Today, ECT Charity publishes its report Why Community Transport Matters, an amalgamation of two ground-breaking studies led to help community transport organisations around the UK demonstrate their social value.
In the first, ECT Charity has worked with Deloitte to produce Tackling Loneliness and Isolation through Community Transport, a major piece of research into the economic cost of loneliness and isolation.
The report concludes that community transport schemes have the potential to make savings of between £0.4 billion and £1.1 billion a year for the public purse, as well as reducing pressure on public services and helping older people to remain active members of society.
The second study, A Practical Method for Measuring Community Transport Social Value, will help community transport organisations make a compelling case to commissioners on the value of their services. It was developed through the London Strategic Community Transport Forum (LSCTF).
Why Community Transport Matters, launched today, brings together the highlights from both research initiatives, including a toolkit distilled from the Deloitte research, and an introduction to the practical measurement framework.
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT Charity, said: “The next few years are going to be tough for the UK as budgets for public services continue to be cut. It is time to look at things in a different way and community transport is an important – but often invisible – part of the solution.
“Telling our story isn’t enough – we have to demonstrate the value of the benefit that we provide, especially when we are trying to convince councils, commissioners and government policymakers that community transport is a worthwhile investment.”
Lilian Greenwood MP. Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Upon reading this report, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind as to the potentially huge benefits that community transport can deliver in communities and to public services all over the UK.”
Dr. Alice Maynard, an opinion former on Disability and Inclusion in Transport and the former Chair of Scope, said: “If we in the transport sector, who are interested in people’s wellbeing, want to make change happen and want to make sure that people are better included, then we need to be able to make the economic argument. That is why this report is so important.”
Bill Freeman, Chief Executive of the Community Transport Association, said: “Community transport, in all its forms, has the potential to offer a more reliable and resilient way of addressing a growing number of transport needs and contributing to areas of public policy where access and inclusion are significant challenges. It is vital that the CT sector can demonstrate the quality of its services, but also that they add value, so there is something that is a broader benefit beyond the simple fulfilment of the contract.”
Anna Whitty continued: “We hope that, if you are a community transport manager, this report might encourage you to make use of the methodology to start measuring your social value. And, if you are from a local authority or clinical commissioning group, maybe these ideas will help you to look afresh at the community transport organisations in your area, and support them to help you achieve your aims of improving the health and wellbeing of the people in your community.”