At Transport Scotland we aim to achieve excellence in all that we do, bringing together all our expertise and working with our partners to develop and implement Scotland’s transport priorities. As an organisation we are committed to being engaged with our stakeholders and attuned to their needs, respected for our professional judgement, trusted in our advice and effective in our delivery.

During 2008/09 Transport Scotland had, on average, 279 permanent staff together with 57 consultants providing specialist services and agency staff covering vacancies.

Efficient use of public resources

Transport Scotland as a public body is responsible for ensuring it makes best use of taxpayers’ money in line with the principles of Efficient Government and Best Value. During 2008/09 we delivered £40 million of efficiencies through more competitive prices for trunk road management and maintenance, negotiating savings on the Airdrie-Bathgate rail project and by obtaining a more efficient level of grant funding to Network Rail.

As in previous years, we fully utilised our available budget of £2,084 million through efficient management control, delivering the maximum potential from the funds available.

Our administrative costs were £16.2 million which was less than 1% of our overall budget.

Full details are set out in our Annual Accounts.

Partnerships in planning and delivery

Transport Scotland is working closely with Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and other partners in preparing for a successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Our involvement includes public transport access to Games venues and traffic management issues, as well as our role in ensuring that infrastructure projects such as the M74 Completion project are delivered in time for the Games.


Our people are key to delivering our priorities. Our recruitment policies are designed to ensure that we have the right people, with the right skills and experience, in the right jobs at the right time, matching our resources to our future needs.

Transport Scotland is a co-signatory to Delivering Planning Reform, which was published by the Scottish Government in October 2008. This looks at how together we can significantly increase co-operation, speed up the pace of reform and improve the efficiency of the land-use planning system. We have also published our own Service Improvement Plan setting out how we are going to deliver on that commitment. During the period April to December 2008 we responded to 86.6% of minor development planning applications within 14 days, exceeding our target of 85%. We have now increased our target to 90%.

Transport Scotland recognises that transport is particularly important to people with disabilities and we have continued to engage with a wide range of disability organisations including the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland and the Scottish Accessible Transport Alliance to ensure that the infrastructure improvements we deliver are designed to incorporate access and inclusion for all members of society. We also chair the Scottish Rail Accessibility Forum and the Roads for All Forum which bring together industry and disability stakeholders.

Outward focus

In early 2009 we undertook the first wave of our second road user survey to improve further our understanding of the requirements of road users on the safety and condition of the trunk road network. This identified the top priorities of road users as being:

  • improved road condition
  • improved response time to road defects
  • improved quality of road repairs
  • improved road drainage
  • reduced frequency of roadworks
  • improved provision and condition of cycle lanes

A further series of surveys was carried out in June and July 2009 and a report will be published in the near future.

In striving for excellence in transport delivery, both nationally and internationally, we recognise the benefits to be gained in both attracting industry expertise to Scotland and in our staff engaging with global experts through attendance at seminars and conferences. The European Transport Conference is a key annual event for European transport practitioners and researchers. This event, held in the Netherlands in 2008, attracted around 450 delegates from over 30 countries. In June, Transport Scotland was successful in its bid to host the Conference in Glasgow from 2010 to 2012.

The first Transport Resilience Seminar was held in August and was attended by around 90 senior representatives from the Scottish transport sector. Participants heard from a range of speakers, including the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson MSP, about the roles of the various agencies in responding to incidents and emergencies impacting on the transport network.

In October 2008 international delegates from the World Roads Association Technical Committee on Preserving the Environment participated in a conference hosted by Transport Scotland on Roads and Climate Change.

Freedom of Information

A review of our Freedom of Information Publishing Scheme was carried out at the start of the year and we committed to proactively publishing a greater amount of information than previously. The scheme was approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner and published in June.

Transport Scotland website

We have continued to develop our website during the year; in particular we have enhanced our major transport projects pages. An independent review undertaken by Ipsos Mori found that overall the website was providing a satisfactory experience for users. We will use these findings to further improve and develop the site.

Continuous recruitment

As in previous years, recruiting the right staff continued to be a challenge. Within this context, our continuous recruitment process is geared towards ensuring that succession planning is addressed and that we have appropriate people, skills and experience in place.

Graduate recruitment

We have recognised the challenges that lie ahead in the construction sector and the shortages in skills in civil engineering and other technical professional areas. We therefore run our own Graduate Training Scheme recognised by the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Transport Planning Society. Graduates follow a structured training programme across the breadth of work we undertake and our aim is to prepare them for professional review by their relevant institution within five years of joining the programme. In 2008/09 we had five graduates and three student placements within Transport Scotland.

Learning and development

We have a dedicated Learning and Development Manager and a tailored development programme for all staff in Transport Scotland, identifying critical skill gaps and essential development requirements and providing a range of training courses and development opportunities. These include a comprehensive induction process, leadership development programmes and lunchtime seminars on transport-related issues. During the year staff undertook 6,055 hours of learning and development, recognising the importance of this crucial area.

Travel Plan and Environmental Guardians

This Report has already set out the steps we are taking to reduce emissions and energy consumption in our road and rail projects. We are also working hard nearer to home.

In April 2008 we published the UK’s first ‘carbon focused’ Travel Plan. The aspiration of this Plan is "to measure, monitor and minimise the greenhouse gas emissions arising from travel by Transport Scotland employees". Prior to publishing the Travel Plan, we undertook a survey in May 2006 of the travel patterns of our staff, covering both their commute to and from our office in Buchanan House in Glasgow, and also their travel throughout Scotland and beyond for business purposes. The Travel Plan then set some challenging targets for reducing our travel greenhouse gas emissions. The original May 2006 survey was followed up with a second survey in late 2008.

We have made significant progress in reducing our CO2 emissions in staff commuting to and from work, achieving a 16% reduction in rail travel and 5% by private car. We are well on course to meet our initial targets of a 5% and 10% reduction respectively by November 2009.

The picture is not so good in relation to business travel where our overall emissions, particularly for air travel, have increased. While the nature of Transport Scotland’s work means that many of our staff need to travel throughout the UK, internationally and to and from transport projects across Scotland, we will be redoubling our efforts to ensure we do so in the most sustainable way.

We have also recently set up a Green Committee of Environmental Guardians from among our staff within our main building at Buchanan House, Glasgow, and also at the Traffic Control Centre, Atlantic Quay, Glasgow. Their role is to seek effective ways of reducing the amount of power we use and to encourage recycling.

Risk management

Transport Scotland has a well-established system of risk management to inform decisions on financial and operational planning and to assist in achieving our objectives and targets. To further strengthen this, during 2008/09 we put in place a high-level risk strategy setting out a consistent approach to the implementation of risk management within Transport Scotland at strategic, programme and project levels. A Risk Management Committee was set up, responsible for developing a risk framework, for maintaining the corporate risk register, for facilitating the production and management of risk registers within project teams and Directorates and for enhancing the management of risk across all areas of the business.


Transport Scotland is committed to equal opportunity in employment and advancement. This is based on ability to do the job irrespective of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, gender, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, age, work pattern or membership/non-membership of a trade union. All staff are entitled to be treated with respect in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying. Transport Scotland recognises, respects and values the diversity of the society that it serves and is actively working to meet the interests of people from all sections of society.

Health and Safety

In 2006 the Transport Scotland Board published a corporate policy statement pledging its commitment to effective health and safety management across all of the Agency’s undertakings. During the year there were no notifiable incidents. There were six minor incidents: two accidents within the office, one near-miss incident involving a third party contractor and three minor road traffic events. Staff completed over 546 hours of health and safety training. Driving at work has been recognised as one of the most significant health and safety risks to employees and a ‘Driving Safely’ awareness campaign was launched in February 2009.

Staff relations

The Chief Executive is responsible for promoting and supporting effective staff relations; consulting with trade union representatives in line with the Partnership Agreement between the Council of Scottish Government Unions and the Scottish Government.