Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 15th June, 2022 11.00 am

Venue: Malmaison Manchester (1-3 Piccadilly, Manchester, England, M1 3AQ)

Contact: Gary Rich 


No. Item


Welcome & Apologies

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

Lead: Chair

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1.1              The Chair welcomed all in attendance and informed Members that the meeting is being streamed live.  Apologies were received from Cllr Kaushik, Cllr Johnson, Cllr Wearmouth, Cllr Shorrock and Cllr Davison,

The Chair welcomed new Members Cllr Freeson, Cllr Furley and Cllr Hammond.


Declarations of Interest

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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There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2022 and the Consultation Call on 16 March 2022 (including updates on agreed matters as appropriate).

Lead: Chair

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3.1              The minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2022 and the Consultation Call on the Freight and Logistics Strategy on 16 March 2022 were considered and their accuracy as a correct record confirmed. The minutes were proposed by Cllr Salter and seconded by Cllr Fenton.

3.2          Cllr Hughes stated that he had sent apologies for the meeting on the freight strategy.


That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2022 be approved as a true and accurate record and that subject to the inclusion of Cllr Hughes apologies for the consultation call on the Freight and Logistics Strategy on 16 March 2022 that these be approved as a true and accurate record.



Budget and Business Plan 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 253 KB

For Members to receive an update on the budget and business planning process.

Lead: Martin Tugwell

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4.1             Members received the budget and business planning presentation from the Chief Executive and the Finance Director who addressed the key issues within the presentation.  The Chief Executive was keen to stress that this year has been unusual due to receiving the funding letter late and having to understand the implications of it.  He explained that due to this the report has been brought to the Committee at a later stage than usual.


4.2             Cllr Hughes sought clarification on reserve levels and asked if they had been depleted following the payment of one-off costs.


The Finance Director explained that the one-off costs will be drawn from reserves. He further stated that TfN is comfortable with the current and proposed level of reserves over the next three years.


The Chief Executive added that he wants TfN to be in a position where over a three year period the organisation can maintain and remain within the agreed reserve policy allowing for sustainability over the longer term.  The Chief Executive added that, based on a series of planning assumptions, there is anticipated to be a sufficient levels of reserves over the next three years.  This could include factoring in any variances arising from changes to budget assumptions.


4.3             Cllr Salter enquired as to what last year’s budget would have looked like with the responsibilities of the current financial year.


The Finance Director explained that the position last year would broadly have been the same as this year, however last year there was the ability to mitigate some of the costs into the Northern Powerhouse Rail  (NPR) programme and a higher level of reseves. He explained that the budget represents an appropriate costs base to manage the core activities.


Cllr Salter stated that he was satisfied with the approach being taken but was unsure as to the full ramifications of the loss of resources.


Referring to the funding letter, the Chief Executive explained that the letter set out a slight increase in the core funding from the previous year as well as supplying an increase to undertake any functions relating to the co-sponsor role. 


He informed Members that at a recent conference of the seven Sub-national Transport Bodies (STB) the Minister Andrew Stevenson stated that the Ministerial team value the STBs contributions and they are seen as integral to helping the Government with their work.


4.4             Cllr Jones expressed concern with the current situation and questioned the confidence that the Government and Ministers have in TfN.  He stated that the Government’s actions have weakened the organisation and have centralised the decision making process and have cut Transport for the North out.  He suggested that Transport for the North make MPs aware of the strategy that they have for the North and ensure that they have a high profile at the three main political party conferences in the Autumn.


4.5             Cllr Hughes stated that TfN needs to make the case that it is the voice of the North.  He expressed concern at the NPR co-sponsorship  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Strategic Transport Plan Development pdf icon PDF 361 KB

To provide an update on the proposed structure and principles to underpin the development of our second Strategic Transport Plan.

Lead: Lucy Jacques

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5.1             Members received the report and the presentation from the Acting Head of Policy and Strategy.


5.2             Cllr Fenton welcomed the liaison that has taken place with local authorities to date, however expressed concern that only 18 out of the 20 Local Transport Authorities had received one to one sessions and asked for confirmation that the remaining two will be engaged with.


5.3             Cllr Jones suggested that any big government priorities including air quality and pollution as well as climate be linked into everything throughout the document.


5.4             The Chair suggested that a Communications Strategy should be considered as well as requesting that a short term date be set with a suggestion of 2030./He also highlighted the importance of engaging with the energy networks as if this doesn’t take place then TfN will be unaware as to whether they are going to be able to deliver on what is being proposed.


5.5             In response to Members comments and questions the Acting Head of Policy and Strategy explained that meetings had taken place with 19 out of 22 partners and everything possible had been done to try and engage with the other three and all efforts are being made to try and engage with them. 


In relation to the comments from Cllr Jones she explained that Government priorities such as Brexit, net zero, Levelling Up, climate change and the Integrated Rail Plan would all be considered.  On the question relating to a short term date of 2030, she suggested that this could be something discussed with Board later in the month. She stated that a systems based approach is needed to deliver on STP2 with a wider engagement beyond transport as well as engaging other Government departments and not just the DFT.


5.6             The Interim Strategy and Programme Director explained that TfN needs to be strong on the long term vision and actions to be delivered over next 5-10 years particularly those on carbon. He also stated the need to be clear on the uncertainty being faced post covid on the recovery and the future of travel demand.


5.7             Members expressed their concerns on the scrapping of the Golborne Link. The Committee believed that TfN should have been advised about this prior to it being published on the website and requested that any consultation and discussion on alternatives be brought back to Scrutiny. 


5.8             Cllr Fletcher enquired if STP2 will slow down some of the rail projects already underway to resolve the capacity issues that areas of the North are experiencing.  He requested assurance that there would be no delays on proposals that are being developed.  He also requested that the Committee be kept updated on projects that are about to be started in order that the Committee is aware of what is happening where and when.


5.9             Cllr Hughes stated the need for a reliable transport network in the North, and specifically highlighted the poor health of the rail   network.  He suggested that the Committee should be scrutinising the failing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.