Many organisations run one or more minibuses or, on occasion, have need to hire a minibus. For example, all secondary schools, for the transport of their class outings or sports teams, organisations such as ‘dial-a-ride’ & taxi firms & many charities that transport those with physical or mental impairments, in particular the elderly.
Nowadays ‘health & safety’ has become a major factor in the legal set-up of any business or organisation, particularly schools & even charities.
It has, therefore, become necessary for these various organisations to ensure that any employee or volunteer wishing to drive their minibus, whether paid or unpaid, undergoes an assessment of their ability to drive a minibus. Furthermore, to be fully aware of the ‘duty of care’ requirements & implications involved in the responsibility of driving the public. For example safety equipment & its use, such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits & wheelchair security equipment.
Assessments are conducted, usually, before the individual commences their driving duties & then every 3 years to ensure their capabilities have not deteriorated. A copy of the ‘assessment form’ is provided to the organisation or school as evidence and authorisation of competence to drive the minibus.
Insurance companies, as a rule, provide discounts to those organisations that undergo a rigorous & verifiable assessment &, where necessary, training programme.
Here in Worthing I have, for over 12 years, assessed all the minibus drivers for the local charity ‘Guildcare’ who provide a minibus service for the elderly to & from all their ‘care centres’, also the local ‘Alzheimer’s society’, who run a minibus, have employed me since 2006 to assess all their volunteer drivers. Several of the schools, in and around Sussex, employ me to assess the teachers who need to drive the school minibus.
Although those individuals, who have to undergo an assessment, suffer differing degrees of nervousness at having their driving tested, they soon realise the importance, for themselves & the public, of ensuring a good standard of driving & also appreciate that it is conducted from an educational approach rather than a judgemental & critical standpoint.
The feedback, that I almost always receive, is that of gratitude at having their more dangerous driving propensities highlighted & that they were totally unaware of the potential danger inherent in their style of driving.
It is also rare to not be able to issue a ‘permit’. For those, who do not demonstrate a safe enough standard to receive a ‘permit’, a training programme is discussed & planned to attain the required standard.