To receive a verbal update from the Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste and the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services.
1. Mr Hill, OBE (Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services) announced that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) had its fifth annual PEEL (Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment. Mr Hill was pleased to announce that out of the three categories, Kent Police achieved one ‘good’ rating for its effectiveness and two ‘outstanding’ ratings for its efficiency and legitimacy. He said that Kent Police had officially been graded as the best Police force in the country and that the Prime Minister described Kent Police as an outstanding example of an excellent police force. Mr Hill commended the forces performance and had written to the Chief Constable on behalf of Kent County Council to congratulate Kent Police on their achievements.
2. Mr M Whiting (Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste) provided a verbal update on the following issues:
(a) Highways Pot-hole Blitz Programme
Phase 4 of the pothole blitz programme concluded in April 2019 and phase 5 had commenced with a further £5m allocated for patching and filling potholes throughout the summer period. Mr Whiting confirmed that weekly updates would continue to be sent to KCC Members, District and Council Leaders; and Kent MPs.
(b) Road Re-surfacing
The road resurfacing programme was well underway with a substantial increased volume of work due to additional KCC capital funding investment of around £20m.
(c) Pilot Transport Schemes
As a result of the Big Conversation, five pilot schemes had been produced to help the Council identify alternative ways to support rural bus services. The first of the five pilot transport schemes was due to be launched on 3rd June 2019. The other pilots were due to be rolled out over a six-week period and take place in; Dover, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tenterden and West Malling. Mr Whiting informed the Committee that the Member Working Group led by Mr H Rayner would review the overall performance of the pilots and identify areas where improved services could be implemented using existing budgets.
(d) Kent County Council Travel Saver and Kent County Council 16+ Travel Saver
Applications for the KCC Travel Saver and KCC 16+Travel Saver bus pass would be accepted from 3rd June 2019. Mr Whiting confirmed that eligibility rules would remain the same, however, applicants could now pay via instalments through direct debit to help improve the affordability of the pass for parents. Mr Whiting said that the cost of the Travel Saver Pass had increased to £350, however, the cost of the 16+ Travel Saver pass remained at £400. For families on low income, the passes remained at £100 and Kent County Council continued to supply passes that were free-of-charge to those in care.
3. In response to queries regarding the benefits of purchasing a bus pass compared to the benefits of purchasing rail pass, Mr Whiting informed Members that the cost benefit would vary depending on a family’s financial circumstances and therefore benefits would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Mr Whiting assured Members that the subsidised Travel Saver scheme offered families the opportunity to purchase a pass at half the cost of an annual season ticket.