Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) - Board Meeting - Minutes - 25 July 2023


  • Linda Bamford – Convener (Chair)
  • Hilary Stubbs – Vice Convener
  • Catherine Barile (CB)
  • David Hunter (DH)
  • Elliot Cooper (EC)
  • Joanne Devitt (JD)
  • Lesley Macinnes (LM)
  • Lynsey Shovlin (LS)
  • Michael Tornow (MT)
  • Naghat Ahmed (NA)
  • Simon Watkins (SW)

MACS Secretariat:

  • Mary Anne Keegan (MAK)

Transport Scotland:

  • Bethany Sharp (BS) – Sponsor, Head of Stakeholder Engagement
  • John Maxwell (JM) – Head of Accessible Travel
  • Steven Dora (SD) -  Accessible Travel Policy Team Leader


  • Graham Dunn (GD)
  • Susan Fulton (SF)

Agenda Item 1: Welcome, Apologies and Housekeeping

  • The Convener welcomed everyone to the meeting. She outlined the specifics of Board meetings; the legislative requirement, that 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 October 2023.
  • The Convener then confirmed all in attendance and listed apologies. Steven Dora will be joining at 11.30pm for the Spotlight Session on the progress and next steps for the Accessible Travel Framework.
  • In terms of the Sponsor Team Update paper, under Transport Scotland (TS) Bus, Accessible and Active Travel (BAAT) the Convener informed the Committee that SF wished for it to be reflected in her absence, that MACS have made comments at various review stages in relation to the ‘Guide for Inclusive Design for Town Centres and Busy Streets’, but some key advice has not been reflected in the most recent version. MACS are unable to support the guide as it stands and recommend that it needs to be re-reviewed against previously submitted comments and returned to the working group, to ensure the document is fit for purpose prior to consultation.
  • The Convener highlighted that LM has agreed to take the lead role on Bus, Taxis and Community Transport on a temporary basis, and that CB has agreed to take on the main liaison role for MACS in relation to equality and human rights issues.
  • The Convener wished to formally record MACS’ thanks and congratulations to Vanessa Altweck on her new and promoted job as a policy official at a Scottish University, and that the Committee are grateful for the work she did as part of the Secretariat team, particularly around developing an Inclusive Communication Guide.

Agenda Item 2: Approval of minutes, matters arising and update on action points from previous meeting

  • The Convener informed the Committee that there were 5 action points from the previous Board meeting, which are all showing as complete.
  • The Convener asked the Committee to confirm that the remainder of the 5 action points were complete. The Committee confirmed this was the case.

The Convener thanked the Secretariat for progressing all the actions from the previous Board meeting.

Agenda Item 3: Update from Convener

The Convener noted that MACS Recruitment closed on 4 July and on 11 July, a shortlist took place from 26 applications, with those shortlisted being interviewed over 3 days (31 July, 1 and 2 of August). Following this the Chair of the interview panel (Fiona Brown) will make nominations to the Minister for Transport, and it is hoped that four new members will join in October 2023.

The Convener wished to record thanks to Fiona for pursuing, and DH and HS for agreeing, to potential short extensions to their terms, to allow for mentorship of the two incoming Leads who will succeed them.

The Convener updated that contingency arrangements are in place for the Bus, Taxi and Community Transport Workstream, with LM agreeing to temporary Lead role, and currently getting up to speed whilst DH, HS, JD, and the Convener pick up on various engagements within the workstream.

The Convener noted that JD will be collecting data on rural bus service withdrawals and collating a short report before the October 2023 Board Meeting. JD will also visit the Aviemore Adventurer Buses to see its scope for accessibility including space for mobility equipment.

MT asked JD if she could find out if there are audible or visual announcements on the bus, which JD agreed to so and feed back.

BS suggested JD link up with Social Research team regarding the survey JD is conducting.

Action 1: Sponsor to put Joanne in touch with Social Research team to help with survey and report.

Agenda Item 4: Spotlight Session: Accessible Travel Framework Presentation (Steven Dora – Transport Scotland, Accessible Travel Policy Team Leader)

The Convener thanked SD for coming along to provide an update for the Accessible Travel Framework.

SD thanked the Committee for making time for the update and said he is happy to take questions as they come during the presentation and wishes for there to be an open discussion throughout. SD is keen to develop this in partnership with MACS and the Accessible Travel Framework Steering Group.

SD highlighted that there is considerable scope to improve governance arrangements for Transport Scotland and the wider Scottish Government’s delivery under the Accessible Travel Framework. This could be achieved through the adoption of a new programme approach with a programme board chaired by a senior Transport Scotland official. SD notes that it is important to get this right as it is an important part of compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and the Equality Act 2010.

SD emphasised the importance of mainstreaming and how it fits around the new delivery structure, as well as the importance of delegating activity under the Accessible Travel Framework within Transport Scotland and the wider Scottish Government. A lot of activity currently falls upon the Accessible Travel team, but this is not effective and accessible travel should be hardwired into the functioning of the modal transport teams. SD proposes that accessibility should be considered in every function of Transport Scotland and not compartmentalised to an individual team, and this would promote a culture of equality and lead to continuous improvement and better performance.

The Convener asked SD where MACS would sit within the proposed governance arrangements and advisory board. SD advised that this will be covered in the next slide.

The Convener agreed with SD that accessibility should be mainstreamed into each modal function of Transport Scotland and asked if this embedding will have completed by the end of the Accessible Travel Framework’s lifespan. SD reassured that whilst this culture already exists, it needs to be elevated and needs to be adopted and maintained beyond the lifespan of the framework.

HS asked SD to clarify if the framework would be influencing or supporting how Local Authorities operate as well as the Scottish Government. SD confirmed that the focus is on Transport Scotland and Scottish Government responsibilities, whilst it would be demonstrating leadership and best practice, it would not be actively advising other public authorities on how to conduct activity, as that is their responsibility under their equalities duties.

The Convener remarked that it is worth reminding the majority of stakeholders that they also need to comply with the PSED as duty holders. SD agreed.

SD presented an organogram which is in development stage, of what an Accessible Travel Framework Programme Board may look like.

The organogram has a key to identify who in the process is responsible, accountable, or consulted. It includes a chair, a senior responsible owner with a programme manager and twelve different component projects feeding into that. MACS and the Stakeholder Reference group sit alongside in a consultative capacity. SD reassured that the importance of involving MACS and the Stakeholder reference group is understood, and that a Terms of Reference is currently being drafted and will be shared in due course.

LM asked for clarity on the Stakeholder Reference Group. SD informed that it is the existing Stakeholder Reference Group for the Nation Accessible Travel Steering Group, which meets quarterly and is made up of thirty different stakeholder organisations. The Board would report regularly to this group.

LM asked for clarification on where MACS would sit as a technical advisor, and which reporting mechanism is envisaged. SD envisages a two-way relationship where MACS will be well-cited.

EC asked if the question of whether Accessible Travel Framework should continue to its original timescale or if being replaced is being considered, as a project on the organogram relates to succession plans. SD confirmed that this is an important question and will be looked at once the plan is up and running.

MT asked if there will be an effort to understand and collect passenger experience. SD envisions that the new Monitoring and Evaluation group will be integral to this.

NA asked how MACS will be involved with each project detailed on the organogram, if they are all at different relative stages, as it would be beneficial to see MACS’ involvement in each project at each stage. SD gave assurance that MACS input will be valued and they will be cited frequently.

HS enquired about new topics on the organogram. SD informed that breaking down topics into a way that allows for delegation each modal policy team and distilling topics down into a way that is intuitive and logical in terms of delivery will be most effective. JM assured it is not about duplication, but making sure they are all part of the overall programme and recognise that work is being brought together.

The Convener expressed that project methodologies should be used to see links, interdependencies and timelines, and that projects need mainstreaming or resources. SD stated that each project will occupy varying amounts of bandwidth and will be weighed up accordingly in terms of resources.

The Convener questioned the rational of the addition of “Trunk Roads” under the frameworks work packages and asked if this need had been raised by disabled people. SD confirmed that trunk roads had been added after he attended a TS meeting and learned of their progress in this area.

This led to a discussion of why this would be added, the value and the additional tasks/time this may give to a team that had limited capacity to make progress on the existing work packages. The Convener asked if the forward planning was for the team to provide a “dashboard” to show the progress other organisations were making or as a driver to ensure delivery. SD confirmed that this would be clearer as the delivery pan developed. 

The Convener and BS thanked SD and JM for their time and asked for a short written update on next steps. SD agreed to update at October Board Meeting

Action 2: Secretariat obtain written update on Accessible Travel Framework from Steven Dora and share with Committee members.

The Convener opened a discussion to hear people’s views and reflections on the “spotlight session” on the Accessible Travel Framework. 

In the main members commented that they felt the update lacked clarity and direction on the delivery path that would cover the remainder of the framework lifespan (until 2026).  

There were concerns that Transport Scotland Accessibility Team could be focussing on the wrong areas and in effect duplicating the work of others or not adding to projects that were progressing under the scope of other Transport Scotland policy teams (modal) or through stakeholders’ actions such as being driven by Regional Transport Partnerships through their Regional Transport Strategies, by transport providers or by Local Authorities. 

There was a suggestion that the project was leaning towards becoming a “dashboard” to show progress other stakeholders were making, rather than being the driver to deliver on the work packages of the framework. 

Members felt that the planning of the delivery plan should utilise project management methodologies and principles to move it on from where is appears to be stuck (i.e., in planning and defining the next delivery plan and agreeing how the project would close as we near 2026). 

BS agreed to summarise the reflections and feed this back to the Accessibility Team to assist. 

Agenda Item 5: Workstream Leads Update

Planning and Strategy – DH

DH states he was pleased that SD spoke about mainstreaming and gaining more senior support, keen to see relationship to NTS2, the Transport Equality Network and monitoring arrangements.

DH gave short update as most updates were covered in quarterly newsletter. Transition for DH’s upcoming departure is going well with EC co-leading Planning & Strategy Workstream and work with Just Transition and the Monitoring and Evaluation group. DH grateful to NA for taking on Motability Lead role, with a meeting of the group expected soon.

An accreditation of a new partner under the Accessible Vehicle Equipment Scheme has taken place, but the announcement may have been delayed.

Twitter rota is working well, work of EC and CB appreciated.

Action 3: Secretariat to confirm if AVES accreditation announcement has been delayed.

DH referred to the Scottish Government's recent Just Transition plan for transport, which states that it needs to be accepted that some people are more reliant on cars than others and that this was a missed opportunity to talk about disabled people. Public transport needs to be more accessible and disabled people who rely on carers and family are often overlooked. DH was struck by lack of discussion about disability issues in the plan, as is important that it is explicitly assured that disabled peoples’ mobility will not be undermined.

The Convener shared disappointment but noted BS shared a report, from TS, that was more focused on transport and that the Just Transition Commission were doing further specific work around transport.

Ferries and Aviation – HS

HS was pleased that all Scottish airports reached the top standard in terms of accessibility gradings in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report published in the past week. HS updated that HS, LB, and MT have worked on a consultation response to the CAA Performance Framework.

HS updated on extensive stakeholder consultation in Ferries space, different workstream members have been looking at ticketing, accessibility, and sustainability.

Rail – SW

SW thanked DH for suggesting that SPTR2 is looked at within subgroups and the projects that are being funded within that. The Rail Workstream will be looking at Glasgow Metro and Station Master Plans and giving accessibility input into both.

SW informed that ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland have produced a Draft Access Strategy for Scotland’s Railway, which MACS have been consulted on.

SW highlighted the issue of ticket office closures in England, which MACS have lodged an objection to on the basis that Scottish passengers will often travel south of the border. SW noted that these proposals do not cover Scottish stations other than Glasgow Central.

Agenda Item 6: Key Messages for Twitter

The Convener suggested to tweet that the Board Meeting was held today, and it was good to have a session from the Accessible Travel Team on the Accessible Travel Framework and MACS hope to follow up in more detail.

CB informed that the objection to ticket office closures sent to LNER, has attracted a lot of attention on Twitter. The Convener highlighted the importance of signposting people to MACS responses on the MACS website to uphold standards of transparency for public interest.

Agenda Item 7: AOB

The Convener noted from the Sponsor Team Update Paper that there have been no developments from the Sustainable and Active Travel team since the Board meeting in January, with potential impacts on transport accessibility. The latest was that the unit have remained focused on finalising delivery plans for 2023-2024. The Convener highlighted that the engagement of this area has been sporadic, too late, or absent and that we are a considerable way through the 2023-2024 performance period.

The Convener asked if there would be a benefit from the Secretariat/Sponsor Team to arrange an update on Sustainable and Active Travel on their Deliver Plans for the Spotlight Session of the October 2023 Board Meeting.

DH agreed this would be a good idea and is surprised that there had been no mention of how the Active Travel budget will be delivered. BS agreed to pick up on a spotlight session from the team and will ask for an interim update in writing for the Committee.

Action 4: Secretariat/Sponsor Team to arrange an update from the Sustainable and Active Travel Team at the October 2023 Board meeting and to obtain an interim written update.

The Convener noted that on the Sponsor Team Update Paper, there was an update about the “HITRANS” GO-HI app and the pilot involving 500 Motability scheme members due to commence. The Convener asked if an update from the team leading on that could be arranged for the Motability sub-group.

Action 5:Secretariat to arrange an update from team leading on the “HITRANS” GO-HI app and pilot for the Motability sub-group.

MT asked if any other topics had been proposed regarding MACS ‘Position Papers’ and if floating bus stops is one of them.

The Convener informed that there are a few position papers, which SF is leading on developing. DH confirmed that there will be a position paper on floating bus stops. The Convener noted that the drafts of the position papers will be taken to the next Leads meeting or the next Planning and Strategy meeting.

The Convener asked MAK to ask Susan for a list of topics which will be covered by the position papers.

Action 6:Secretariat to confirm with Susan which topics will be covered by MACS position papers.

DH expected to see the latest publication of Disability in Transport in July, but nothing has come of it so far. DH asked BS if she has any information and suggested convening a meeting of the Monitoring and Evaluation sub-group once it is produced.

BS confirmed that she will speak with Paul Sloan on the monitoring and evaluation work and the three-yearly report is due soon, alongside the Disability in Transport publication. BS believes some of the data has been delayed but will follow up on this and on when the first meeting of the Monitoring and Evaluation group will be.

Action 7: Sponsor Team to follow up with Paul Sloan on the Disability in Transport publication and the first meeting of the Monitoring and Evaluation Group.

The Convener concluded the meeting and thanked everyone for their time and reminded the Committee of the upcoming Leads meeting and Ferries Development Day.

Published Date 29 Aug 2023 Type Mode of transport Topic