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Partnerships in Peril??

November 16, 2009

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New Milton, England – As they struggle to make their financial books balance a number of UK Local Authorities have flagged up likely cuts in road safety expenditure for 2010-11 and beyond.

Apart from the locally levied Council Tax Local Authorities also receive funding for transport, including road safety, from the UK Government via regional funding and local transport plan allocations. This funding is under threat with cuts of £2.1bn being predicted thus it is expected that Local Authorities will have little choice but to cut back expenditure on transport and transport related activities.

Road safety insiders are expecting that Local Authority Road Safety Partnerships (RSP’s) will bear the brunt of any cuts, with one Midlands Authority already indicating that a cut of £1 million is possible they may well be right.

RSP’s grew from Safety Camera Partnerships and can include resources from road safety, the Highways Agency, the Police, Fire & Rescue Services, public health and National Health Service Trusts. Designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for community safety issues RSP’s have been successfully in engaging with local stakeholders and communities, effectively allowing road safety teams and other agencies to reach parts of the community previously closed to them.

This success has however come at considerable financial cost. Originally set up as loose partnerships with personnel simple co-operating and coordinating initiatives a number of RSP’s have grown into semi-autonomous organisations with their own management and offices.

In some authorities costs have spiralled upwards dramatically with elected council members expressing concerns over costs, control and the number of retired police and fire service personnel that people RSP’s.  As one said “it does appear that its jobs for the boys and girls and in some cases it is”.

Difficult choices ahead, will it be the RSP’s people or the campaigns that are cut, and how will this affect motorcycle safety. Will the hard-fought for Local Motorcycle Forums founder? We may be able to do without the local safety campaigns but we will see BikeSafe cut. It is currently funded from numerous sources including Local Authorities and the Police. BikeSafe grew up in the good times when funding was plentiful, there is a tendency to take it for granted, let’s make sure it survives the hard times. After all it saves lives while cost cutting risks them.

© Back Roads Rider 2009

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