On Wednesday 19 October the Community Transport Association welcomed members and supporters to the All Nations Centre in Cardiff for the CTA Cardiff Conference. The event was an excellent day of discussion and collaboration with both our speakers and our participants sharing their thoughts on how we can prove the value of community transport.
The theme of the conference was ‘Social Value, Future Impact’ and looked at how we can measure and prove the immense value of community transport both in Wales and across the United Kingdom as a whole.
The day opened with Susan Evans, Chair of the CTA’s Board of Trustees, sharing her thoughts on why it is so important that we as a sector prove the value of community transport. “Today’s event is about measuring the value of community transport in Wales”, said Susan. “It is my belief that the work that community operators do is invaluable, but it is measurable.” Susan’s words were echoed by out speakers throughout the day: we can measure and prove the value of community transport.
Susan was followed by a video message from Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, who told the conference how much he valued community transport and how he was determined to continue to forge strong partnerships with community transport operators in Wales. He called for community transport to participate in a more integrated transport system and wanted to see how community transport fits in with the Wales Government wider transport ambitions.
Following Ken’s well-received video message, Susan Evans introduced the day’s first speakers: Nick Jones, Traffic Commissioner for Wales, and Marie Brousseau-Navarro, Director of Policy Legislation, Office of the Future Generations Commissioner.
Nick Jones spoke about his firm view as a Traffic Commissioner that that there is a lot that can and should be done so that people can chose public transport. He argued that in the many areas where people don’t have access to this sort of transport, however, Community Transport plays a vital role. He also discussed the downsides of having so many designated bodies for issuing Section 19 permits in Wales and whether it would make sense to have just one. He suggested that due to their expertise and professionalism, this could be the Community Transport Association. Nick closed by discussing how the Wales Bill, which is currently going through the UK Parliament, could offer the opportunity for Wales to be an innovator in transport and especially, he argued, in community transport.
Following Nick was Marie Brousseu-Navarro who talked about the ground breaking Future Generations (Wales) Act that enshrines in law a commitment to leave a thriving Wales for future generations. It was said at the United Nations that “what Wales is doing today the world will do tomorrow” and the conference was pleased to hear Marie’s thoughts on how community transport could fit into this undertaking. The community transport sector already supports many of the Future Generations Goals she argued, as well as the five ways of working that the Act promotes. You can find out more about the Future Generation Goals in this video that she shared as part of her presentation.
After a short break, the Conference split into four routable discussions which looked at a variety of themes: Transport to Health – Where are we now and where next?; The implications of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 for Community Transport; Community Transport’s contribution to the Future Generations Goals; and Working with Service users and communities- using co-production within the CT sector. These discussions provided some excellent insight both from their facilitators and our participants, with everyone getting involved and sharing their views.
Take a look back at our blog tomorrow for a round-up of the Cardiff Conference’s afternoon session with speakers including Anna Whitty MBE, CEO of ECT Charity and Tim Lamerton from Devon Access to Services Project who discussed the practical ways in which they seek to prove the value of their work.