Blaenau Gwent Borough Council
Blaenau Gwent Borough Council operates a fleet of more than 200 vehicles. The Council has recently employed a new Transport Manager and when this member of staff took over this role, he suspected that driver training was not as effective as it should be. A review of driver training was carried out and this concluded that improvements were needed. There was little structure to driver education and training tended to be reactive following incidents rather than being aimed at preventing accidents. The frequency of accidents was also higher than expected.
The Council introduced a comprehensive driver training programme with the objective of being both proactive and reactive to drivers' education needs.
New rules were brought in to govern the introduction of new drivers. The rules state that no one will be permitted to drive a Council vehicle unless they have had a valid licence for at least two years. In addition, all new drivers have to sit an in-house driver assessment from the transport department.
A buddying system has been introduced where newly employed drivers are not permitted to drive specialist vehicles without having spent two to three weeks shadowing an experienced driver. After the buddying period, drivers are given a further assessment to ensure they are fit to drive.
Specific training has been put in place to ensure drivers are appropriately skilled to drive minibuses. It is a requirement of the Council's insurance policy that all minibus drivers have a Minibus Driver's Assessment Scheme (MiDAS) qualification. These qualifications are offered by the Community Transport Association and focus upon the driver's responsibilities, the needs of the passengers and other safety aspects.
The Council has put policies in place to be more reactive once accidents occur. If drivers are involved in a major accident or three minor incidents within 18 months, they must pass an additional driving assessment before being allowed to drive Council vehicles again.
The major changes to driver training were consulted upon with trade unions and the Council's insurance company. The training requirements are set out in the driver's handbook which all drivers have to sign to say they have read and understood it.
Record keeping has improved to ensure all drivers have the appropriate qualifications. All records are held on a central transport database. MiDAS qualifications are valid for four years and the Council's training database will automatically alert the Transport Department when a driver's training is due.
The Fleet Manager reports that there has been a small reduction in the costs due to accidents since the introduction of the new training programme.
The Fleet Manager claims the Council's focus on safety and training has been an important factor in the Council's fleet insurance premiums remaining constant for the last three years in a market that has seen many fleet's insurance premiums rise.
Drivers have also provided positive feedback on the courses they have attended.
Contact Name: Neil Hughes
Contact Role: Transport Manager
Contact Telephone: 01495 355629
Contact Email: email@example.com
Contact Address: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
Barleyfield Industrial Estate