Main Committee Meeting: 09 June 2010
Officials/Guests in attendance:
Helen Mason - DPTAC Sponsorship
Mark Dyer - Olympic Delivery Authority
Sarah Varnham - Olympic Delivery Authority
Judith Ballantine - MACS
Joanne Ward - ODI
Ann Bates - DPTAC Member
Helen Smith - DPTAC Member
Gavin Hamilton - DRDI
Bill Brash - MACS
Chairs Opening Remarks - Welcome and Introduction
1. The Chair opened the meeting by welcoming those attending.
2. Apologies were given as shown.
3. The Minutes of the last meeting were approved and agreement was given for them to be published on the DPTAC Website.
4. Action points were discussed. The outstanding issues were:
- The Chair was in discussion with DfT Rail regarding roles and responsibilities.
- The Secretariat apologised for not sending out the paper on low floor chassis's but would do so following the meeting.
5. The Chair introduced the paper relating to possible key topics to be discussed with new DfT Ministers and agreed to consider any issues raised. The following comments were made:
- The future of DPTAC would now be high on the agenda.
- The issue of low floor chassis's should be included (it was later confirmed that this was already an item included on the list of priorities).
- Joined up journeys, providing a seamless journey, both on individual modes and cross modal.
- Rail issues were currently listed under the second meeting with Ministers. A request was made for this to be given higher priority, especially given the current uncertainty of the Access for All Scheme.
- Although Mobility Vehicles were listed as a priority for the first meeting, it was requested that this be expanded to include the recent of issue of Vehicles being banned on trams (currently in the North West, but to consider any ramifications nationwide).
- Better communication on flights, including the use of subtitles, free telephone lines and better use of texts and emails.
6. The Chair asked Members to consider the DPTAC Training Framework and whether it should be updated and re-launched. MACS were already considering a 'Scottish' version of the document, and as such there was an opportunity to liaise and issue in tandem. Members were in agreement that this should be taken forward.
7. The Secretariat raised the issue of Hotel bookings. There had been a few incidents recently where reservations had been difficult to obtain, sometimes due to late notification, sometimes because the Secretariat had been unable to secure Government rates. The Secretariat had a duty to find the hotel with the best value for money, and as such it continually sought to expand its list of appropriate hotels to afford the best selection. The Secretariat would endeavour to place a Member in the hotel of choice, but it was not always possible. It remained the duty of each Member to inform the Secretariat as early as possible of their overnight needs - this would enable the best opportunity of getting the hotel of choice and at the best price.
8. It was agreed, for the remainder of 2010, the Secretariat would book those Members who usually require an overnight stay for Main Committee, COG and Working Group Meetings now. The Secretariat would let Members know when this was done and it would then be for Members to inform the Secretariat if their rooms needed to be cancelled.
9. Any other Member who had overnight requirements should contact the Secretariat as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made.
10. Two Members were due to attend a DfT sub group meeting on Shared Space (17 June). In preparation for this meeting, this was an opportunity for Members to inform the discussion. The following comments were made:
- A need to ensure that when designing, disabled and older people were not discouraged from using the area.
- To provide a high level list of simple outcomes, that would help inform local authority traffic engineers to provide the most suitable space.
- Ensure that proper and full consultation took place, including with all local disability groups.
- Ensure that local people had a voice, there was currently a perception that local authorities would take forward proposals regardless of local views and concerns.
- Consideration of optimum traffic speeds and traffic flows. Difficulties were compounded if Shared Space was introduced in areas with high traffic flows and where vehicle speeds exceeded 20mph.
- A need to ensure that where introduced, consideration was given to drop off areas e.g. if no pavement existed, the gradients of taxi ramps might be too steep. This also applied to buses and community transport vehicles.
- A need to set minimum requirements, but within an agreed set of parameters.
- A need to move away from the car being the dominant factor.
- Poor town planning causing difficulties with users in determining priorities, car versus pedestrian. Cyclists yet to be considered as part of any discussion.
- Concern was raised with regard to the current guidance issued by CABE. It was published without much consultation (it was later confirmed that CABE were reconsidering the document).
- A need to remember the environment, to make Shared Space visually attractive.
- A need to ensure that safety issues were properly considered.
- To reconsider the DPTAC statement on Shared Space after the publication of DfT research.
- It was agreed to bring the topic back to Main Committee in spring 2011 (following publication of DfT research).
Head of Sponsorship - Introduction and Post Election issues
11. The Head of Sponsorship gave a talk about post election issues. The discussion included details of the new Ministerial team and their responsibilities. It also included details of DfT's contribution to the deficit. DfT had identified £683m towards the £6bn deficit to March 2011 - this included to £309m in grants to local authorities, £108m in grants to TfL and £100m from Network Rail. Other savings related to Departmental running costs.
12. It was also confirmed that there was a recruitment freeze across Government, including NDPB's. The only exceptions were front line services.
13. The Head of Sponsorship also made reference to the forthcoming Public Bodies Bill, which included a complete review and assessment of NDPB's. There would be a need for close working between Sponsorship and the Chair to ensure that DPTAC's needs were represented.
14. The Head of Sponsorship confirmed that an early meeting with the Minister would be sought.
15. Members made the following comments:
- The Chair had already written to the Head of Sponsorship requesting information as it became known with regard to recruitment and any decisions likely to affect DPTAC. Also to ensure that any cuts are not disproportionate.
- With regard to the cuts to TfL there was concern as to the effects this might have on the budgets of Dial a Ride and the Taxicard system. A Member was able to confirm that as it currently stood, these budgets would remain, subject to ongoing review, with any increase limited to inflation only.
Presentation - Olympic Delivery Authority
16. A presentation was given by the Principal Access Officer at the Olympic Delivery Authority. The following points were made.
- DPTAC were thanked for their response to the recent ODA consultation. It was hoped that a formal response would be published in the next 6-8 weeks.
- Rail issues were being progressed including staff training.
- Engagement with local disability groups within the 5 London Boroughs - engagement would continue but progress was slow due to limited resources at local authority level.
- In discussion with ATOC about an improved booking service - testing likely to start over the next 12 months.
- By 2012 there would be 65 stations that were step free (Kings Cross would be step free in the next 2 months). Work would then commence on level access at platform/train level.
- There was a bus meeting scheduled for 10 June 2010, issues to be discussed included, the promotion of the bus network, the maximisation of the use of buses at key areas, and particularly where no step free access on the rail/underground network was available, e.g. Lords Cricket Ground.
- Dial-a-Ride would not be used at the Olympics as there was no spare capacity.
- ODA were looking to provide a map that would be used for pedestrians and cyclists to and from venues - routes were still being identified.
- A training programme for taxis was due to be rolled out.
- Blue Badge spaces around the venues would be limited and 'close' parking even more limited. There were also security issues that needed to be considered for those parking close to venues.
- Badges from outside the UK were an issue yet to be resolved.
- A Blue Badge on its own would not be sufficient to secure a space on the day. Likely an additional parking permit would be needed which would be supplied with the competition ticket. This would also help prevent abuse.
17. Members then made the following comments:
- Would there be additional accessible toilets and changing facilities available at or near Olympic venues. The ODA responded that no new or additional facilities had been planned as there was no space to do so. The ODA would however provide details of what was currently available.
- What plans were there for other communication systems, e.g. for the deaf and visually impaired? This would be particularly important when/if there were any last minute changes to information. The ODA agreed that this was very important, and would be working on other messaging systems, but to date tackling the issues around wheelchair access had taken priority.
- The issue of Scooter use was discussed, especially as their use was becoming more and more popular. The ODA confirmed that there were currently no plans to ban the use of Scooters, but there was a need to recognise that Scooter size and associated stability issues would be a challenge to accommodate e.g. access to DLR lifts, and wheelchair spaces on public transport.
- Little information was as yet available into any work to address issues should a journey go wrong, e.g. if trains were diverted to an inaccessible station. What mechanisms would be put in place in order to allay any such concerns? The ODA were very aware of these issues and the volume of assistance needed not just for scheduled journeys but also to accommodate any difficulties that might arise. The ODA recognised this as a huge challenge, but were confident that a co-ordinated approach would allow these challenges to be met.
- Continuing the theme of assistance, it was further asked about managing the sheer number of people that were on foot, what work had been done to date to provide the appropriate level of assistance. The ODA had already undertaken some modelling work on crowd flows across all venues. Pedestrian flows would be managed to ensure that there was no overcrowding at stations and to ensure that staffing levels were suitable.
- The issue of a seamless journey was raised including where this involved either different modes, or the same modes but with different operators. Again, this was something currently being considered, improvements to the booking service may alleviate some of the concerns, but it was also recognised that services needed to be increased during the Games period to deal with capacity issues.
- The question of those in London who needed to travel but who were not going to the Games, how were these people being factored in the overall numbers? The ODA confirmed that modelling would include non spectators and contingencies would be put in place and activated as necessary e.g. additional shuttle buses.
- The use of temporary ramps at stations, how long would these be in place after the Olympics? And what were the reasons for not making them permanent? The ODA explained that permanent ramps were made from glass reinforced concrete, which was too expensive to use to accommodate the needs of the Olympics. The temporary ramps would be constructed from wood, making them only suitable as a temporary measure. The length of time they would be in place following the Olympics had yet to be decided, but it was likely (although unable to confirm) that they would remain in place for a time after the event.
1.Minutes of meeting held on 23 March to be placed on DPTAC website. Owner: Secretariat.
2.Continuing discussion with DfT Rail on roles and responsibilities. Owner: Chair.
3.Paper on low floor chassis to be circulated to all Members. Owner: Secretariat.
4.Reconsider priorities to Ministers in the light of discussion at Main Committee. Owner: Chair and COG Members.
5.Consider re-launch of Training Framework. Owner: Secretariat (in liaison with MACS).
6.Hotel bookings - members to notify Secretariat of hotel needs between now and end of 2012. Bookings to be taken asap. Owner: Members/Secretariat.
7.To consider amendment to Shared Space statement in Spring 2011. Owner: PM Chair and PM Working Group.
8.To revisit Shared Space issue as a Main Agenda item following publication of DfT Report - spring 2011. Owner: -
9.To seek early meeting with DfT Minister. Owner: DfT Sponsorship.