Graham Vidler: ‘We need to ready ourselves now for changed operating conditions in the future’

CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler elaborates on the recent announcement made regarding a restructuring of the trade association

I know coach and bus operators have been working hard to try and ensure that, despite their finances being severely impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, they emerge in a robust and strong position for the future. Working with the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Council and my executive team, I have been undertaking the same process for CPT.

Given the impact the pandemic has had on the sector, we are forecasting material reductions in our future subscription and commercial income next year and beyond coupled with reduced opportunities to grow our membership. Just like our members, we need to ready ourselves now for changed operating conditions in the future.

We have responded promptly by implementing measures to reduce our non-staff costs and used the furlough scheme while it is available. We were already due to leave our Chancery House office when our lease expires at the end of March 2021 and we are now seeking, and close to finalising, a new office. In line with business needs and the clear view of CPT Council this will still be within central London.

I expect that relocation to give us a six-figure annual saving, and in addition we will seek to maintain the substantial reductions in travel and office services costs we are currently benefitting from. We need to go further though to ready the organisation. And to that end, I have been reviewing the structure of the organisation in order to make sure we can continue to best serve our members as the industry does all it can to minimise the impact of the pandemic.

Regrettably, we are therefore now consulting with staff on a reorganisation proposal which we expect to lead to a small number of posts being made redundant.

The proposal – fully backed by CPT Council – will see us adding to our national policy and lobbying capability while introducing a streamlined structure across the English regions and Wales. In making any changes we will use the lessons learned during the lockdown period to ensure that membership services and member access to advice and information is not compromised in any way.

By taking this action I am now confident that we can start to build a strong base for our future, which can be added to as and when circumstances allow.

As conversations with affected staff are now underway, you will appreciate that we are unable to comment further at this stage on possible implications for regional and national staff. However, we will provide an update as soon as we are able to.

CPT is a great team and these are not changes I want to make. But they are changes I need to make to ensure CPT is best placed to meet the challenges ahead. Our industry has overcome challenges before, and these changes will ensure that CPT will remain ready to help it do so again.