If your community group is running any kind of community transport scheme, you are going to need volunteer drivers.
Basic questions to consider:-
- what do you need your volunteer drivers to do? Will they be required to do more than simply driving? What will their duties be?
- who will be their passengers? Was your community group set up specifically to help a particular type or person – older people perhaps or people with disabilities?
Are your passengers classed as ‘vulnerable’ people?
If your minibus will be providing transport on a regular basis for individuals who are either:-
- under 18 years of age (that is children) or
- aged 16 or over and in receipt of one or more type of care, health or welfare service (that is ‘protected’ adults)
your community group may need to enrol with the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS) to access scheme disclosure records and your drivers would also be required to join the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme before they start.
You should also read the Community Toolkit sections Being an Empoyer and Volunteering, and follow the guidelines on the recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers.
Ensuring your drivers are licensed to drive
Any driver that you recruit will need to have passed their driving test and hold a valid vehicle license. You may want to consider setting a requirement that they have a minimum number of years driving experience and you will certainly need to have a policy on drivers over the age of 70.
Minibuses and Buses
Most vehicle licenses will allow someone to drive a minibus up to 16 seats, as long as your community group holds a minibus or community bus permit and your drivers are:-
- over 21 years of age
- driving for your community group on a voluntary basis (payment of out-of-pocket expenses may be permissible but no other payment or consideration should be accepted)
Drivers over 70 years of age will need to make a special application to renew their licence accompanied by a detailed medical report.
Drivers using their own cars
If your community transport scheme includes volunteers using their own vehicles you will still be responsible for ensuring that they are licensed to drive.
If your community group or organisation is running a community transport scheme there are a number of very good reasons for investing in training your volunteer drivers:-
- it is best practice to apply the requirements of Health and Safety legislation to your volunteers in the same way that you would a paid member of staff. The Health and Safety legislation sets out a requirement for organisations to ensure that their staff are properly informed, instructed and trained, and to protect the health and welfare of anyone involved in your organisations activities and services
- training will increase your drivers’ awareness of safety issues
- having trained drivers will increase the safety of your passengers
- your drivers will be encouraged to re-assess their driving style, which could make your vehicle more fuel efficient
- training will also encourage your drivers to be more aware of the condition of the vehicle and to alert your group to maintenance and safety requirements
- if your group is tendering to run a local bus service, training for your drivers will be a contractual obligation
There are two main types of training schemes available for community transport schemes:-
Minibus Drivers Awareness Scheme (MiDAS)
The Minibus Drivers Awareness Scheme (MiDAS) an award winning, and nationally recognised, assessment and training scheme for minibus drivers in the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors.
Passenger Assistant Training Scheme (PATS)
PATS provides a nationally recognised standard of training to people whose role it is to provide care and assistance to passengers travelling by road.
Other Community Toolkit Topics to look at:
Further sources of information
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Last Updated 05/09/2012 12:46