February 2011 PACTS Newsletter
Driving for Better Business: Managing Risk, Improving Performance
Event Date: 9:30 am March 23, 2011
Closing Date: 5:00 pm March 22, 2011
Member Price: £210.00
Non-member Price: £240.00
VAT Exempt: No
81 Newgate Street
London EC1A 7AJ
As many as one in three road casualties may be injured while driving for work. This includes not just the drivers of heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches but also those who are driving cars on the way to and from business appointments. Risk on the road can and should be managed by employers in the same way as we think about dangerous equipment or slips, trips and falls.
For the last four years, Driving for Better Business, delivered by RoadSafe on behalf of the Department for Transport, has campaigned to raise awareness of the importance of work-related road safety in the business community and public sector by using advocates drawn from these communities to promote the business benefits of managing it effectively. Central to the campaign are 50 business champions – firms that are prepared to champion good practice by taking a business message to business.
This conference will highlight the achievements made by those organisations in cutting risk and improving performance. It will also highlight the resources available to organisations wishing to embark on a similar journey. The programme brings together a range of companies from multi-national to small enterprises and both the public and not for profit sectors. It aims to celebrate success and to identify continuing challenges for road safety in the next decade.
Regulator tells rail industry to learn lessons now
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has said that the rail industry must learn lessons from recent hostile weather conditions now so that it can quickly improve performance.
ORR has written to Network Rail and train operators calling for rapid improvements after the rail network struggled to keep passengers properly informed during the recent severe weather.
The regulator will publish initial findings from its independent review of how the rail industry is meeting its code of practice on passenger information during disruption in the coming weeks.
To read ORR’s letter to Network Rail in full: http://bit.ly/ep8GTS
To read ORR’s letter to the National Task Force in full: http://bit.ly/eClRbh
For ORR’s views on passenger information during disruption, see the latest issue of ORR Review: http://bit.ly/fwoIA4
ORR consults on regulation of Borders Railway
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has launched a consultation on its approach to the regulation of Borders Railway – the proposed new rail line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank.
The 35-mile route will provide a new rail line between Edinburgh and the Borders region, connecting with Network Rail’s main network at a point south of the existing Newcraighall station, near Millerhill. The project is being taken forward by Transport Scotland, under public-private partnership.
ORR expects to regulate Borders Railway in broadly the same way as the national network, whilst acknowledging the differences between it and the national network – working to support a safe railway which provides value for money to passengers and taxpayers by making best use of capacity.
Responses to the 6 week consultation are sought by 21 February 2011. Full details are available on the ORR website: http://bit.ly/hGID48
Rail performance update
The number of rail passenger complaints continues to fall according to new statistics. Latest figures, published in the updated rail performance chapter of National Rail Trends, show that the number of passenger complaints decreased to 35 per 100,000 journeys between July and September 2010 (Q2 2010-11), down from 45 per 100,000 journeys when compared to the same period last year.
The updated safety chapter of National Rail Trends – published alongside the rail performance chapter – also highlights the number of times that trains passed signals at danger fell to 62 during July to September 2010, a 27.1% decrease compared to the same period last year.
To view the updated rail performance and safety chapters of National Rail Trends in full visit: http://bit.ly/ar5oo
PACTS Comments on Local Transport White Paper
PACTS welcomes the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which has been set up to encourage active travel, with the aims of reducing carbon emissions and increasing levels of physical activity.
However it must be recognised that improved safety is vital for active travel and for the achievement of the second obligatory objective for projects applying for funding:
‘reduce carbon emissions, for example by bringing about an increase in the volume and proportion of journeys made by low carbon, sustainable modes including walking and cycling.’
Therefore safety should have been included within the primary objectives. The application guidance states that proposals which improve safety will be favourably considered, but it is not compulsory.
1. The Government white paper “Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon” is available at: http://bit.ly/ec66qt
2. The Local Sustainable Transport Fund guidance is available at: http://bit.ly/g3igQK
“Parliamentary questions are tools that can be used by Members of Parliament to seek information or to press for action. They oblige Ministers to explain and defend the work, policy decisions and actions of their Departments.”
All transport safety parliamentary questions and PACTS comments can be viewed on the website.
This question was asked on the week beginning 10th January:
Road Safety: Finance
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the change in funding from his Department to local authorities through the Road Safety Grant has been in the financial year 2010-11. 
Mike Penning: The Government have made clear that an urgent priority is to tackle the UK’s record deficit in order to restore confidence in our economy and support the recovery. As a contribution to addressing the record deficit, we therefore have reduced the previous plans for local authority funding in 2010-11.
Central Government’s financial support grant to local authorities is provided through a variety of mechanisms, such as formula grant (including the revenue support grant), specific grants and specific capital grants.
The Government are clear that local government needs increased flexibility to take decisions locally. It has therefore retained the most flexible funding (formula grant) for 2010-11 at the level approved previously by Parliament (£29 billion). We have also lifted restrictions on how local government spends its money by removing ring-fences.
We expect local authorities to be able to make savings from efficiency measures, eliminating waste and, where necessary, reducing spending in areas that are lower priorities for their communities. The fact that certain grants have been chosen for reduction over others, does not mean that the Government expect there to be a direct correlation between grant reductions and local authority budget changes. For example, road safety grant was reduced as this grant was spread evenly across all local authorities, not because this was considered an area of lower priority spending.
Therefore the road safety area based revenue funding for 2010-11 has been reduced by about 26.6% from approximately £77.3 million to approximately £56.7 million. The road safety capital grant for 2010-11 is not being paid and had been planned to total about £17.2 million.
PACTS comments: The complete cutting of the Road Safety Capital Grant and the significant reduction in the Road Safety Revenue Grant has left road safety facing a double squeeze, as it competes with other services for a reduced quantity of general funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government. This is having a direct and significant impact on road safety at a local level. PACTS has had feedback from representatives in local authorities who have given examples such as the cutting of school crossing patrols and cancelled education campaigns. This feedback is part of research for a follow up report to Tackling the Deficit, which looks at the effect of the deficit and deficit-reducing measures on road safety. This second report on Tackling the Deficit will be published mid-February, and will include a discussion on moving forward as well as an update on the current situation.
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