QCS Board hearings
During the week commencing 24 November 2014, the Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) board will be holding directions hearings with the main parties concerning the QCS proposed by the north east’s transport authority (Nexus). Kevin Rooney, Traffic Commissioner for the North East of England, is the chairperson of the QCS Board. Board members will be Alan Wann, an independent consultant and strategic advisor on transport, social, economic and cultural regeneration and David Humphrey, who has held a number of senior roles in both the bus and tram sectors during a 42 year career. The Board’s remit is to decide whether the relevant public interest criteria are met and whether the statutory notice and consultation requirements have been met. If the impartial and independent Board’s opinion is that the criteria are not met, or that the notice and consultation requirements have not been followed, it may recommend actions that the authority might take to remedy the situation.
As this is the first time a QCS Board has been convened, the Board is determined to ensure that the process is fair to all parties involved and the hearing will allow procedural matters to be agreed in advance of any oral evidence sessions that will be open to the public. It is likely that the Board will exercise its powers to extend the statutory deadlines by which it is required to give an opinion on the whether the Tyne and Wear QCS meets the statutory public interest criteria. Should the QCS Board’s opinion be unfavourable towards the scheme, there is an option for the authority to submit a modified proposal to the board for a further opinion. An announcement on the expected timescales is to be made in the week commencing 1 December 2014.