The National Road Safety Conference 2012 opened with a thought-provoking presentation by Honor Byford, vice-chair of Road Safety GB, in which she challenged her colleagues to take the lead with regard to ETP delivery.
In a message to other road safety stakeholders, she called for “agreement about our respective roles and tasks so that we do not have different agencies trying to duplicate the same work or creating parallel structures to deliver the one service”.
In her presentation, titled ‘The next five years: challenges and solutions’, Honor began by reminding delegates of the progress made over the past quarter of a century in terms of casualty reduction. “In 1988, 69,418 people were killed or seriously injured on our roads," she said. “In 2011, that number was 22,783, an enormous 66% reduction."
Reflecting on why casualties increased in 2011 for the first time in a decade, she considered whether this was a result of regression to mean, severe weather conditions in 2010, or the “massive reduction in ETP service delivery in 2011”, before concluding that, “We don’t know for sure and it is too soon to tell”.
Looking forward, and referring to the on-going process of budget cuts, she emphasised the need for partnership working. “It is important for all agencies to make extra effort to continue to work in partnership in order to deliver the best possible services and value to our communities,” she said.
Speaking of the relationship between road safety teams and other stakeholders, in particular the Fire & Rescue Service, she said: “We and our partners need to fully understand the structures and organisations that are already in place and our respective statutory roles, along with the resources that we each can and cannot offer.
“Whilst we can and do discuss these matters at a national level, local delivery can only be agreed locally because emergency services and local authorities do not all operate in the same way – some Fire & Rescue Services are very involved with road safety programmes and others take little or no part, while most are somewhere in-between.
“The government has made clear that there is no intention to change or move the statutory duties. The recently published National Framework for Fire Services, which lays down what government requires of them, does not mention road safety education. That role is defined by the DfT in the Strategic Framework for Road Safety and delivery of it remains the responsibility of the local highways authorities.
“This is not to say that there is no role for Fire & Rescue in road safety – far from it. Like many of you, I have worked with Fire & Rescue Services since they first asked to join with partnerships back in 2004, offering their support to help deliver road safety campaigns. They do have a role to play and can bring a profile to some campaigns and events that is invaluable, and enhances our work. We all want the fire and rescue service to be there when we need them.”
She went on to issue a rallying call to her fellow road safety officers to take the lead role with regard to road safety ETP delivery.
“I believe it is now time for us as a profession, and for Road Safety GB as your representative organisation, to restate our lead role nationally, regionally and locally; to offer clear leadership and practical support to all our colleagues.
“We need to work together. But we need to start from agreement about our respective roles and tasks so that we do not have different agencies trying to duplicate the same work or creating parallel structures to deliver the one service.
“We will provide the analysis and the professional lead for ETP work; we will identify the priorities, we will provide the means and effective materials so that other agencies can help us to deliver professional campaigns where they have spare capacity.
“I believe that the DfT, CFOA and ACPO are now looking for this lead from us – CFOA have now said so quite specifically. We should work with them on that basis and from a clear understanding of who does what.”
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