Last reviewed 14 July 2021

The Department for Transport (DfT) has produced guidance setting out the statutory and non-statutory requirements for establishing an Enhanced Partnership (EP), an agreement that enables local authorities with operators to set shared aims with regard to improving bus services.

An EP is one of three options available to local authorities when working in partnership with bus operators. Other alternatives are Franchising or Advanced Quality Partnerships.

The agreement choices for authorities are stated in Bus Service Act 2017: New Powers and Opportunities which can be found at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk.

An EP is in two parts:

  • an EP Plan — a clear vision of the improvements to bus services that the EP is aiming to deliver, mirroring the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

  • one or more EP schemes — an accompanying document that sets out the requirements that need to be met by local services that stop in the geographical area defined in the EP scheme, to achieve BSIP outcomes.

The new guide is intended to help Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) and bus operators to work collaboratively to deliver the ambitions set out in their BSIPs.

“We recognise that there may be other circumstances in which LTAs wish to create EPs,” the DfT notes. “This guidance remains relevant as it sets out the general principles regarding the creation of an EP, although not all references to BSIPs will be relevant.”

Available at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, it is intended for:

  • LTAs and operators wishing to establish a new EP to meet the April 2022 deadline for making an EP plan and scheme, as set out in the Strategy

  • LTAs and operators that wish subsequently to change or revoke a “made” EP plan and scheme, in whole or in part.