Toggle menu

Budget Proposal 2024/25: Reduce contributions to community transport

Have your say.

Consultation status Results published
Start date: 2023-11-27
End date: 2024-01-11
Results 2024-02-29
Category:
Ward:

Activity closed. Results published.

Balanced scales

Background

Community transport is a not-for-profit local passenger transport service, which is often, but not always, run by volunteers. There are 14 community transport operators in West Berkshire, collectively providing minibus and car scheme operations to residents across the district. 

Details on the community transport organisations can be found here.

12 of these operators apply for annual revenue grant funding from West Berkshire Council. The available annual revenue grant is distributed by formula to operators, with each one receiving an initial base payment reflecting their operating model. The remainder of the grant is distributed based upon the number of single passenger journeys provided by the operators in the previous year. In 2022/23, the number of single passenger journeys was 34,229.

Since 2019/20, the total available revenue grant has been set at £55,280 per year. Capital community transport grant funding of £50,000 is also made available on alternate years to assist operators with capital assets, including vehicles, and is due in 2024/25.

All grants issued over £5,000 are accompanied by a Service Level Agreement, which sets out the expectations between the service provider and the council and describes the services to be delivered.


Legislation Requirements

Local authorities don't have a statutory duty with regard to providing, or funding, community transport. Nevertheless, they do have a duty under section 63(1)(a) of the Transport Act 1985 to: 

"...secure the provision of such public passenger transport services as the council consider it appropriate to secure to meet any public transport requirements within the county which would not in their view be met apart from any action taken by them for that purpose".


What we are proposing

To reduce the annual funding for community transport operator revenue grants by £10,000, from £55,280 to £45,280 from 2024/25.

The available community transport capital grant is unaffected by this proposal.


What we think the impact will be

Community transport plays an important role in providing assistance to residents who cannot access other passenger transport services due to mobility or isolation. A high proportion of users are of older age and/or with disabilities.

With an overall reduction in the revenue grant, there is a risk that some operators may need to request higher contributions from their service users. There is also a possibility that some services may no longer be financially viable and could be withdrawn.

This would affect residents who use community transport services for getting to health services, support groups, shops, education or leisure activities.

Residents could become isolated, which may impact their health and well-being and potentially lead to an increase in demand on more costly social care resources.

Community transport operators can register on our Dynamic Purchasing System to consider bidding for contracted home to school and social care transport services.

Icon for pdf Please refer to the Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) for more details. [33KB]


What else we have considered before arriving at our proposal

An option was considered to remove the community transport operator revenue grant in full, but this was rejected due to the expected scale of impact on residents.


Why we want your views

We would like to know how this proposal might impact you and the wider community, and any views you have on how we can minimise the impact of this proposed change, if the decision is taken to proceed with it.


How to take part

If you'd like to comment on this proposal, please complete our survey by midnight on Thursday, 11 January 2024. It should take about 10 minutes. 

If you have any questions about the consultation, please email our Transport Services Team at environmentconsult@westberks.gov.uk.

For general enquiries about Community Transport, please visit our webpage.


What happens next

All the feedback we receive will be taken into consideration, and a final decision whether to proceed with this proposal will be made by elected Members at the Full Council Meeting to be held on Thursday, 29 February 2024.

If the decision is made to proceed with this proposal, the reduced community transport operator revenue grant budget will be adopted from April 2024.

 

Back to the main Budget Proposal page.

What you told us

In total, 84 responses were received through the survey, although 13 were clearly aimed at ‘restructure funding for Adult Social Care transport services’ and have therefore been included within the paperwork for that proposal. We also received direct responses from Reading West & Mid Berkshire CLP and Newbury CLP and Tilehurst Parish Council. We received no petitions.


A summary of the responses received is included in the agenda papers for each public meeting.

What we did

The budget for 2024/25 will be considered by councillors at the Executive meeting on Thursday, 8 February 2024, and then by Full Council on Thursday, 29 February 2024. It will also be discussed by members of the Special Scrutiny Commission on Tuesday, 6 February 2024.

All meetings will be open to the public and residents can attend either in person at the Market Street Offices or virtually.

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email