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In July 2014 The Chamberlain Files reported on the establishment of a new transport authority for the entire Birmingham city region.

[“Why we should welcome the West Midlands ITA… almost as much as today’s HS2 news”, Paul Dale, 21 Jul 2014 ]

Most people, with the exception of train spotters and bus enthusiasts, will probably have missed a small moment of history last week as leaders of the seven West Midlands councils gathered for the first meeting of the Integrated Transport Authority (ITA).

The ITA has been around in draft form for a few months, but the organisation is now up and running and should bring a welcome new strategic direction to planning major transport projects.

Unlike the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority, the ITA’s slimmed down membership consists of the region’s top local politicians. It is essentially a cabinet of the council leaders.

WMPTA’s members were chiefly backbench councillors with an interest in transport, which meant that any major decisions taken had to be rubber-stamped by the region’s seven cabinets in a time-consuming and unpredictable process.

Given its make-up, WMPTA was fond of eking out transport schemes on a pro-rata basis for each of the councils, rather than setting its sights on a smaller number of strategically important schemes.

The idea of an ITA, much pushed by Birmingham council leader Sir Albert Bore, is that decisions can be taken more quickly and priorities drawn more appropriately by the region’s council leaders working together.

The ITA essentially lays down policy to Centro, the West Midlands Passenger Executive.
[…]
And on an austerity note, the ITA members granted themselves allowances at the princely sum of £1 a month. Cllr Lawrence explained that legislation meant that integrated transport authorities had to have an allowances scheme, but he advised members not to bother claiming their £12 a year.

The actuality is quite different. Under the provisions of the Local Transport Act 2008, Passenger Transport Authorities (PTAs) were renamed as Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs). So, the West Midlands ITA existed before July 2014. What has changed, is its membership.

The old unwieldy 27-member ITA has not gone away; it was, in effect, simply renamed the ‘Centro Joint Members Committee’ and the new ITA has delegated most of its nominal activity to the CJMC. It’s pretty much business, and expenses, as usual.

[Wolverhampton city council]

Appendix 2

CENTRO MEMBERS – SCHEME OF DELEGATION

A. The following functions of WMITA will be referred to the Centro Members in order for them to make recommendations to the new ITA for decision:

• Securing appropriate level of rail services through rail devolution.

• Oversee Centro’s input into policies for the promotion and encouragement of safe, efficient and economic transport facilities and services for inclusion in the Local Transport Plan.

• The Centro elements of the WMITA’s revenue budget and Levy

B. The following functions of the new ITA will be delegated to Centro Members subject to Centro Members exercising these functions in accordance with any transport policies of the ITA, the Local Transport Plan and the ITA’s agreed transport budgets:

• Formulating general policies with respect to the availability and convenience of public passenger services pursuant to Sections 9A(5)-(7) of the Transport Act 1968;

• Monitoring and overseeing the activities and performance of Centro (including the power pursuant to Section 15(6) of the Transport Act 1968 to give to Centro such directions as appear to Centro Members to be appropriate to secure the policy objectives of the new ITA.

• Ensuring that Centro secures the provision of appropriate public passenger transport services under Section 9A(3) of the Transport Act 1968;

• Considering and approving the creation and development of:-

Quality Contracts and Quality Partnership Schemes under Sections 114-123 of the Transport Act 2000;

Ticketing Schemes under Sections 135-138 of the Transport Act 2000; and

Concessionary Travel Schemes under Sections 93-104 of the Transport Act 1985;

• Determining what local bus information should be made available, and the way in which it should be made available under Sections 139-143 of the Transport Act 2000.

• Ensuring that Centro implements those actions delegated to it for promoting the economic, social and environmental well-being of the West Midlands under Section 99 of the Local Transport Act 2008.

• Monitoring the new ITA’s transport budget pursuant to Section 15A(2) of the Transport Act 1968.

• Approving Centro minor works capital programme and the agreed Centro budget for the scheme concerned.

• Monitoring Centro performance against the Local Transport Plan.

• Formulating, developing and monitoring procedures for public consultation of, and lobbying for, the new ITA’s transport policies.

• Considering issues arising from the implementation of schemes for the introduction of Smartcards.

• Authorising the disposal, acquisition and development of any land within any budget agreed by the new ITA.

• Determining the operation, performance, contract management and development of tendered bus services, bus stations/stops, and passenger transport services under Section 10(1)(via) of the Transport Act 1968 [within the agreed Centro budget].

• Determining the operation, performance and development of the new ITA’s accessible transport provision pursuant to Sections 106(1) and 106(2) of the Transport Act 1985 [within the agreed Centro budget].

• Monitoring the performance of Midland Metro, bus and rail services and initiating appropriate action.

WMITA website, 'About Us', September 2014

WMITA website, ‘About Us’, September 2014

At the time of writing, the WMITA website ‘About Us‘ implies that the membership of the Authority includes unelected persons from local enterprise partnerships.

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Written by beleben

September 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Birmingham, Centro

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