ECR Multilateral Middle Manager Conference Gatwick

Nine countries attended, including The Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Hungary, Romania and Great Britain, and the conference took place at the Hotel Europa in Gatwick – aptly named, and centrally located for ease of access by the delegates.

The aim of the conference was offer managers the chance to exchange their thoughts on pan-European road traffic enforcement, and open discussions on methods used across Europe to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured. The delegates were led on a “journey,” from examining what the impacts of road deaths on families, societies and economies are, to learning about the systems and tools that the represented Member States use, ending by examining how we measure if our Enforcement agencies really are successful.

Ann de Vries, recently appointed as the new ECR Co-ordinator for Europe, attended the conference as an impartial observer. She said that it was “…an exciting step forward in ensuring European countries work together to tackle road safety.” Being the first exchange that she had been on, she found that meeting representatives from the different member states, and experiencing a road check for the first time were the most valuable aspects of the conference for her.

Presentations were made by VOSA Directors Alex Fiddes and Kevin Rooney, and a selection of Senior Operational Managers. This included John Clarke, Alan Wilson and Area Manager Richard Denby, who was also the course leader. The group was split into four groups for workshop sessions, each group led by either Caroline Hicks, Alan Wilson, Martin Harris or Richard Denby. The United Kingdom would like to extend thanks to Dutch colleagues Frank Schouwaert and Ronald Henny for their presentations, and their participation and leadership during group work sessions, it was an accolade to the spirit of ECR that the conference was held both for, and by, a cross section of ECR member state representatives. 

A representative from the charity Road Peace, Cynthia Barlow, was invited to speak to the conference about the impact of road deaths to the group. She commented that “these catastrophic, life-changing events for us are not ‘accidents’; they are usually entirely foreseeable, avoidable and preventable collisions. I was grateful for the opportunity to explain to everyone at the conference the reality of what happens to us when someone is killed, and use that knowledge to see more clearly the ‘bigger picture’ of the context and purpose of their work.

Ann de Vries will be presenting a report on the conference to ECR this autumn. We hope that Euro Controle Route will consider continuing this train of work, and that managers will have the chance to take part in a similar conference in the future. A decision will be made later on this year.

The United Kingdom would like to extend thanks to all presenters, delegates and staff who worked extremely hard to make the first ECR Management conference a great success.

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