Driving for Better Business champion Calderdale Council, has won the Public Safety Award for its road safety initiatives in this year’s Government Business Awards.
The Council, headquartered in Halifax, runs a diverse fleet of 214 vehicles and more than 1,600 employees drive their own cars for business purposes.
In recent years the Council has upgraded and implemented a new driving at work policy to ensure the safety of its workforce who drive on business and the safety of the public who use services such as community buses, mobile libraries and other services involving vehicles driven by council employees.
Efficiency benefits generated as a result of the reduced number of road traffic incidents involving its vehicles and the financial savings gained as a result of the increased focus on improved employee road safety, which include a 12% insurance premium saving, are being directed to front line community services.
In presenting the Council with the Public Safety Award, the publication’s judges said that as a result of the insurance savings ‘the Council will be helping businesses in both public and private sectors by highlighting the advantages of road safety training and supervision’.
Implementation of the Council’s driving at work policy and procedures have been the result of a team effort initiated and led by former North Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent David Short, the Council’s road safety project manager.
On receiving the Award at a presentation at the Twickenham Stadium, Short said, “I was very proud to receive it on behalf of Calderdale Council which is the culmination of a team effort involving everyone in the authority, ensuring the work force and the community are safe and in good hands.”
Core to the driving at work policy is a driver permit scheme that applies to all employees that drive on council business. Additionally, employees that drive a Council-owned minibus or multi-purpose vehicle must successfully complete a practical driving assessment, while collision reporting and investigation is a key aspect of the safe driving focus.
As part of the initiatives, the Council is also engaging with other employers in its area to encourage a culture of safe driving across the region.
Michael Parish, co-director of the Driving for Better Business campaign, said, “Local authorities have a crucial role to play in reducing work-related road crashes. Not only are they major employers in their own right and therefore must have robust safe driving strategies in place, but they can also influence local public and private sector organisations to follow their lead.
“It is therefore very gratifying that the Council’s driving at work strategy and the benefits it has delivered have been recognised as top class in the public sector.”
Another Driving for Better Business champion Gateshead Council, won the Environmental Transport Award for its electric vehicle procurement.
The Council has become one of the biggest investors in electric vehicle technology by adding 10 electric vans to its fleet through the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme. Based on the Ford Transit chassis, vans are powered by advanced Lithium-Ion batteries, and can be fully recharged in around eight hours.