RSOs must take the lead in ETP delivery: Honor Byford

12.00 | 14 November 2012 | | 3 comments

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.”

Let us know how you think the conference is going on Twitter by using the hashtag #roadsafetyconference2012


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    Evaluation on what and how we deliver road safety is, as we know, vitally important. But equally we must learn from the evaluation and act on it. Just my point of view.

    Liz, London
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    I think we should look to work with the Fire Service and other sevices where possible/relevant and most Road Safety Teams do that. All services benefit a great deal from that arrangement. In recent years though the Fire Service have become very unreliable, dropping out of numerous local, regional and national projects in favour of doing their own thing. Many have pulled out of delivering fire safety at LASER schemes and seatbelt initiatives. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of Road Safety Teams (lose skill and expertise) to then recruit volunteers and people on light duties in the Fire Service, who need retraining and have no professional obligation to deliver the service. What happens in the future when they find another bone to chew on and they decide road safety doesn’t taste as nice? As Honor stated, there can be numerous services involved in road safety, which makes sense, but Road Safety Teams must lead on road safety education. Good article.

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    People like Firemen and that’s why their safety interventions are so well received. If it was down to the Public they would scrap all the other agencies and leave road safety to the fire brigade. It seems however that the other poorly performing agencies won’t go down without a fight, so there is a bit of a turf war looming on the horizon.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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