Decision details

Bus Operator Enhanced Partnership (National Bus Strategy)

Decision Maker: Overview and Scrutiny Board, Cabinet, Council

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Cabinet is asked to note that the Service Director for Transport and Engineering has used delegated authority to indicate to the Department for Transport (DfT) that the Council intends to enter into a statutory Enhanced Partnership (EP) with the local bus service operators from 1 April 2022. Local Transport Authorities and bus operators were asked to commit to forming an EP by 30 June 2021 with the EP being operational from 1 April 2022.
This report also seeks approval to formally enter into the EP with the BCP local bus service operators under the Bus Services Act 2017 and in line with the National Bus Strategy for England.


RESOLVED that: - 

(a)          Cabinet supports the formation of an Enhanced Partnership with the bus operators as a replacement to the existing voluntary Quality Bus Partnership.

(b)         Cabinet delegates authority to the Service Director for Transport and Engineering in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability to negotiate, seek stakeholder views and then publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) on behalf of the Council by the end of October 2021 in line with the requirements of the National Bus Strategy for England.

Voting: Unanimous

Portfolio Holder: Transport and Sustainability


The recently published National Bus Strategy for England sets out an ambition for every local transport authority and bus operator in England to be in a statutory Enhanced Partnership or a franchising arrangement (entering into an EP does not preclude franchising in the future, however, achieving franchising is lengthy and complex with significant financial risk).

Improving bus services to attract more passengers is a joint aim of the bus operators and the Local Transport Authority (LTA).

An Enhanced Partnership will build on the good work undertaken through the voluntary Quality Bus Partnership over the last two decades.

Not entering into an Enhanced Partnership will result in a significant financial funding loss for the council and for the bus operators.


Report author: John McVey

Publication date: 03/09/2021

Date of decision: 01/09/2021

Decided at meeting: 01/09/2021 - Cabinet

Effective from: 11/09/2021

Accompanying Documents: