GEM Motoring Assist has funded research looking at the importance of Road Safety Partnerships and how these initiatives have been affected since the end of the Road Safety Partnership Grant (RSPG) in March 2011.
The report details how local institutions have dealt with changes in partnerships caused by the grants ending and public services being cut due to the economic recession, including the barriers and facilitators of partnership working, their sustainability and how they engage with the community as a partner.
19 road safety officers, who had previously received the RSPG, were interviewed anonymously to gauge their opinion and provide insight into the difficulties they now face to continue to keep strategic partnerships going.
Despite continuing to work with some key partners and showing determination to take on the challenge to continue to deliver cost-efficient road safety interventions, the research reveals that the role of emergency services, particularly the police, has diminished as they retreat to core business, such as enforcement.
David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, comments, “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 author Nicola Christie, director of the Centre for Transport Studies at UCL, commented, “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 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 suggests a systematic reappraisal of what is still feasible, is now undertaken. The research calls for identification of key areas for prioritisation and new, viable, partnership models, 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.
“We definitely need to reassess the way we approach road safety projects and agree on the best strategies to continue to deliver effective campaigns. Road safety will undoubtedly be hugely affected if we do not act now. This research is a crucial step towards the ongoing success of road safety initiatives in the UK and we offer our full support,” David continues.
“The latest report by PACTS, entitled “Checking the Health of Road Safety,” published last week, reveals similar findings. Looking at the impact of the Government’s austerity programme on road safety, the report goes as far to say that the cuts in spending will see road deaths rise in Great Britain in 2011 for the first time since 2003. The evidence to address these issues is clear and we must continue to strive for the highest level of safety on our roads no matter what,” Williams concludes.