The Bus Back Better stakeholder consultation is live from 24th January to 6th March 2022

At its Cabinet meeting on 15 June 2021, Suffolk County Council gave approval to proceed with the development of an Enhanced Partnership. The Enhanced Partnership will be a legal agreement between Suffolk County Council and bus operators in Suffolk to work together to deliver the aims of the National Bus Strategy and develop the long-term strategy to transform bus services across the County.

We announced our intent to prepare an Enhanced Partnership in June 2021

The first step in this process was to develop and publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan) by the end of October 2021, which can be seen in the documents section of this page. Our BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan for Suffolk documents the high-level vision and the partnership’s statement of ambition along with interventions to deliver better bus services and facilities. It is used as a document for bidding for future government funding for bus service improvements.

The next stage is to meet the Department for Transport’s 31 March 2022 deadline to have an Enhanced Partnership and supporting Enhanced Partnership Scheme in place.

The Enhanced Partnership is an approach which allows bus operators and the County Council (as the Local Transport Authority) and other stakeholders to work together to enhance the bus network with a package of measures which will:

  • develop the bus network
  • encourage more people to use buses
  • support measures to tackle the climate emergency
  • support jobs and the economy
  • promote inclusive growth in Suffolk.

We will provide more information as this work develops and you can contact us via email at



Enhanced Partnership Timeline


It is a national strategy, launched by the Government in March 2021 to improve bus services within England. Each authority that applies for Bus Back Better funding must create a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan) and commit to either a franchising plan or enhanced partnership.

A BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan is the vision for delivering the change in bus services that is required by the Bus Back Better Strategy. A BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan is the essential first step as it will be the extent of the ambition, delivered through an Enhanced Partnership or franchising, that will be critical when as Government decides how new funding is allocated. Our BSIP document (PDF 4MB) has been submitted to government as a bid to the Bus Back Better funds.

The BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan is a live document and subject to annual revision.

An Enhanced Partnership (EPCloseEnhanced Partnership) is a statutory partnership between one or more Local Transport Authorities and their local bus operators that sets out how they will work together to deliver Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan) outcomes in the defined geographical area(s) set out in the EPCloseEnhanced Partnership. It is in two parts:

  1. An EPCloseEnhanced Partnership Plan - a clear vision of the improvements to bus services that the EPCloseEnhanced Partnership is aiming to deliver, mirroring the BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan.
  2. One or more EPCloseEnhanced Partnership 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 EPCloseEnhanced Partnership scheme, to achieve BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan outcomes

The Enhanced Partnership Plan is the first part of the statutory EPCloseEnhanced Partnership document and contains the overarching strategy as documented in the BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan.

The EPCloseEnhanced Partnership scheme is the second part of the statutory EPCloseEnhanced Partnership document and contains the detail of the interventions which are to be delivered during the lifetime of the scheme.

Suffolk County Council is leading the project management for responding to the strategy and developing the documents. A wide range of stakeholders were involved in the preparation of the BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan, including but not limited to, all bus operators, all local authorities, passenger interest groups. All bus operators running registered local bus services within Suffolk have been invited to join the enhanced partnership and all local authorities and local stakeholder groups actively encouraged to be involved in shaping improvements. The process includes opportunities for all stakeholders, partners, and residents to engage with influencing the future strategy.

Suffolk County Council submitted their BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan Bus Service Improvement Plan in October 2021 and the deadline to have the EPCloseEnhanced Partnership plan and first EPCloseEnhanced Partnership scheme in place is March 2022. However, both the Suffolk BSIPCloseBus Service Improvement Plan and EPCloseEnhanced Partnership are live documents so will be regularly reviewed to determine that they remain relevant in putting the customer at the heart of delivering improvements to bus services.

The Partnership will look to provide a stronger commercially viable bus network across both rural and urban Suffolk. The interventions will increase the numbers of people using buses and support the decarbonisation agenda. Interventions will need to be managed within the budget allocated.

If you would like to get in touch for more general comments you can contact the team via

Submit ideas via explaining the proposal and why it is felt it is commercially viable.

Please visit our pages on reporting, applying or requesting issues related to bus infrastructure in Suffolk. For defects relating to the highway please use the Highway Reporting Tool.


Below you can find a list of documents that are relevant to the Bus Back Better Strategy:

Our BSIP bid to Government

The DfT has published the national bus strategy

Bus Service Improvement Plan Guidance

Enhanced Partnership Guidance

The Transport Act 2000

Transport Focus link

Page last updated: Wednesday 1 December 2021