Agenda item

Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership

Report of Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport regarding the governance arrangements, operating model and performance of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) (schedule 1 to the signed minutes).

 

The SSRP was established in 2011 with the aim of increasing collaboration between partner organisations including:- (i) Staffordshire County Council; (ii) Stoke-on-Trent City Council; (iii) Staffordshire Police; (iv) Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and; (v) Highways England, in order to reduce road casualties in the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent areas. Their vision was, “Working Together to Improve Road Safety in Partnership with our Communities” supporting which were the following Strategic Objectives:- (i) To achieve long term sustained reductions in road traffic collisions across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent; (ii) To ensue education and training initiatives are used effectively to reduce the risk of being involved in a road traffic collision; (iii) To agree a considered approach to engineering and enforcement based on evidence and making best use of sustainable but limited resources; (iv) To engage and support our communities to take responsibility for improving road safety and; (v) To improve public confidence in the safety of Staffordshire’s and Stoke-on-Trent’s roads.

 

In 2016, The Partnership agreed to strengthen their governance structure so as to ensure their work continued to receive appropriate direction and scrutiny. Therefore, they established:- (i) a Strategic Board to oversee strategy and take responsibility for key financial decisions and scrutiny and; (ii) an Operational Board to review current local road safety issues and make recommendations to the Strategic Board.

 

Members heard that recorded road traffic casualties in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent had seen a significant decline from 370 Killed or Serious Injuries (KSI) and 3197 Slight Injuries in 2016 to 261 and 955 respectively during the year. However, they noted that some of this variation was attributed to changes in collision reporting and recording processes over recent years.

 

However, work was ongoing to ensure resources were directed appropriately based on detailed analysis of casualty numbers and trends which had confirmed a need to continue the focus on children, young drivers and motorcyclists. Evidence also supported the development of initiatives in relation to cyclists, older drivers and commercial vehicles.

 

Current initiatives included:- (i) the development of the Community Speed Watch scheme to further support communities who were concerned about the speed of traffic; (ii) identification of a dedicated resource to promote road safety information and education through communication and media channels and schools; (iii) upgrading some of the older fixed camera sites through a phased approach; (iv) modernisation of the camera van fleet; (v)  continued delivery of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme courses, such as the Speed Awareness Course and; (vi) a new Councillor led Neighbourhood Speed Check scheme to fast track access to speeding concern assessments.

 

During the full and wide-ranging discussion which ensued, Members gave detailed scrutiny to the work of the Partnership since their previous update in March 2023, asking questions, seeking clarification and raising areas of concern as necessary including:- (i) possible reasons for the significant reduction achieved in the Slight Injury category compared to the modest reduction in the KSI category; (ii) the dangers arising from pavement parking; (iii) the need for better engagement with parents in respect of deterring parking outside schools; (iv) how the SSRP can help identify and remove uninsured drivers from the Highway network; (v) the need for greater co-operation with neighbouring Authorities in respect of cross boarder accident blackspots; (vi) the success achieved by Driver Awareness Training courses in changing driving behaviour and; (vii) the various initiatives being aimed at newly qualified drivers.

 

In conclusion, Members welcomed the reductions in accident casualty statistics which had been achieved. However, they noted that the most recent data included in the report related to 2021 and expressed concern that without more up-to-date figures, the SSRP were unable to employ an evidence-based approach to their work. Therefore, the Chairman proposed that she writes to the Chief Constable, highlighting their concerns and asking whether there was any further assistance the Committee could give aimed at making more recent data available to the Partnership.

 

RESOLVED – (a) That the report be received and noted.

 

(b) That the trends illustrated by the Road Accident Casualty Statistics in the report and the work of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership be welcomed.

 

(c) That the performance of the Partnership continue to be monitored closely and further updates be brought to the Committee, as required.

 

(d) That the Chairman write to Staffordshire Police expressing the Committee’s concern over the absence of more recent accident casualty statistics and offering any support and assistance they could give in making the required data available in a timely manner.              

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