Report looks at future of road safety partnerships

12.00 | 23 May 2012 | | 2 comments

The role of the police and other emergency services in delivering road safety interventions has diminished as they retreat to ‘core business’, according to new research looking at road safety partnerships.

The report – funded and published by GEM Motoring Assist – looks at how road safety partnerships have been affected since the end of the Road Safety Partnership Grant (RSPG) in March 2011.

It details how local institutions have dealt with changes caused by the demise of the RSPG and other public sector funding cuts, and looks at the barriers to and facilitators of partnership working.

19 road safety officers, whose authorities had previously received the RSPG, were interviewed anonymously.

David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, said: “Partnership initiatives are very important and we know from experience that we can achieve a lot more through them than by working alone.

“Local partnerships are also integral to the Government’s ‘Big Society’ vision so it is more vital than ever to work together with the community. The question is how sustainable are these projects without Government funding?”

The report was authored by Nicola Christie, director of the Centre for Transport Studies at UCL, who said: “Despite the significant investment in partnership working to reduce casualties our research shows that partnerships are struggling to find resources and are feeling uncertain about the future. This seems a travesty given that their key role in trying to reduce one of the leading causes of premature death and injury.”

The report lays out recommendations for the future of road safety partnerships and calls for a systematic reappraisal of what is still feasible. It also calls for key areas to be prioritised and new partnership models to be developed, suggesting that failure to do this is likely to lead to further fragmentation of effort, which may impact on local authorities’ ability to deliver further casualty reductions.

Click here to download the full report.


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    I agree that it is always difficult (I would say impossible) to link ETP activities directly to casualty reduction. That is why it is so important for all involved in Road Safety (RSOs, Partnerships of all kinds, F&R services if working on their own etc) to write clear and specific aims and objectives for their intervention before they are carried out and then measure success or otherwise afterwards. It is the only way to refute claims we achieve nothing that wouldn’t have happened othewise – by proving robust data as to what we have.

    Mandy Rigault, Oxfordshire, SE Evaluation Champion
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    The fundamental problem with road safety partnerships surely lies in separating out from trends in reported accidents and casualties what reductions (if any) the partnerships have achieved, as opposed to what would have happened anyway due to long-term trends, slowing traffic growth, (usually) shorter-term trends due to (local and national) economic boom and bust, improving vehicles, changes in reporting levels etc.

    In this context it is important to understand (as the DfT emphasised circa 2007 when they changed the title of their annual reports to “REPORTED Road Casualties) that they estimate that only 1 SI accident in 3.5 (28%) is ever reported to the police in the first place. Given that background it is difficult to come to any reliable conclusions!

    Readers will remember that a year ago Mike Penning MP of the DfT instructed local authorities to publish data for every speed camera, saying that, “We want to stop motorists being used as cash cows. For too long information about speed cameras has been hidden in the shadows. These new data will end that by clearly showing whether a camera is saving lives or just making money.

    Idris Francis
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