HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
Report for Information
Transport in the Community Scrutiny Review Monitoring Report
Environment and Transportation Select Committee
Director of Environment
20 January 2009
1) Purpose of Report:
1.1. To provide Members with an update on responses to the recommendations arising from the recent scrutiny review of Transport in the Community.
2) Contextual Issues:
2.1. Hampshire County Council's Environmental and Transportation Select Committee initiated a review of Transport in the Community in 2007. The work was undertaken by a scrutiny review group comprising of elected members and a transport specialist. The review group considered all the evidence received and prepared a report on their findings, which include a number of recommendations.
2.2. A response to the recommendations was presented by the Executive Member for Environment to the Environment and Transportation Select Committee on 20th September 2008 and a timetable for monitoring the responses was agreed. This report updates members on three key areas of work in order to monitor the recommendations timetabled for January 2009.
3) Community Transport Review (Recommendations; D, I, Ki, S, Vi, Vii)
3.1. Many of the recommendations are being addressed through the Community Transport Review which the County Council has commissioned. The Consultants commissioned to undertake this review have now completed the following tasks:
a) An audit of the existing Hampshire approach. In summary this concludes that the extent of the Community Transport network in Hampshire indicates a high level of flexibility and comprehensiveness which has a clear impact on residents and organisations. There is also a consistency of quality standards and a cohesiveness of approach that the County Council's influence has nurtured.
b) Compared the Hampshire approach with the community transport provision provided by other similar local authorities and given case studies which highlight good practice and innovation elsewhere. These represent a range of alternative approaches which have been considered in terms of recommending a future Hampshire approach.
c) The views of a range of stakeholders were canvassed, including councils, health, operators and voluntary organisations. The consultants also made use of the findings from the recent passenger transport area reviews, the members' scrutiny review of transport and focus groups for service users
3.2 Following the above work, the consultants developed in outline form a number of options. Each of these options has now been prioritised in terms of deliverability and desirability following a meeting with the Executive Member for the Environment.
3.3 The higher priority options are now being developed in more detail by the consultants so that they can be assessed by the Executive Member for evaluation or possible implementation subject to any necessary support from stakeholders being secured and any resources required identified. These options include:
a) Branding all community transport services supported by the County Council in a distinct livery so as to make services attractive to the widest range of users . This would most easily be applied to those demand responsive transport services which are wholly subsidised although this will require the support of other funding partners. Where the councils only provide part funding for a service then any branding application would need to be through negotiation. Any new branding would need to be introduced in a way which was sensitive to the needs of users.
b) Providing transport information through the existing individual assessments carried out by Adult Services and other County Council workers. This could signpost people to the relevant transport providers for their need.
c) Using scheduled taxis or a taxicard scheme to provide some journeys currently provided by minibuses and to fill gaps in current service coverage in order to address inequality within existing resource levels.
d) Establishing a volunteer champion to help recruit, train, deploy and support volunteers for community transport schemes. Working on a countywide level, but in partnership with local groups, the approach could use professional, well branded, recruitment methods, utilise various multi-media sources and target employee volunteering.
e) Setting up a Community Interest Company in which the County Council would be a stakeholder. Such a non-profit organisation could tender for local bus services, home to school and social care transport and other contracts in Hampshire. Profits realised from the operations could be channelled back into supporting other community transport services.
f) Developing a tool kit for monitoring, managing and developing different types of transport services. The benchmark tool for each type of service could be determined by a mixture of factors including subsidy, trips provided, number of users, local accessibility and availability of other transport options.
3.4 A number of other options need further investigation by the consultants before a decision can be made on whether or not they should be developed in more detail. In many cases the lead in time for these options may be longer if they were eventually to be implemented. Options falling into this category include:
a) A single booking point for all demand responsive services in Hampshire. This would include the Cango, Dial-A-Ride, Call and Go and Dial-A-Bus services in Hampshire. The approach would be compatible with the countywide branding option.
a) Mapping and analysing local services and need in a pilot area and using this information to redesign service provision using the existing resources and making use of the most appropriate delivery modes e.g. taxis/taxi shares, dial-a-ride, car schemes etc. The approach would seek to provide better value for money and reduce some of the inequalities in journey opportunities which may exist.
b) Targeted initiatives to increase the scope of work and the journey opportunities provided by local community transport schemes supported by the County Council. In order to increase their trip productivity and enable them to play a greater role in providing public transport services in rural areas and other contract work.
c) Provide a `one stop' shop for transport information for users of public and community transport in Hampshire which could sign post people to appropriate services. In part this will be considered through one of the rural transport pilots.
3.5. The work being undertaken by the consultants as part of Stage Two of the review is initially to focus on progressing the higher priority options. A further update on progress will be presented at a future meeting.
3.6 In terms of engagement with the health agencies a shuttle bus was introduced between Andover and Winchester hospitals in conjunction with the Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust and Test Valley Borough Council. The feasibility of repeating this initiative to provide transport to Aldershot Health Centre and from Gosport to the Portsmouth Hospitals after the closure of Haslar Hospital is also being looked at. Wider engagement with the Primary Care Trust was raised at a recent meeting but given forthcoming changes to transport commissioning in the PCT, this will need to be an area for longer term action. This will then be looked at through the Community Transport Review.
4) Rural Transport Pilots (Recommendation L)
4.1 An outline of the aims of each of the rural transport pilots is contained in Appendix 1. This also shows the work undertaken to date for each of these pilots
4.2 Where Parish Councils are directly involved in a rural pilot, for example the Winchester Pilot, then they are receiving direct feedback on progress and results. Updates on the rural pilots are provided at the passenger transport forums which the County Council facilitates at appropriate stages. Parish and town councils are invited to these forums and a number attend. Updates provided at the forum meetings are included in the circulated notes of the forums sent to Parish Councils. The results of the pilots will be shared with the forums. Where forums do not exist then these will be provided direct to parish councils.
5) Passenger Transport Forums (Recommendation N)
5.1 The following districts are now covered by a passenger transport forum - Basingstoke, East Hampshire, Hart, Havant, New Forest, Rushmoor, Test Valley and Winchester. Forum meetings in Basingstoke and Havant took place for the first time during autumn 2008. Currently, there are plans to establish forums to cover the remaining areas - Eastleigh, Fareham and Gosport during 2009.
5.2 The autumn 2008 forum meetings focused on one of the recommendations arising from the recent scrutiny review of Transport in the Community. This proposed reviewing how the role of the transport forums could be strengthened in their future working with the County Council to identify and respond to local transport needs. The opportunity was also taken to undertake a `health check' on the effectiveness of the forums at this round of meetings.
5.3 Each of the autumn forum meetings received a presentation on Hampshire County Council's role in providing and supporting passenger transport services, the challenges faced in today's climate together with examples of current partnership initiatives. The meetings then split into groups to look at ways in which partnership working could be encouraged and improved through the forum. This exercise was not aimed at identifying specific areas of need but in examining how we can improve the way the forum is used. The groups considered the following questions:
a) What role can the forum play in helping the County Council to identify unmet transport needs?
b) How could the forum help the County Council to promote the existing passenger transport services?
c) What role can the forum members play in helping to deliver services which help to reduce social exclusion?
d) What do you see as the main barriers to improving passenger transport services in your district?
e) What contribution could your organisation make to supporting and developing transport services in the district?
5.4 The exercise has taken place at all of the above forums, with the exception of New Forest and Winchester, where this will be undertaken during January 2009. The results from the forums will be analysed and reported back to the next round of forums together with a proposal on how the forums should operate in the future.
6.1. The recent scrutiny review of Transport in the Community made a number of recommendations for improving passenger transport services in Hampshire and milestones were agreed to measure the progress in responding to these.
6.2. This report outlines progress to date in three key areas of work. Together these are intended to provide the Environment and Transportation Select Committee with the necessary information to monitor progress on those recommendations identified for review at the January 2009 meeting.
Rural Transport Pilots Update January 2009
Service Development and Support (New Forest)
This pilot is looking at ways of developing and supporting the transport provided by voluntary car schemes in the New Forest in order to see whether or not these schemes could provide more journeys in the future.
What has been done?
a) A series of meetings have been held with voluntary car schemes to explore what form support could take
b) Existing car scheme provision and activity largely mapped
c) Survey of volunteer drivers undertaken. Feedback will help to design future volunteer recruitment campaigns
Car-Free Tourism Lyndhurst (New Forest)
This pilot seeks to address travel barriers and reduce congestion for weekend visitors to Lyndhurst who wish to travel by rail.
What has been done?
a) Established a partnership with New Forest District Council, New Forest National Park Authority and South West Trains.
b) Achieved participation from local hoteliers, taxi operators and Wilts & Dorset Bus Company.
c) Launched a scheme for summer weekends which offers free travel for rail ticket holders on special shuttle buses on Sundays, by showing their rail ticket on local service buses on Saturdays, and provides taxi discount vouchers with hotel bookings for Friday nights.
d) Achieved a double page spread in the summer edition of South West Trains' on board magazine e-motion.
e) Arranged for leaflets and posters to be displayed at 45 railway stations.
f) Introduced bus priority and signage on the approach to Lyndhurst.
This pilot has now been completed and is currently being evaluated
Brokerage (Test Valley)
This pilot aims to ensure that people in Test Valley are aware of and able to access local retail at least once a week, make journeys to their local surgery or health centre and travel to the hospitals at Andover and Winchester.
What has been done?
a) A hospital shuttle bus between Winchester and Andover was introduced in June 2008 with partnership funding from Winchester & Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust, Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council.
b) A grant was given to Test Valley Community Services to purchase a single wheelchair accessible vehicle, which will operate in the northern part of Test Valley.
c) The feasibility of extending the existing dial-a-ride service to Andover and the surrounding parishes is being investigated.
d) Investigating the feasibility of the opportunity Travel Centre in the Passenger Transport Group taking over the organisation of the Adult and Children's Services social care transport in Test Valley.
Co-ordination and Vehicle Utilisation (East Hampshire)
This pilot is primarily concerned with improving the utilisation and efficiency of the existing non public transport resources in East Hampshire. In the longer term this could increase the capacity for additional journey opportunities.
What has been done?
a) Mapped existing transport services within the area
b) Discussed the pilot with the health trusts who have agreed to provide necessary trip data
c) Trial run of trip data collection undertaken with providers
d) Collected trip data from providers for two separate seven day periods using a pre designed template
e) Collated the information now being returned by providers and entered this into a database prior to mapping.
Community Based Information (Winchester)
This pilot aims to promote those services that are available locally, those which are brought to the community and those transport services which are available to take people to services beyond that community.
What has been done?
a) Two areas have been selected - the parish of Denmead and a group of parishes - Wickham, Shedfield and Swanmore.
b) Detailed before surveys have been completed for both areas to identify the public's awareness of existing services and sources of information. These have been analysed and reports produced on the results
c) Information leaflets for Denmead and the parishes of Wickham, Shedfield and Swanmore have been produced in conjunction with the local parish councils and circulated to each household
d) Follow-up public survey undertaken in Denmead to determine the effectiveness of the information leaflet. The data from this survey is currently being analyzed
e) Exploratory meetings have taken place to look at the feasibility of developing an electronic template to support any possible roll-out of this pilot.
Wheels To Work
The aim of this pilot is to combine the two existing wheels to work schemes in the New Forest and Test Valley into one scheme and then extend this to cover East Hampshire and Winchester.
What has been done?
a) Tendering process developed and implemented
b) Tenders now returned - first round tender evaluation has taken place with follow up interviews arranged for January 2009.
c) Subject to an acceptable tender and contributions being confirmed by partners, a new contract should commence early in spring 2009.