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29th CfIT plenary meeting - 22 January 2004

Agenda

1: High Speed Rail

2: CfIT Review: Presentation by David Begg on the key outcomes of the review

3: 2004 Work Programme:

4: Working Methods: Discussion on CfIT's working methods post review

The following papers will be taken as read:

5: CfIT response to Scottish Executive Consultation on Scotland's Transport

Minutes

Present:

Professor David Begg, Sir Trevor Chinn, Neil Betteridge, Lawrence Christensen, Stewart Francis, Helen Holland, Stephen Joseph, David Leeder, Lilli Matson, Sir Roy McNulty, Sir Bill Morris, Mike Parker, Michael Roberts, Archie Robertson, Baroness Ros Scott, Neil Scales.

Paul Collins, Andy Braithwaite, Steve Guyon, Richard Mace, David Prescott (observer), Katie Allister (observer).

Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Richard Bowker and Sir Michael Hodgkinson.

1. High Speed Rail

1.1 CfIT commissioned research to investigate whether Britain's failure to invest in high speed rail results from differences in appraisal and decision making processes and criteria, or differences in transport markets or other factors, which means that high speed rail is of less benefit in Britain than other countries; and to make recommendations on how, if at all, Britain's appraisal criteria and processes could be changed to better capture the costs and benefits of high speed rail.

1.2 Members discussed the draft CfIT report, which would be amended to reflect their comments. The report would be published in February with a press notice and Fact Sheet.

Action: Secretariat to amend the CfIT covering report in accordance with members' comments. Publication in February with a press notice.

2. CfIT Review

2.1 The Secretary of State had accepted in full the recommendations made in the review of CfIT by Charles Rice and had published the report on 15 December. The Chair presented the highlights of Charles Rice's review, including stakeholder feedback and recommendations on CfIT's future working methods (Highlights of the CfIT Review).

2.2 The outcome of the review means that CfIT will retain its responsibility for advising Government on future transport policy options, the potential for new technology, the identification of best practice in transport and on transport issues which cross departmental boundaries; retain responsibility for refreshing and informing the transport debate through its published reports and other work; and no longer have the role of monitoring and reviewing the achievement of the 10 Year Plan.

2.3 Members commented that the loss of the monitoring role would give CfIT more freedom and allow the Commission to be more forward looking - to the ten to twenty year horizon. It would also help clarify what immediate or future work should be undertaken. It was agreed that CfIT would need to continue to comment on government policy and progress on delivery as appropriate in looking to future policy development but not in a formal annual report as previously.

3. CfIT 2004-05 Work Programme

3.1 Members each gave a short presentation on three topics they saw as key priorities for inclusion in the future work programme. It was agreed that two projects were essential and should be taken forward as soon as possible - CfIT input to the recently announced Rail Review and Integration of transport objectives into policy making across Government Departments. It was agreed that CfIT should concentrate initially on the six highest priority topics.

4. Working Methods

4.1 Internal Communications
Members considered the public role of the Chair in the light of the CfIT review, that suggested the Chair should represent the views of the Commission when he spoke on its behalf. [Note - Section 8.2.2 (Sensitivity of CfIT's Public Role) in the Rice Report states 'In recommending that CfIT should continue its public role of refreshing the debate, .CfIT's spokesmen should be guided by the broad principle that their mandate to comment publicly is derived from their Board and therefore relates to those issues on which the Board has expressed a view']. Members agreed that, in the past, the Chair had been successful in representing CfIT's views in his public appearances. In order to fully absorb the views of all CfIT members, it was agreed that CfIT's media adviser would attend all future plenaries to ensure that the views of members could be better reflected in media material.

Action: CfIT's media adviser to attend all future plenaries.

4.2 Members discussed their internal communications strategy, focussing on how they might be better informed of CfIT media coverage. The media adviser would submit a report to each plenary comprising full CfIT media coverage and the Chair's media activities during the last two months.

Action: CfIT media adviser to submit a media report to each plenary.

4.3 The Secretariat would circulate a short update of all ongoing work to each plenary to keep members informed of progress on individual projects.

Action: Secretariat to deliver a progress report on work-in-progress to future plenaries.

4.4 As a matter of course, the Secretariat would circulate copies of all CfIT press notices to members (as happens currently). Where possible, press notices would be sent prior to publication. In addition, the Secretariat would seek to enhance internal communications by investigating the practicality of circulating press cuttings and transcripts of media appearances. It was agreed to drop the Newsletter.

Action: Secretariat to circulate copies of CfIT press releases.

Action: Secretariat to investigate the practicality of circulating press cuttings and media transcripts.

4.5 Members discussed the interface between working groups and the plenary session. Members identified a need for non-working group members to be kept informed of progress. The Plenary reports on ongoing work and media coverage would help to fill this gap. It was agreed that each working group should be given its own terms of reference by plenary at the start of the project.

Action: Secretariat to prepare WG terms of reference for approval by plenary.

4.6 In formulating the make-up of working groups, both members and the secretariat agreed that it would be helpful to undertake a skills audit of all Commission members. The majority of members possessed experience in a wide range of sectors.

Action: Secretariat to prepare and circulate a pro forma.

Action: Secretariat to formulate an internal communications strategy.

4.7 External Communications
Members went on to discuss their public profile. Media coverage to date had tended to interpret CfIT advice as the views of the Chair rather than the Commission as a whole. The Secretariat would consider the feasibility of raising the profile of the CfIT membership.

Action: Secretariat to consider and report back to Members.

4.8 Members were keen to revitalise the contact programme, meeting more regularly with a smaller number of key stakeholders.

Action: Secretariat to prepare a paper for the next meeting identifying CfIT's core stakeholders.

4.9 Several options were identified for enhancing stakeholder relations and to develop closer working relationships between CfIT and key stakeholders.

Action: Secretariat to formulate an external communications strategy.

5. The following paper was noted and approved

CfIT response to Scottish Executive Consultation on Scotland's Transport.

Date of Next Meeting

The next plenary meeting would be held on Thursday 18 March.