Paula Wellings, Casualty Reduction Manager, Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service

Topic: working in partnership with the Fire Service

Paula Wellings’ career in road safety spans almost 30 years, all of which has been spent in Cornwall.

Originally her remit was as road safety manager of the education, training and awareness functions within Cornwall Council. In 2005 this extended to include a wider casualty reduction emphasis building strong partnership working across many public, private and civic society sectors (locally, regionally and nationally).

During 2010 Paula identified a need to improve her team’s evidence base particularly in relation to the high risk road user groups, their relationship with deprivation and how to maximise behaviour change. In conjunction with Plymouth University and Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), Paula recruited and managed a KTP associate to carry out the research and then engage with professionals from the Road Casualty Reduction Partnership on ways to target the evidenced issues. This initiative culminated in a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for the Behaviour Change Techniques methodology that ensued.

In 2013, the road safety team transferred to Cornwall Council’s Community Safety Service, which encompasses the Crime and Disorder team and Fire & Rescue Service, and in 2015 the fire prevention and road safety teams merged under Paula’s management.

This recent merger provides opportunities, especially in informing road casualty reduction evidence based practice and capitalising on fire crews’ enthusiasm and resources.

Paula admits that she and her team have by no means ‘cracked it’ but they are, more than ever, focussing on the need to be able to evidence effective outcomes, through structured evaluative processes, as well as demonstrate value for money and return on investment especially through enabling others to deliver targeted and effective initiatives and campaigns.