Community Highway Volunteers
Here is an update regarding the Community Highway Volunteers. I have tried to include as much information as possible but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
The Community Highway Volunteer Initiative
Every day, non-emergency defects are reported to the County Council by letter, telephone call to our contact centre and via our web pages. Some of these non-emergency defects have sufficient information to confirm that they are not a West Sussex County Council responsibility, are not at intervention level, or to ‘raise a job’. However, the vast majority of reported defects do not have sufficient information and require a visit to the location of the reported defect by a Community & Economic Development (C&ED) Community Officer(CO) in order to gather the necessary information required to make a decision regarding the report. This is both time-consuming and costly.
The recruitment of Community Highway Volunteers (CHV’s) will allow the necessary information to be gathered by a local volunteer, precluding the need for a CO to travel to inspect all reported defects.
Some reported defects will need to be inspected by a CO, due to the location or the complexity of the defect;whether a volunteer is deployed or a CO undertakes the inspection themselves will be the decision of the CO.
Other Inspection Work
Please be aware that CHV’s must only inspect defects specifically allocated by the Community Officer (CO). If a CHV chooses to inspect and report a defect without receiving a request,that is their choice, but they cannot be asked by us to maintain a general‘overview’ inspection of their area.
To reiterate – whilst inspecting a defect at the request of a CO, a CHV will be under County Council insurance;the inspection will require formal recording by the CO and the CHV must wear a high-visibility waistcoat throughout inspection.
The location where a volunteer resides or works is very significant to this initiative as they will only be asked to inspect defects within reasonable walking distance of home or work. This eliminates the necessity to pay ‘out of pocket’ travelling expenses which would render the initiative uneconomically viable. The agreed distance to a defect may be individual to each volunteer or the location itself. For example, some volunteers may be comfortable with walking two miles to inspect a defect and others will only be comfortable with up to one mile. If a volunteer resides or works in a small village,they will be able to take responsibility for the whole area of the village,whilst those volunteers based in a larger village or town will need to have an exact proportion of the area assigned to them. Unless an area has a high ratio of reported defects, it is not advisable to have more than one CHV assigned to an area, as this may lead to limited use of volunteers.
Training and Equipping CHV’s
All CHV’s will attend a formal training session which will last around three hours. The aim is to run training sessions in different locations to ensure potential CHV’s do not have to travel too far to reach them. Initial travel expenses will be available for CHV’s to attend formal and Community-Officer-shadowing training sessions.
Prior to or shortly after attending this session, CHV’s will be asked to supply a recent head and shoulders photograph and the Volunteer Development Team will use this to produce an identification card which will look similar to WSCC staff I.D. cards.
The training session will include information about how we work, why this initiative is so important, and how to inspect and record details of a reported defect. CHV’s will be given a pack of supporting information and a Health and Safety Pocket Book specifically produced for this volunteer role. CHV’s will also be given an inspection kit either at the formal session or shortly after.
The kit will contain:
An identification card
A high-visibility waistcoat with sleeves*
A tape measure and tiger-tail
A pen and clipboard
A small number of blank Recording Defect Inspection Forms
*CHV’s must wear their allocated high-visibilty waistcoat with sleeves each time they inspect a defect on our behalf.
Following this formal session, the CHVwill be given a self-assessment form to take home and complete. CO’swill arrange for each CHV to shadow them whilst they are undertaking an inspection session; the CHV will bring the completed self-assessment form with them to this session. Following this, if a CO considers the CHV has understood sufficient information, they will then be able to complete an inspection independently and can be given their certificate. If a CHV does not appear confident, a further shadowing session can be arranged.
A request to inspect a defect will be sent to the CHV by email (a phone call to state an email has been sentmay also be necessary).
The request to inspect a defect will be sent by email to the CHV along with an electronic version of the Defect Inspection Recording Sheet with the ‘Office Only’ section completed. The CHV will complete the rest of the form. The request must also contain sufficient information for the CHV to locate the defect. The CHV will either print the Defect Inspection Recording Sheet and take it to the location of the defect to complete, or take a blank Defect Inspection Recording Sheet to record notes if they do not have access to a printer. The CHV may then return the completed Defect Inspection Record Sheet to WSCC by scanning the information and emailing it, if they have access to a scanner, or by retyping the information on the electronic form and emailing it.
Please see the attached which includes a Role Description for the Community Highway Volunteers and an application form should you wish to or know any one that would like to become one.