Agenda and minutes

Transport for the North Board - Tuesday, 25th January, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: The Hacienda Suite, Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre, 25 Aytoun Street, Manchester, M1 3AE

Contact: Gary Rich 


No. Item


Welcome & Apologies (3 mins)

The Chair to welcome Members and the public to the meeting.

Lead: Chair

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1.1          The Chair welcomed Members and apologies were noted from Cllr Lynn Williams, Cllr Brookes, Cllr Little, Cllr Owen, Cllr Tucker, Mayor Driscoll, Cllr Miller, Cllr Les, Cllr Mackenzie, Cllr Waltham, Cllr Hannigan Cllr Aspden, Cllr D’Agorne and Steve Curl. 


Declarations of Interest (2 mins)

Members are required to declare any personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interest they may have relating to items on the agenda and state the nature of such interest.

Lead: Chair

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2.1          There were no Declarations of Interest.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting (5 mins) pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 24th November 2021 (including updates on agreed matters as appropriate).

Lead: Chair

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3.1              Mr Peter Kennan requested that the minutes of the previous meeting reflect the views expressed by the LEPs with regards to the IRP:  in particular the concern of the business community that the IRP was a missed opportunity and support for retaining the ambition that underpins the TfN Board’s preferred NPR network.

3.2          The minutes of the meeting of the Transport for the North Board held on 24 November 2021 were considered.  The minutes were proposed by Mayor Jarvis and seconded by Cllr Hale.

3.3          The Chief Executive updated Members on matters arising from the previous minutes:

·       The Decarbonisation Strategy and Major Roads Report were published in December and were positively received. 

·       TfN had been awarded an additional £336,000 in response to the opportunity to secure additional ‘in-year’ funding.  The Chief Executive explained that this will be allocated as part of the Business Planning process. 

·       The first meeting of the General Purposes Committee is being organised and a meeting date will be sent out shortly.


That the minutes of the Transport for the North Board held on 24 November 2021 be approved as a correct record subject to the inclusion of the view and support of the LEPs for the response to the IRP.



TfN Appointments (10 mins) pdf icon PDF 288 KB

To consider and approve the recommendation of the Member Panel for the Chair of Transport for the North:  to consider and approve the appointment of the S151 Officer.

Lead: Martin Tugwell

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4.1          Members received the report from the Chief Executive.

4.2          The Chair explained the process the Appointment Panel had undertaken in order to make a recommendation to the Board for the role of Chair.

4.3          Board Members thanked the elected Members who had sat on the Panel and the Interim Chair for their hard work and were supportive of the proposed appointment of Lord Patrick McLoughlin as the new Chair of the Board and Partnership Board.  Members believed it to be the right appointment at the right time.

4.4          Mayor Brabin requested information detailing the steps which led from two candidates to the final preferred candidate. She also asked for the probationary objectives to be shared with Members.

4.5          The appointment of Lord Patrick McLoughlin was proposed by Cllr Hale and seconded by Cllr Edwards.

4.6          Members unanimously voted in favour of the appointment of Lord Patrick McLoughlin as the new Chair of the Transport for the North Board and Partnership Board.




1)   That the Board approves the appointment of Lord McLoughlin, the Appointment Panel’s recommended candidate, as the Chair of the TfN Partnership Board from 26 January 2022;

2)   That the Board notes that in approving this candidate, Lord McLoughlin is by operation of the Sub-national Transport Body (Transport for the North) Regulations 2018 co-opted to the TfN Board;

3)   That the Board approves the appointment of Lord McLoughlin, the Appointment Panel’s recommended candidate, as the Chair of the TfN Board from 26 January 2022;

4)   That the Board notes the formal start date for the Chair and support to be provided by TfN officers;

5)   That the Board approves that the Vice Chairs with the support of TfN’s CEO agree Lord McLoughlin’s probationary objectives and monitor performance.

4.7          The Chief Executive informed Members that Mr. Iain Craven (the current Finance Director and S151 Officer) is leaving Transport for the North in March.  He took the opportunity to thank him for all his hard work on behalf of TfN, highlighting the key role that Mr. Craven had played in establishing TfN.  In addition, he expressed a personal thank you for the support he had received from Mr. Craven since joining TfN last August.   

He explained that having considered the requirements of the role it was clear that the current Finance Controller Mr. Paul Kelly has the requisite experience, skills and qualifications to fulfil the role.  It was on this basis that Mr. Kelly was recommended as Interim Finance Director for an initial 6 months.  This arrangement would help with continuity during the transition post-IRP.  Subject to the Board agreeing the recommendation, arrangements were in hand to ensure that the Financial Controller post is to be back-filled.

4.8          Members echoed the sentiments of the Chief Executive and thanked the Finance Director for all his help hard work and support.

4.9          The appointment of Mr. Paul Kelly as Interim Finance Director (S151 Officer) was proposed by Cllr Mundry and seconded by Cllr Swinburn. 

4.10       The Board voted unanimously to appoint  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Integrated Rail Plan (25 mins) pdf icon PDF 368 KB

To consider and approve TfN’s submission to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee: to receive further advice on the implications of the IRP.

Lead: Tim Foster

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5.1          Members received the report from the Strategy and Programme Director.

5.2          The Chair informed Members that the Department had published the day before a document setting out the technical evidence that it had used in determining the IRP.   

5.3          The Chief Executive highlighted to the Board that he was proposing an additional recommendation to the report that would confirm his authority to use his delegated powers to enable an orderly transition on those areas of work identified as needing to transfer to the Department for Transport.  He drew the Board’s attention to the fact that he would be engaging with the Department to ensure the roles and rights of staff affected by the transition are protected: this would be secured through the application of TUPE.  He also highlighted that he had received a request from the Department for two secondments and that he was progressing those with a view to enabling them to happen.

5.4          He restated the point made at the previous meeting that the Department has been clear throughout the process that Transport for the North’s role and functions as a statutory Subnational Transport Authority are not affected by the change in NPR working arrangements.

5.5          Before outlining the key points within the report, the Strategy and Programme Director gave Members his initial views on the technical annex released by the DfT.  He explained that the information that had been provided was less detailed than had been anticipated and that TfN would be requesting the Department to confirm whether there is more technical detail that can be shared for a full assessment to take place. 

He explained that the information in the technical evidence had not taken into account the wider economic and social aspects of the investment.  He advised that a more substantive assessment of the technical annex evidence would be provided to Board in March. 

5.6          The Chair asked Members to focus their comments on the draft submission to the Transport Select Committee, a draft of which had been included in the papers and which needed to be submitted in the next couple of days.  She expressed her disappointment at the lack of detail in the information that the DfT had provided and highlighted the fact that the Board’s advice has always been evidence driven.

5.7          Members echoed the disappointment of the Chair at the lack of detail in the information that had been released by the DfT.  A common concern was that decisions had been narrowly focused on costs and that wider considerations of economic, social and environmental benefits had not been taken into account:  Board members observed that this seem to be a missed opportunity given the context of the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.  

5.8          Members suggested a number of additions that would strengthen the submission to the Select Committee. The Board stressed the importance of focusing on the need for additional capacity, to accommodate additional demand (both passenger and freight).  On this issue Cllr Hale specifically raised the importance of electrification  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Budget and Business Planning (25 mins) pdf icon PDF 400 KB

To consider and approve Budget Revision 3:  to receive an update on TfN’s core funding and consider the implications for TfN.

Lead: Paul Kelly

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6.1          Members received the report of the Finance Director who highlighted the key elements of the report.

6.2          The Chair expressed concern that the TfN has not yet received a funding settlement and the impact that this is having on the lives of Officers. 

6.3          The Chief Executive noted that the DfT has restated that TfN’s role as a statutory body and the duties that the organisation needs to fulfil remain the same; however, the funding has not yet been allocated to reflect this commitment. 

He also expressed concern as to the impact that this uncertainty is having on the ability of TfN to deliver its agreed work programme, as well as the impact it is having on the health and well-being of the staff.   With this in mind he proposed an additional recommendation to the paper: namely that the Chair write to the Secretary of state requesting an urgent meeting be set up so this issue can be addressed. [A draft of the letter had been tabled prior to the meeting.]

6.4          Members expressed their support for the staff and their increasing concern about the impact the uncertainty was having.  In addition, they flagged their concern about the potential loss of knowledge should they move on due to the lack of certainty.

Members suggested that they would raise their concerns during upcoming individual meetings with the Secretary of State.

6.5          Mr. Ben Smith stated that the Department understands the need for the funding situation to be resolved as soon as possible and that this has also been made clear to Ministers. He explained that the Secretary of State was keen to meet with the new Chair and understood that the issue of funding would be discussed at this meeting.  He also confirmed that none of the Sub National Transport bodies had received notification of their funding: the meeting noted that unlike other STBs, TfN as a statutory body has to set a funded budget before the end of the financial year.


1)   That the current uncertainty in relation to TfN’s financial position and the steps taken in mitigation be noted;

2)   That the commencement and completion of the required TUPE process with the DfT in relation to posts funded through Transport Development fund be approved;

3)   That the financial performance in the nine-month period to December 2021 be noted and that the Revision 3 Budget be approved;

4)   That the current risk position be noted and the deferral of the Corporate Risk Register report until the Board meeting in June 2022 be approved.

That the Interim Chair write to the Secretary of State seeking an urgent meeting to resolve the uncertainty regarding TFN’s core funding.


Rail Investment Planning Update (10 mins) pdf icon PDF 519 KB

To consider and approve TfN’s response to the consultation on the Whole Industry Strategic Plan (WISP): to receive an update on the Rail National Enhancement Plan (RNEP):  to consider the need for work in respect of the East Coast Main Line, and between Leeds and Sheffield.

Lead: David Hoggarth

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7.1          Members received the report from the Strategic Rail Director who outlined the key points in the report.


7.2          Members discussed a variety of issues including the East Coast Mainline, Liverpool Central station and the Skipton to Colne link.


In relation to the East Coast Mainline Mr. Peter Kennan highlighted the importance of services that are currently suspended due to Covid continuing to be treated as part of the substantive timetable.  He stressed the importance of not assuming that because a service had been suspended it was necessarily of a lower value than those services kept running.  He accepted that there was a need to review services overall in light of the changes in circumstances, but this needed to be based on the substantive timetable.

The Chief Executive noted that any review of the timetable needed to take into account shifts in demand that had taken place as a result of wider changes post-pandemic: it was not necessarily the case that what was had before was needed moving forward.



1)   That the progress with development of the case for capacity upgrades to the East Coast Main Line, impact of the Integrated Rail Plan and pending update of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline be noted;

2)   That Board supports the proposal to create a collaborative working model for development of the infrastructure for the East Coast Main Line north of York, on the same model successfully being used in Manchester including a ‘Blueprint’ to identify a co-ordinated long-term service and infrastructure solution to deliver the capacity and connectivity required across the North and to advise the Department for Transport and Network Rail that this is our view;

That Board supports the need for the study identified in the IRP in relation to connectivity between Sheffield and Leeds to be taken forward at pace;


Rail Business Planning (10 mins) pdf icon PDF 378 KB

To receive an update on progress with short term rail service business planning, in the context of an update on the strength of the recovery of rail in the North.

Lead: David Hoggarth

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8.1          Members received the report from the Strategic Rail Director who outlined the points in the report.

8.2          During the discussion of this item the meeting became inquorate.

8.3          Mayor Burnham expressed concern about elements of the report which he took as indicating the need for further reductions in services (compared with the base-line timetable) in subsequent financial years (years 2 and 3 of the current business planning round).

Concern was also expressed as what the requirement for workforce modernisation might mean in terms of the customer experience: both he and Members are worried about the potential for changes to impact on public confidence including the sense of safety as a result of this. 

8.4          Mayor Brabin supported Mayor Burnham’s comments: in doing so she flagged the strength of the rail recovery in the North post-pandemic, noting that the recovery was consistently stronger and faster than the national average.

8.5          Mr. Peter Kennan requested that the scope of the paper be made wider and that all partners involved in TfN are engaged with and not just those in the Rail North Partnership.

8.6          When looking at the need for efficiencies Cllr Robinson suggested that it was appropriate to consider the scope for reforms to the rolling stock leasing industry as an opportunity that needed to be explored.  He suggested that Officers should do a piece of work on this matter.  In noting the point made by Cllr Robinson the Chief Executive asked for the Board to bear in mind the current situation and the implications this has on committing to additional work in the short term.

8.7          Cllr Mundry raised the issue of lack of infrastructure investment, and in particular highlighting the importance of having a degree of certainty in the short/medium term: this would provide local partners (and potential investors) with greater confidence to plan their own investment.


1)   That the Board welcomes the strong recovery in rail passenger numbers in the North, noting that this is significantly higher than the national average;

2)   That the Board supports the argument that the strength of the North’s rail market should be a key consideration for Government when considering the allocation of future funding to support growth in rail patronage;

3)   The Board welcomes the work of the Rail North Committee in supporting the Rail North Partnership through the business planning process as a means of enabling the North’s priorities to be taken into account;

4)   That officers undertake work on the way rolling stock is leased and financed with a view to identifying alternative savings the industry could make;

Board would oppose future reductions in services and staffing levels given the service reductions already applied in the December 22 timetable and the need for a growing railway in the north to support the recovery and TfN’s objectives.


Union Connectivity Review (15 mins) pdf icon PDF 644 KB

To consider and agree TfN’s response to the publication of the report.

Lead: Tim Foster

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9.1          Members received the report from the Strategy and Programme Director who took the report as read.

9.2          Mayor Burnham noted that the HS2 Phase 2B Bill had recently been deposited in Parliament and expressed his concern that the Union Connectivity Review undermines the HS2 Bill in relation to the Goldborne Link.  He requested that the Chief Executive seek clarity on this issue.  Cllr Edwards was in agreement on this issue and welcomed any clarity that could be obtained.


1)   That Board welcomes the publication of the Union Connectivity Review;

2)   That Board agrees to use the Strategic Transport Plan and its supporting evidence base as the basis for engaging with the Department for Transport as the Government develops its response;

3)   That an early discussion be sought with Transport Scotland with a view to identifying how both organisations work on improving strategic connectivity;

4)   That an early discussion be sought with Transport for Wales with a view to identifying how both organisations might build on joint working through the West and Wales partnership to improve strategic connectivity.



Strategic Transport Plan Policy Development (10 mins) pdf icon PDF 342 KB

To consider and agree TfN policy positions in respect of Active Travel and Multi-Modal Hubs.

Lead: Tim Foster

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This item was deferred until the Board Consultation call on 23 February 2022.