Maintain the road you drive on (Highways)
In 2013/14 Gloucestershire invested £18m of revenue spend into routine maintenance of the highway and another £15m of capital expenditure into structural maintenance. This is not vastly different to the levels of funding that were invested 20 years ago, which is testament to how hard the industry has worked to improve efficiencies and drive quality performance.
Highways services have changed very little over the years in respect of the basic maintenance works that are required each year, potholes are repaired, gullies are cleaned, grass verges are cut, some roads are resurfaced and some roads are patched and every summer some roads are surface dressed (tar and chips).
The main change over the years has been the drive towards efficiency mostly through the introduction of technology. Today highway safety inspectors use tablet PC’s instead of paper to record the exact location of defects on the network with the information instantly transferred to an Operational Control Room where work planning takes place and jobs are then electronically sent to gangs on handheld (smart phone like) devices. This means that work can be planned geographically (reducing the amount of time gangs spend driving between repair sites) which means more potholes can be repaired each day.
Technology also has changed the way long term maintenance of roads is planned. Each year road condition surveys are carried out using high tech laser and video machines and the data is analysed using computer software resulting in a ‘map’ of the network scoring the condition. This information helps point engineers to which sites should be looked at for resurfacing or reconstruction but also which sites should be considered for preventative maintenance treatments. It also helps us to understand and measure the overall maintenance need and annual rate of deterioration across the whole County so that budgets can be set or the case made for additional funding.
Respond to emergencies on the road (Fire and Rescue)
Over the years the fire service has changed dramatically.
There is now greater emphasis on prevention work which has led to a reduction in the number of emergency calls attended, and the nature of those calls has also changed significantly with more involvement in rescue from road accidents and delivery of basic medical care.
Many of the lives that the Fire & Rescue Service save are the victims of road accidents. Our Firefighters are highly skilled and well equipped to deal with the aftermath of road accidents. We have specialist equipment to release people who are trapped in the wreckage of vehicles and work closely with others such as the Ambulance Service and Police.
Firefighters also get involved in road safety awareness work, often working with the Road Safety Partnership.
Make sure the trader isn’t dodgy when you buy a car (Trading Standards)
The Trading Standards Service ensures that a fair and safe trading environment exists in Gloucestershire. However, over the last 20 years the way businesses trade has changed, with more emphasis on sales over the internet, the opportunities open to scam consumers increasing and the methods used to do this becoming more difficult to investigate.
The Service is ‘intelligence led’ and does not respond to all enquiries received; instead the information from these enquiries and other intelligence is used to build a picture of illegal trading and to prioritise areas thought to be most detrimental to consumers. The most appropriate activity is then undertaken by the Service in order to deal with the illegal trading practice effectively. Consumer advice is provided on our behalf by the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.