Manchester’s road safety team axed to save £132k

12.33 | 21 February 2012 | | 4 comments

Manchester City Council’s team of seven road safety officers has been disbanded in order to save £132,000 from the council’s highways budget, according to Manchester Evening News.

As part of the council’s two year £170m savings plan, RSOs will be replaced by a pool of teachers who will be trained to educate Manchester’s pupils about road safety.

According to Manchester Evening News, the council proposes to reduce the team to just one or two, but will launch a consultation with staff before making a final decision.

The remaining officer or officers will deliver initial training to teachers, who will then be directed to a website to access resources. The council will also send out additional training materials.

Coun Paul Andrews, executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “The Government’s financial settlement had a significant impact on funding for road safety.

“The reduction in funding has forced us to find an alternative way of ensuring young people across Manchester continue to be educated about the importance of staying safe on the city’s roads, but the change will not mean a reduction in the quality or amount of road safety teaching.

“We are now developing a system to work closely with schools across the city, supporting them in training their own teachers to educate pupils about road safety, and we are continuing to provide a slightly reduced service while this is being finalised.”

Two of the seven RSOs were among 2,000 town hall staff who took voluntary redundancy or early retirement last year.

A council spokesman said remaining RSOs had been temporarily working on other duties within the highways department while the new structure was drawn up.

Click here to read the full Manchester Evening News report.


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    Are the teachers concerned going to have their own driving assessed to establish if they are competent motorists and thus qualified to teach children about road safety? If not, why not? Will they be charged with negligence should their teaching of road safety not be successful?

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    AIRSO is disappointed to note the actions of Manchester City Council and even more so that it deems the only people who need teaching about road safety are children. Casualties amongst children are about 15% of the total which means 85% of those injured on the roads are adults. It also needs to be remembered that children are knocked over by adult car drivers, knocked off their bicycles by adult car drivers and are not restrained properly in cars as a result of adults not taking on adequate responsibility. Where then should the effort be? Well of course we should not ignore preparing for our children’s safety but if we are to keep casualties down then we must have some activity in education and training terms with the adult population.

    Graham Feest -Secretary AIRSO
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    It is very worrying to hear of the actions being taken by Manchester City Council, which effectively removes their only source of real road safety expertise and experience. It is very unfortunate for those dedicated staff, who have worked extremely hard to help this country reduce its road casualties to an all time low, to be swept aside in the name of saving what is in the overall scheme of things, a very small sum of money.

    Whilst Manchester City Council appear to have a plan ‘B’ to maintain a level of road safety delivery, by training teachers to deliver the vital road safety messages to children, it leaves a whole host of questions that need to be asked. For example, how can teachers be expected to deliver road safety effectively when they have so many other subjects that they are required to teach, and under pressure? Will teachers realistically be able show the commitment that the Manchester road safety team has shown over many years? Whilst it is vital to teach children road safety skills, will we be going back to the dark old days of teaching children how to cross a road safely, when they are sat behind their desks, or sat crossed legged on the floor? It takes years to train a professional road safety officer. What about all of the other casualty groups such as cyclists and motorcyclists? What provision is there to raise their awareness and skill? What about those who drive for business who form a fairly significant proportion of our annual casualties? What about our young vunerable drivers?

    How will these huge issue be tackled in Manchester? By teachers in schools? Teachers also have a wealth of expertise but they cannot be realistically expected to carry on what the local road safety team has managed for around the last 30 to 40 years. Has Manchester City Council not considered that by INVESTING in their road safety team, it could actually bring in significant income, and the very good work of the team could almost become self sustaining?

    The cost of just one fatality is currently around £1.8m. A simple calculation of Manchester’s annual casualty toll (KSIs) will tell us what road casualties are costing the local Manchester community each year. It is a simple equation; INVEST very little in excellent road safety services and see a massive RETURN in reduced casualty costs.

    Engineering solutions in the road structure, and in our vehicles is all well and good, but if we do not shape the attitude and behaviour of our road users, we will always have a casualty problem. We need excellent road safety professionals in all areas of the UK.

    Road Safety GB has members across the UK who come from various types of local authorities with varying budgets and staffing. Where the teams are most successful, is where the employers have invested ‘sufficiently’ and have given complete support to what is a vital service that keeps the public safe. If we remove this service we will create a massive skills and awareness gap and as our children reach teenage years, and then become drivers and riders, they will not have benefited from the vital education and training that we as a profession can provide. We will have many thousands (or millions) of road users who will be at greater risk.

    The local authority road safety officers and their teams are the backbone of casualty reduction in the UK. They have been a constant. They do not come and go as others do. They have long term experience, a high level of skill, supreme commitment, and they are vital to this country’s future casualty reduction efforts.

    Every local authority CEO must look at how they can retain this expertise and experience and invest in it. They must not dilute it down to others who may not have the desire or the aptitude to deliver what is actually a very difficult lesson to deliver.

    Road Safety GB will be communicating with Manchester City Council within the next few days, to express its grave concerns, and to encourage the council to reverse its decision.

    Alan Kennedy – Chairman, Road Safety GB
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Road Safety GB is dismayed to hear of this decision by Manchester City Council and will be issuing a full response as soon as we have been able to obtain more details about the decision and its implications for the people of Manchester.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.