On Friday 17 July we held an exciting online event looking at key questions about how community transport can recover from coronavirus and shape a new way forward.
Over 200 people joined the webinar to hear from CTA Chief Executive Bill Freeman, CTA’s Policy Executive Suzanne Lau, John Taylor, Director at the TAS Partnership who looked at the practicalities around community transport providers restarting services, and Sara Robinson, a multi-award winning PR consultant, who looked at how our members can put themselves at the heart of the conversations around building back better.
The event was a great opportunity to hear from some expert voices as well as for community transport providers to talk to each-other as part of the meeting’s chat function, ask questions and share ideas.
Below you can find a recording of the event as well as an overview of the questions our members asked, and their answers.
If you need any more information or support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our advice team via email@example.com and, as ever, you can find our latest guidance for the sector at ctauk.org/covid19-guidance/.
“Should we restart our services now or wait for further relaxation of social distancing restrictions?”
There are many things to consider when planning to restart your services. Before restarting, operators will want to ensure that they are doing everything they can to keep passengers, staff and volunteers as safe as possible. CTA has worked with the TAS Partnership to provide detailed guidance on how to restart and sustain your services. Many of our members are at different stages of this process, depending on a wide range of factors. If you would like to speak to other members about the approach they are taking, you can join us at one of our advice drop-in sessions – just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
“Guidelines for social distancing on public vehicles appear very muddled. It seems that as long as you wear a mask there is no distancing required. Would that apply to CT? Social distancing significantly reduces our capacity which will have a large financial impact. “
The latest social distancing guidance can be found on our guidance page. In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where a distance of 2 meters is not possible, then one metre plus is acceptable where the ‘plus’ means that additional mitigation measures are in place. In Wales, 2 meters must still be maintained. Additional measures include extra sanitation and the use of face coverings. If you have passengers travelling from the same household or the same ‘bubble’ then they would not have socially distance whilst travelling. Your risk assessment should consider how the social distancing guidance translates into a policy for vehicle’s capacity.
“Do we need to install a protective shield between the driver and passengers?”
There are no specific requirements for protective screens to be installed in vehicles, however, many operators have chosen to fit them as an added precaution. The decision will likely form part of your risk assessment. Some of the key points to consider are:
Screens should not impede the driver’s vision, movement, or communication with passengers.
They should not impede a driver’s ability to enter and exit the vehicle.
They should be properly installed and secured and must not compromise the integrity of the vehicle’s structure and safety features.
They do not remove the need for an effective cleaning and hygiene regime.
Your insurance company should be informed to make sure your policy is not affected.
“What is the liability of CT organisations if a driver contracts Covid-19 and decides to sue the CT?”
Community transport operators have a duty to take all reasonable steps to protect their staff and volunteers. As a minimum, you should complete a comprehensive risk assessment and ensure you have written records of the policies and procedures which you have put in place to mitigate the risks you have identified. On our guidance page, you will find a ‘how-to’ guide for completing risk assessments along with an example template. CTA members can also access a range of other resources for risk management. It may also be worth contacting your insurance company to ensure you understand what policies you have in place and what you are covered for.
“Is it now time to consider that it may be more sensible to wind up our operation rather than hang on until conditions may or may not improve?”
Community transport is a lifeline to so many people all over the UK and whilst it is never what anyone wants to happen, there have been community transport groups who have been forced to make difficult decisions throughout the COVID-19 crisis. If you’re worried about the future of your organisation, we’re here to help. Our resource, ‘running services after lock-down – ten ways you could do things differently’ may help groups to think about new ways of working to help them continue providing services. You can also contact email@example.com have a more specific discussion about your situation.
“How does someone get an exemption certificate for face coverings? ”
There are a number of reasons which someone may be exempt from having to wear a face covering, which can be found in the UK Government guidance, here. Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of the reason. However, there are downloadable and printable exemption cards available on the UK Government website. Using these cards is a personal choice and is not a requirement. You can find more information on face coverings as part of our guidance here.
“Following the update regarding Driver CPC, what progress has been made with the DVSA and the DfT regarding the interpretation of personal use and non-commercial?What is the response of the CTA?”
On 31 July, we wrote to CTA members to update them on recent changes to the regulations regarding who needs Driver CPC. CTA and Mobility Matters have been engaging with the Department for Transport and the DVSA on this matter, and our message is that the issue of who can driver a minibus under a section 19 or 22 permit is unchanged. CTA member should find our message in their inbox and can also access it in the members area of the CTA website
“How much lobbying is CTA doing to government?”
We are continuing to hold conversations with DfT and the relevant devolved administrations to communicate the impact of Covid-19 on the community transport sector and to highlight the need for greater support moving forward. Over the next week we will be holding further meetings with DfT and the DVSA to discuss wider issues affecting community transport, including Driver CPC.
“What measures are operators taking to sanitise the vehicles between trips?”
Maintaining good cleanliness and hygiene is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We’ve put together a daily checklist for drivers which we recommend they read and sign to indicate that they understand what is expected of them regarding transporting passengers and cleaning. You download the resource, here. With the support of CTA members, we have also made a suite of community transport specific risk assessments and procedures available to CTA members, here. Our weekly advice drop-in session is also an opportunity to discuss specific steps being taken by other operators.
“How can we get those who signed up to volunteer for the NHS to volunteer for their nearest CT? What has been done to tap into retaining or redeploying them?”
“Have there been any discussions with Health Boards, LAs and/or the Ambulance Services on the increased support CT is providing to help people to get to health and social care appointments to try and improve links and access financial support?”
One of the services which many community transport operators have been able to continue throughout lockdown is transport to essential medical appointments. This has led to some groups being able to develop new relationships with their local health boards. Moving forward we hope to help operators to strengthen and consolidate these partnerships. We also want to ensure that the invaluable support offered by community transport is valued and recognised.
“Is CTA going to be able to apply for bulk funding that let’s small organisations apply to you?”
As part of our steps to support the sector moving forward, CTA will be working with a range of funders to ensure that they recognise the value of community transport. Throughout Covid-19, we know that over £600,0000 of funding has been distributed by a range of funders to support community transport. We are currently producing a suite of resources to help support more groups to access funding. We are also working with Local Authorities to help highlight the need for community transport to be supported with more sustainablefundingon a local level.
“If a D1 renewal for a driver over 70 has been sent off, can they volunteer whilst waiting for it to return?”
Many drivers who are 70 or over have been unable to renew their D1(nfhr) entitlement throughout lockdown as they could not see a doctor for a medical or access the D2 application form required. However, these drivers will be able to retrospectively apply to retain their entitlement as soon as restrictions allow. If an application has already been submitted, then you can continue to drive as long as certain conditions are met, which can be foundhere.
“Does the CTA have a forum where members can communicate the issues they are facing?”
We are currently planning a series of webinars which will focus on specific topics and facilitate further discussions. Every Friday 11:00am-12:00pm we also hold an advice drop-in which is an opportunity for members to ask questions and discuss the challenges they are facing with each other. To request a link to join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact the CTA advice service if you need any further information. The CTA team are currently working remotely, so to ensure you speak to the right person first time, please email email@example.com receive a call back.
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