The Senior Traffic Commissioner, Beverley Bell, has confirmed the appointment of North East Traffic Commissioner Kevin Rooney as Quality Contracts Scheme (QCS) Board chairman.
The decision comes after a formal written request by PTE Nexus, on behalf of the North East Combined Authority (NECA), was made on 22 October, two days after it decided to go ahead with its proposed Tyne & Wear QCS.
The QCS board is an independent board with a remit to provide an opinion on whether the proposed QCS meets the statutory public interest criteria, and whether due process has been followed. The other two members of the QCS Board, Alan Wann and David Humphrey, were appointed last year.
The role of the QCS board is to review the consultation responses to the proposed QCS. It has the power to hold oral evidence sessions. The following groups can request the opportunity to give oral evidence to the board:
- The local transport authorities proposing the QCS
- Bus operators
- Interested parties not consulted (who the board decide should have been)
- Other interested parties (at the board’s discretion).
Any party seeking an opportunity to give oral evidence must make a request to the QCS board by 11 November. Parties must also provide a summary of the evidence they intend to present. Requests to give oral evidence to the board should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The formal remit of the QCS board is to form an opinion whether the relevant five ‘public interest’ criteria are met and whether the statutory notice and consultation requirements have been met. The criteria state that the proposed scheme will:
- Result in an increase in the use of bus services in the area to which the proposed scheme relates
- Bring benefits to persons using local services in the area to which the proposed scheme relates, by improving the quality of those services
- Contribute to the implementation of the local transport policies of the LTA
- Contribute to the implementation of those policies in a way that is economic, efficient and effective
- Ensure any adverse effects of the proposed scheme will be proportionate to the improvement in the wellbeing of people living or working in the area to which the proposed scheme relates.
If the board’s opinion is that the criteria are not met, or that the notice and consultation requirements have not been followed, it may recommend actions that the authority might take to remedy the situation. The board is required to notify the LTA of its opinion, any recommendations and its reasons, and publish them.
Should the QCS board’s opinion be unfavourable towards the scheme, there is an option for the LTAs to submit a modified proposal to the board for a further opinion. In these circumstances, the QCS Board would be required to respond within four weeks. Although there is no requirement for the QCS board to hold oral evidence sessions it may invite further written and oral evidence.