In October we held the CTA Roadshow in England, with events in Manchester, Cambridge, Birmingham and Exeter. Below you can find a recap of what we talked about at the events, including the presentations from each session.
At the start of each CTA Roadshow event, after the usual discussions about toilets, fire alarms and Wi-Fi passwords, we opened with an icebreaker. Everyone was given a series of cards with the start of a sentence on (‘Because of us…’ ‘Our volunteers…’ ‘Community transport matters because…’ etc.) and then had to complete that sentence.
The results, some of which you can see below, encapsulated what is so special about community transport. After a year of uncertainty and unease in the sector, we wanted to start the day off with a reminder about why our members do what they do every day. Not to make money, not to make a profit, but to make an enormous difference in the lives of so many people.
We wanted all of the discussion for the rest of the day, whether we were looking at practical, technical or even contentious issues, to be underpinned by what was on these cards: the knowledge that everything community transport does is in service of the people they support.
The Department for Transport’s Consultation
The first session of the day focused on the Department for Transport’s consultation on the future of section 19 and 22 permits, giving a recap of what’s happened over the last year and looking at the proposed guidance that the Department set out in its consultation. We also looked at the excellent campaigning work done by the sector during the consultation period as well the main issues CTA laid out in our response to the consultation.
The presentation was followed by a group discussion where participants brought up their thoughts, concerns and ideas about the Department’s proposed guidance. The themes that emerged throughout all the discussions echoed many of the points raised in the almost 500 responses to the consultation: that community transport providers were worried about the impact these changes could have on the sector; that there was still uncertainty that the consultation hadn’t addressed; and that without community transport, tens of thousands of people across the UK would be left without the vital services they rely on.
In their interim summary of responses to the consultation, released in July, the Department said that they plan to “undertake further work in order to determine the final approach to be taken to the guidance and draft regulations” with a view to announcing the UK Government’s response to the consultation “in the autumn”. As we step into November, we are yet to hear back from the Government but when we do, CTA will be in touch with our members and supporters.
‘Good to Go’
The rest of the day consisted of a number of different breakout sessions that members could choose from, two of which were part of our new ‘Good to Go’ stream of workshops, looking at practical training for members who wanted a refresh of some of the basic elements of running safe and legal transport.
Good to Go – Maintaining Your Vehicle looked at the different elements of vehicle maintenance, the key things organisations need to do, and when they need to do them. The workshop looked at the importance of walk around checks (needed every time the vehicle is taken out), safety inspections (required every 10 weeks at the most), servicing (which is specified by the manufacturer) and MoTs (required annually). The session also looked at things like proper procedures for defect reporting and record keeping.
Good to Go – Planning for the Unexpected was the second of these sessions which discussed what organisations need do to put plans in place for unexpected events such as adverse weather conditions, breakdowns and passenger illness both in an emergency and non-emergency. During the session we looked at various templates and tools that would be useful for members. You can find our accident report form template here, and a handy A5 flowchart on what to do in a breakdown here.
Demonstrating your Impact
Community transport is a sector with an enormous impact. If you work in community transport this is something that you, and everyone you work with on a day to day basis, will know and appreciate. But the people that we need to convince of this aren’t the people on the ground; they’re the politicians, the commissioners, the public – the people who don’t see what you see every day. And, as nice as it would be, they’re probably not just going to take your word for it!
This is what another one of our breakout sessions looked at – ways in which community transport providers can measure and demonstrate their impact. Using various examples from community transport providers and the wider charity sector, the session looked at a number of top tips for impact measurement:
Start by creating a Theory of Change that helps you understand what you need to measure and what stories you need to tell to prove that you make a difference.
Collect compelling evidence: numbers and statistics that show the breadth of what you do, and stories that help give those numbers life.
Create an impact report where you tie your evidence to your Theory of Change, using numbers and stories to prove that you have the impact that you say you do.
Participants came away with new ideas, both from the presentation and also from discussions with each other, about how to measure and demonstrate the enormous impact they have in the most compelling way.
Making your voice heard
Throughout the Department for Transport’s consultation, community transport has been in the limelight more than ever. But if there had been no consultation, no urgency to demonstrate the importance of community transport to politicians and the public, would we as a sector be using the same tactics and talking in the same way as we are now? The answer should, of course, be yes and this is what our fourth breakout session looked at.
The session covered the various ways in which community transport providers can make their voice heard, focusing on engaging with MPs and other politicians, effective use of social media, working collaboratively and talking to the media.
Tackling loneliness and isolation – interesting and innovative ideas
The final session of the day looked at tackling loneliness and isolation, hearing from a number of guest speakers across the events. In Manchester we heard from Sophie Black and Elaine Unegbu from Age Friendly Manchester who talked about their work making Manchester a good place in which to grow old. In Cambridge we were joined by Lauren Papanikolaou who shared the work of Camborne Timebank and looked at how Timebanking could provide interesting opportunities to support the work of community transport. Amanda Whitlock from Independent Age joined us in Exeter to talk about the link between transport and reducing loneliness and isolation. At each event, members shared their own stories of tackling loneliness and looked at how the work they do could link in with the work of these organisations.
Manchester – Age Friendly Manchester:
Cambridge – Cambourne Timebank:
Exeter – Independent Age:
The CTA Roadshow was an excellent opportunity for the CTA team to gather together with our members in England, hear about their work and discuss some of the key issues for the sector. This year we wanted to give our members more opportunities to choose the different breakout sessions they attended and to have the discussions that were relevant to them.
I think I speak on behalf of everyone at CTA when I say that going out and meeting our members and hearing first-hand about the work they do, is one of the best elements of our jobs. Thank you to everyone who attended the Roadshow events across England and a huge thank you to KPMG who once again generously provided the venues and support for our events in Manchester, Cambridge and Birmingham, and Devon County Council who supported us to run our event in Exeter.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.