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Road Safety Time Bank

20 April 2008

The Road Safety Time Bank gives road safety and casualty reduction professionals the opportunity to learn from the work of a broad spectrum of their peers. Time Bank members will gain access to the sort of real-world knowledge, expertise and best practice needed to help improve performance and add quality and breadth to local service delivery. In other words, the first ever central point of contact developed by the road safety profession for the road safety profession.

It is a very simple process. Members agree to offer their expertise in areas where they have experience, expertise and competence – and are free to ask for assistance on any subject offered by other members.

The Time Bank works on a no-fee basis – it costs its users only time. Whatever time members receive from others in the Time Bank is what they are asked to give back.

If you have something to share and have something to learn – and everybody does - then you need to be a member of the Time Bank, potentially the largest and most efficient learning resource in UK road safety.

How the Time Bank came about

One of the obligations of attaining government Beacon status is that recipients must develop and share a legacy product.Working as a partnership collaboration the six Road Safety Beacon authorities formed a Board of managers to develop, control and direct a unique knowledge transfer website called Time Bank.

The Board consists of the representatives from the following organisations: Devon, Knowsley, Lincolnshire , Norfolk , Northamptonshire, Nottingham City , DfT and LARSOA.

A major feature of the Project Plan is to fully establish the Time Bank and then hand over the management, development and ownership to a professional body with the resources and road safety expertise required to ensure long term commitment.LARSOA were approached at an early stage of development and have provisionally agreed to manage the Time Bank with effect from 1st April 2009 .

What is the Road Safety Time Bank?

There exists a large and diverse skills, knowledge and service base within the road safety profession across the country and overseas.There is also a long history of some highway authorities seeking out the expertise of other authorities on an ad-hoc basis.Sometimes this is help given by one officer to another to further a single project.On other occasions the assistance is on a larger scale and affects whole teams –as in the case of Best Value Reviews for example.

This mostly happens on a goodwill basis and can often involve the same stable of teams that have reputations for being expert or experienced in particular fields.Although this has provided many benefits it can result in a great deal of capacity and excellence remaining unrecognised and unshared.Reliance on a minority of ‘leading’ authorities means that alternative but no less excellent approaches can easily be overlooked.

There is a great deal of expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm amongst road casualty reduction professionals in the UK – and there is need to ensure that none of it remains hidden, and the opportunities to share this knowledge are not restricted.

The Road Safety Time Bank concept is to map the total skills, knowledge and service capacity of road casualty reduction teams across the UK and to encourage and manage the ‘trading’ of time and expertise between large numbers of road casualty reduction teams.The Road Safety Time Bank will ensure that any casualty reduction team is able to access a far greater breadth of support and expertise from a network of professionals working in the same field.

The ‘cost’ of accessing the network of people in Time Bank is only to invest the same amount of time supporting others as a member organisation receives for itself.For example, an organisation that takes 10 days of training, development or advice from the Time Bank will be required to make up to 10 days of its time available to other members.The Time Bank asks only that members give support in subject areas in which they feel they have most to offer, and they are never obliged to offer more than they receive.

How is the Time Bank going to progress?

Promotion of the Time Bank, and support to organisations signing up for the first time, will be provided by a consultant funded from a DfT Partnership Grant fund.We feel it’s important that new members are guided through the Time Bank so that they can see who is in there, what they are offering, and what the advantages are of active involvement.

At the RoSPA Congress in February 2008 the Time Bank was officially launched, and now has 65 UK highway authorities using the system.Over the next six months we will be working with all of the local highway authorities and encouraging them to sign up and start using the Time Bank.Towards the end of August 2008 we will then extend the system to include the police, fire and rescue services and other road safety partners

In March 2009 LARSOA aim to integrate the project into its own service range.

So how does it work?

Each member of the Time Bank creates a “profile” and it is that profile which helps members to find what and who they need. The “profile” comprises some standard information: for example, the type and size of the organisation; road network types; KSI history etc – that allows members to do some quick searches for organisations similar to their own if that is what they want.The bulk of the “profile”, however, details everything that the member is offering to the Time Bank, what they need from the Time Bank, and any additional information, products or services that they think may be of interest to members.

Members will be able to make a request for time support from any other member, comment on the support they get and adjust the type and amount of support they are offering.They will also be able to upload documents, links and resources that they think will be of interest without the need for “support’’ – such as strategy documents, case studies or business plans.

Will members ever be asked to pay for any service they receive through the Time Bank? No. The Time Bank “trades” in time, not money and members will only ever have to give back the time that they have received. No money changes hands.

The Time Bank can be found at www.roadsafetyhub.co.uk and enquiries about signing up can be made through the project manager Simon Mills at:beacon@northamptonshire.gov.uk

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