Head of Transport Strategy
Graham Dunn (GD)
Lynsey Shovlin (LS)
Agenda Item 1: Welcome, Apologies and Housekeeping
The Convener welcomed everyone to the meeting. She outlined the specifics of Board meetings; they occur quarterly, the minutes should be with the Committee within 10 working days and the action points from today’s meeting will be progressed either before or at the board meeting in July.
The Convener then confirmed all in attendance and listed apologies. Fiona Brown and Bethany Sharp will be joining at 12.40pm.
The Convener wished to formally record MACS’ thanks Audrey Birt who stepped down from the Committee in February after over five years’ service. The Convenor praised her determination and commitment to her work in improving the lives and opportunities of disabled people.
The Convenor noted that for future Board Meetings, the Head of Secretariat will scan the Sponsor Team Updates as they come in, to identify which officials to invite to the Board Meeting and encouraged Committee Members to email him if they thought it would be beneficial for an official to come along.
The Convenor highlighted that the agenda had been revised for today and ran through agenda items, timings, and order.
Agenda Item 2: Approval of minutes, matters arising and update on action points from previous meeting
The Convenor informed the Committee that there were 9 action points from the previous Board meeting which are all showing as complete.
The Convenor wished to confirm with Susan that action point 2, for the previous Deputy Sponsor to produce inclusive design guidance document for mid-February to the accessible travel working group and end of February to MACS, was complete.
Susan confirmed that she would cover this in her Workstream Lead Update.
The Convener asked the Committee to confirm that the remainder of the 9 action points were complete.
The Convenor thanked the Secretariat for progressing all the actions from the previous Board meeting.
Agenda Item 3: Workstream Leads Update
Planning and Strategy – DH
DH and EC had a useful meeting with the Just Transition Commission and joined a virtual session on Accessible and Inclusive Travel.
The Just Transition Commission have a draft report out on Transport, which DH thinks MACS should respond to but has not been able to locate it. DH asked if Secretariat could find this and pass onto him.
Action 1: Secretariat to obtain Just Transition Commission Draft Report.
DH informed that there is a Motability Sub-Group meeting next week where several issues will be discussed.
A lot of criticism about Motability stems from its’ monopoly and large profits it is making. There is an aim to accredit a wider range of organisations, there were four who sought accreditation, but official recommendation was not to proceed.
DH expressed MACS’ concern about this to the panel and suggests that MACS do some preparatory work for the next round of accreditation to promote the accreditation opportunities and extend the range of organisations. Regarding Motability, MACS has a useful role in joining up the approach of Transport Scotland and Social Security Scotland.
DH noted that there will also be a meeting of the Monitoring and Evaluation Sub-Group next week which he and EC will lead on with Paul Sloan, Head of Research, Statistics and Evaluation at Transport Scotland. DH hopes a member of Secretariat can attend also.
DH believes there is currently a Transport Scotland consultation open on Smart and Integrated Ticketing aimed at individuals, but asked if Secretariat could see if MACS should be formally replying as it may be crosscutting.
Action 2: Secretariat to find out if MACS should formally reply to consultation on Smart and Integrated Ticketing.
Ferries and Aviation – HS
Aviation has a meeting set up with the Accessible Travel Team and HS has been invited to that, where they will be meeting the providers of accessible travel at airports in early June.
This Civil Aviation Authority Accessibility Policy was published this morning. MACS contributed to the research and consultation and HS has asked the Secretariat to circulate it to the Committee.
The Island Connectivity Plan which replaces the Ferries Plan is going through development phases and is split up into different working groups. Some are looking at the Small Vessel Replacement Scheme, whilst some are looking at the overall picture of how the Island Connectivity Plan is going to be. MACS is a stakeholder on all these discussions.
HS is about to do some consultation on Project Neptune, which is a project looking at the views of the communities on how they see the ferries operating and the links between Scottish Government, CalMac, CMAL, North Links and all the various providers who work together. Some are responsible solely for vessels, some for journeys and some for funding.
The first public draft of the Island Connectivity Plan Overview should be out in the next few months. HS will circulate when she gets the opportunity.
The Island Plan, another piece of connectivity work, looks at everything that is going on in Scottish Government and has a remit to make sure that the islands are being treated equal to the mainland. Transport and accessibility are key pillars of that plan.
Another piece of work that HS is involved in by sitting on the Motability Sub-Group is working with Social Security looking at their research and advisory remit and looking at the transition from the UK government to the Scottish Government providing the Motability links and providing the Motability vehicles.
The research and advisory group is in its early stages, working on its remit. It will do a questionnaire and interview across Social Security Scotland clients receiving Adult Disability Payment as to how it meets their needs.
At present, there are statistics on the UK equivalent of Adult Disability payment, on how clients used Personal Independence Payment to lease a car, why clients do not use the payment to lease a car and how they clients find the journey of using those payments with their leased cars.
The group will be looking at why clients use Adult Disability Payment to lease their vehicles, why they do not use Adult Disability Payment to lease their vehicles and how they found the process, in terms of applying, getting their vehicle that they want and their service from garages.
HS has also been looking at the transfer from Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance into the devolved administration, in terms of the whole process from the publicity, to how people apply, eligibility and receipt of the payments.
Adult Disability Payment replaces Personal Independence Payment, and Pension Age Disability Payment replaces Attendance Allowance. The age qualification is still the same, but the application process has been simplified and is now available online, in person and at centres with a key person allocated to every application. Only one piece of evidence will be required, and this key person will assist them in retrieving it. This will hopefully result in more people who are entitled to benefits, receiving them.
The Convenor made the Committee aware that the request has went to the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice for MACS to have a further follow-up meeting about concerns over value for money with the Motability scheme, against the backdrop of £1.2bn in profits last year, with Motability taking the full 10.1% cost of living uplift from customers. MACS already met Ms. Somerville when she was the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, and this will be following on from discussions with Mr. McPherson who was the Minister for Social Security.
The Convenor informed that the next Workstream Update should be that of Bus and Community Transport but GD is not attendance so update’s will be given in his next newsletter. She thanked GD for his efforts for April’s Bus Development Day.
Rail – SW
SW reminded the Committee that around a year ago, Scotrail proposed a series of station ticket office closures and reduction of hours. No final decisions have been made, but SW requested an Equality Impact Assessment which was denied and rejected following an internal appeal. After referral to the Information Commissioner, Scotrail provided an Equality Impact Assessment, SW hopes that this will now become a precedent due to Scotrail now being publicly owned.
The Convenor passed over to SF for Roads, Infrastructure and Active Travel.
Roads, Infrastructure and Active Travel – SF
SF gave an update on the Inclusive Design Guidance (prev. action point 2). SF noted changes to wording, made by colleagues with a less comprehensive understanding of Inclusive Design. However, previous Deputy Sponsor agreed to reinstate original wording and phrases. A new draft is due to come out and Deputy Sponsor aims to launch the consultation before the upcoming recess.
SF told the Committee that she had attended a useful webinar in the past week delivered by the Outdoor Recreation Network on Outdoor Accessibility Guidance, which has just been published in conjunction with Paths for All and the Sensory Touch Trust.
SF states that it one of the more recent documents which really understands accessibility and inclusive design, with good images and terminology throughout. SF remarks that she was very impressed and believes that if used it would have a significant positive impact on outdoor accessibility.
SF and Convenor had a meeting with colleagues from SUSTRANS, and SF had further meetings with SUSTRANS colleagues. She also attended a webinar delivered by Alice Clement, who SF was impressed by and believes has a full comprehensive knowledge of accessibility.
SF has a few position papers, which she will circulate today to the Secretariat. There are now has draft position papers on Transport to Health, Twenty Minute Neighbourhoods, Active Travel, EV Charging, Motability, and Mobility Centres. These will be circulated in time for the next Leads meeting and a portfolio will be built.
The Convenor commented that the position papers will act as useful key messages to relay and promote confidence in MACS positions on certain issues.
The Convenor thanked everyone and closed the meeting for lunch.
Agenda Item 4: Introduction from MACS Sponsor (Fiona Brown – Transport Scotland, Director, Strategy and Analysis)
The Convenor welcomed everyone back from lunch break and introduced the attendees to the new MACS Sponsor. She welcomed FB to her first Board meeting as Sponsor and thanked her for demonstrating her commitment to supporting MACS since taking up post.
The Convenor thanked FB for her letter in response to the MACS Annual Workplan and for meeting regularly to work together on the efficiency and effectiveness of MACS.
FB introduced herself and explained that she is responsible for the Transport Scotland Strategy and Analysis Directorate, where the MACS sponsorship role now lies. She let the Committee know that the Lead Sponsor role is currently in recruitment and will be a Head of Stakeholder Engagement Role, which will be an outward facing role as the organisation works towards delivering the National Transport Strategy. FB has been working with the Convenor in the meantime to ensure continued progress.
FB stressed that she wants to have open engagement and create an effective relationship between the Committee and the Sponsorship team, where there is trust and respect which is used to challenge each other and determine where efforts need to be focused. FB informed the Committee that she appreciates their time and work and looks forward to gaining more insight into it.
FB reiterated that she and the Convenor have been meeting fortnightly during the transition period and is interested in discussing with the Workstream Leads the best format for MACS and the new sponsor to work together in the future.
FB believes that the separation of Sponsorship from the Policy side of Transport Scotland is ultimately a good thing and that the new Sponsor sitting within Strategy and Analysis will be beneficial, as they will have a strong understanding of all activity across the organisation.
FB asked for thoughts and opinions from the Committee.
SW asked what percentage of time the new Sponsor will devote to MACS, FB responded that it is not set out specifically in the framework agreement but will be 2-3 days a week.
The Convenor asked FB for a rough timeline on the recruitment of the Sponsor. FB said she would be able to give more certainty next week and that a sift of applications is currently taking place.
AN wished to express his thanks to FB and her team for the support given to the Secretariat during this transition period.
HS let FB know that she is grateful for the change that has taken place in terms of the Sponsorship. HS wanted to know more about the new Sponsor working with Workstream Leads. FB thanked HS for her eight years of service in MACS which is coming to an end shortly. FB explained that once the Sponsor is in place this would be worked out, but FB personally would like to come and meet each Workstream Lead and understand their work.
FB wished to add that the public appointments process for recruiting new MACS members is now underway, and there has been approval from the minister to progress.
The Convenor noted that she is finding communication easier, and progress is being made, which is a welcome change and thanked FB.
The Convenor asked FB if she could give an overview to the Committee on the new Monitoring and Evaluation Sub-Group.
FB explained that analytical side of Transport Scotland is also under her remit. FB noted the importance of analysis and use of evidence, but also collected data and lived experience. Researchers are keen to get group off the ground and FB would like to keep oversight and come along at a suitable point.
Agenda Item 5: Sponsor Team – Paper and Update
FB introduced BS, who has played an important role in the delivery of the NTS2. FB explained that she wanted to discuss the First Minister’s Policy Prospectus and BS wanted to discuss the Transport Equalities Network, which she is keen to get feedback on. FB said that she would like to agree in advance which policy officials to bring along to Sponsor Team Updates and have an in-depth discussion about any issues or challenges.
FB explained that the First Minister set out three significant priorities in his new vision for Scotland - Equality, Opportunity, and Community. FB is unsure whether there will be a new Programme for Government in September or if this document will be used instead. FB will update when she knows.
FB stated that her team contributed to the FM’s Policy Prospectus with transport priorities, which fitted within the three themes, including increasing the use of public transport and making transport Affordability, Accessibility and Availability a key priority alongside, taking climate action, and tacking inequalities.
This included the announcement around the removal of peak fares in October 2023. FB reported notable mentions within the document such as the target to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030, 20mph zones, Low Emission Zones, the target for increasing Active Travel spend as part of the Bute House Agreement to 10% of the total budget or £320mn and other infrastructure investments such as the replacement of major ferry vessels, with an aim of six new vessels by 2026, a new station in East Linton, the opening of the Levenmouth Rail Link, investment in the A83 Rest and be Thankful and the dualling of the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
The Convener welcomed the focus on Affordability, Availability and Accessibility (MACS Triple A check that they had been pushing for a couple of years) as well as statements within the Policy Prospectus around walking and wheeling.
FB handed over to BS to introduce herself and speak about the Transport Equalities Network.
BS introduced herself and announced the rebranding of the Transport Equality Network, which was active throughout COVID times. It engaged with groups and gathered evidence to support Equality Impact Assessments and the Transition Plans during the Pandemic.
When business as usual returned, the network group went on a hiatus. BS informed that she is now looking at resuming something similar using reflections and lessons learned from that period, with the provisional name of ‘Transport for All’. BS noted that there is another disabilities group with this name, so it is a working name for now.
BS proposed that the purpose of the group is to act as a main body, bringing together expert representatives across equality groups to support Transport Scotland’s work in reducing inequalities and creating a fair transport system and to advise officials on equality and diversity related issues.
BS notes that ‘Transport for All’ could link well with the previously mentioned Monitoring and Evaluation Sub-Group.
BS informed that proposed members of the group would be Carers Scotland, BEMIS, Engender, Poverty Alliance, Age Scotland, Disability Equality Scotland, Interfaith Scotland, Scottish Refugee Council, Scottish Youth Parliament, SAMH and the Equality Network, as well as MACS. BS reiterates that this is proposed, and the those named have not been contacted. BS welcomes any suggestions for additions to this list.
BS proposed that the group is chaired, and secretariat provided through Transport Scotland, with a meeting frequency in line with Parliamentary sessions, so three time a year. It would also engage in writing where appropriate. A note of the meeting would be published on the Transport Scotland website and outputs shared across the organisation and reported into the Delivery Board.
BS notes that the National Transport Strategy Delivery Board is co-chaired by the Minister for Transport and COSLA (Councillor McGregor). Also on the board are representatives responsible for delivering the strategy, such as a representative from the Regional Transport Partnership, COSLA, Solace and the Local Authorities. BS informs there is also a Transport Business Group to share experiences and to highlight opportunities and challenges for industry, particularly supporting the inclusive economic growth priority of the National Transport Strategy. Sitting on this group are the Airport Operators Association, Logistics UK, Road Haulage Association and Visit Scotland.
BS assured that this group would not intended to replace current engagement channels or routes. BS asks for opinions on the membership list and discussion items for initial sessions, should MACS wish to be involved.
The Convener suggested in terms of membership, it may be worth including the Poverty and Inequality Commission, to cover the affordability angle.
The Convener wished to know where the work of the Accessibility Team and the Accessible Travel Framework would fit into the proposed group,
BS took on board the Convener’s question/suggestion and will take the question about the Accessibility Team and the Accessible Travel Framework to the team but is keen not to duplicate or cause engagement fatigue.
DH remarked that he was encouraged by this proposal but believed that the name should be reconsidered to avoid confusion. DH agreed at looking at inequalities through an intersectional lens, but disabled people face very specific barriers, so wished for focus not to be lost on that.
DH suggests that inclusive communications are considered to maintain focus on accessibility. DH also suggests discussion items such as the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) and the Fair Fares Initiative. DH advocated that MACS agenda is embedded in the outcome of such initiatives and confirmed that MACS is happy to be a confidential ‘critical friend’ with early intervention in terms of consultations.
BS took on board DH’s comments, including on the name and confirmed her awareness of not losing focus on the acute challenges faced by disabled people. BS agreed with inclusive communications initiative.
FB agreed with DH’s suggestions and wished to resolve issue of not hearing back from engagements.
HS echoed DH’s remarks regarding the name of the proposed group. HS emphasised accessibility issues that exist in rural areas of Scotland and that digitisation of information is also an accessibility issue.
BS thanked HS for the points she made and informed that the Scottish Rural Network was potentially previously involved with the old group.
The Convener recommended Youth Scotland and the Young Islanders Network, who have done work around transport previously, as well as the Scottish Rural and Island Transport Community (SRITC).
NA stated that she was keen to see representation from the faith perspective.
BS confirms that Interfaith are included on the proposed members list and have previously been helpful.
SW wished to reiterate that the working name should change.
EC noted that he is aware that class is not a protected characteristic but wishes to see representation of people from multiply deprived areas.
BS agreed that she was keen to have this representation.
FB confirmed that she was happy for feedback on Sponsor Update Paper format and open to any questions.
SW wished to know if Fares Fare Review was still a priority.
FB gave assurance that it is.
The Convener expressed that she liked today’s format, thought it was more informative and efficient.
The Convener thanked FB and BS for their organised, well-presented sessions and their time.
Agenda Item 6: Key Messages for Twitter
The Convener asked if there was anything from the meeting today, which should be featured on the MACS Twitter account.
The Convener suggested that a thank you be put out to the relevant Transport Scotland teams for coming along and giving an update in their work areas.
DH says a tweet will be put out thanking Audrey Birt for her service.
CB asked attendees’ permission to take a photograph of the meeting to post on Twitter. All in attendance agreed.
Agenda Item 7: AOB
The Convener asked the Committee if there was any other business they wished to be discussed.
The Convener reminded the Committee that they are looking to recruit for four posts, but the recruitment process had suffered delays. She noted that the next recruitment meeting will not be until mid-May, but she will be pushing for the two new leads to come in by July. The Convener noted that another two new members will join in October 2023.
The Convener stated that she will potentially have an update from the Accessibility Team on the Accessible Travel Framework and the Evaluation Report today. She informed that should this update be received, the agenda will be opened to the full Committee for the Planning & Strategy meeting on 6 June 2023, should they wish to attend.
HS expressed concerns regarding the upcoming recruitment meeting, and whether the holiday season would affect this.
The Convener informed HS that the provisional recruitment meeting date is the 17 May 2023.
The Convener asked AS to progress this meeting date with the Public Appointments team.
Action 4: Secretariat to progress discussions around recruitment meeting date with Public Appointments team.
AN asked if there is a date confirmed for the Accessible Travel Framework Steering Group, as the previous Deputy Sponsor wishes to speak with MACS before it happens.
The Convener confirmed that the date for this meeting is the 31 May and that she had suggested meeting beforehand at the Leads Meeting on the 9 May, but this may not work as previous Deputy Sponsor will not have the evaluation document. The Convener suggested the possibility of a standalone session.
AN agreed that a standalone session would be more valuable and that he would chase this up with TS Accessibility Team
Action 5: HoS to arrange a standalone meeting with TS Accessibility Team to facilitate MACS update on the evaluation of the ATF and to discuss the next steps and future delivery plan(s)
The Convener thanked everyone for their attendance and contributions and noted that the meeting has concluded on a positive note.