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Paper 25th May 2004 - LGRAS(04)1

LGRAS ( 04 ) 1 - OPTIONAL REDUCED REPORTING REQUIREMENT FOR ACCIDENTS WHICH ARE "SELF-REPORTED" BY THE PUBLIC

1 Introduction

1.1 This paper sets out the current position regarding the optional reduced "Stats 19" reporting requirement for accidents which are "self-reported" by members of the public. This option allows the use of "unknown" codes for many variables, and does not include the Contributory Factors. It is part of the "Stats 19" specification with effect from January 2005. We understand that the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland has decided not to adopt the self-completion form for self-reporting accidents at this time.

2 The optional reduced "Stats 19" reporting requirement for accidents which are "self-reported" by members of the public

2.1 Members of the Group will recall that, following the Quality Review of road accident statistics, a number of changes will be made to the "Stats 19" road accident statistics specification with effect from January 2005. Details of the changes were set out in "Stats 19" Road Accident Statistics Specification (2005) - a blue-covered document which was sent to Members of the Group (and non-members who receive LGRAS papers) under cover of Scott Brand's letter of 15 December 2003. Further copies of this document are available on request from the Secretary, and electronic versions of the material (some as Word documents, some as PDF files) are available from the Scottish Executive Transport Statistics Web site; go to: www.scotland.gov.uk/transtat and look under "Methods and Background".

2.2 One major change is the introduction of an optional reduced "Stats 19" requirement in the case of accidents which are "self-reported" by members of the public. If they wish, Police Forces may introduce a simplified form (which does not include the Contributory Factors) for members of the public to fill in themselves, with minimal assistance from Police Officers or staff, when they report an injury road accident at a Police Station. Such a form should contain almost the full range of "Stats 19" variables and values, but should also allow for the use of "unknown" codes for many variables, in those cases where the information is not available.

2.3 Some fields should be completed in all cases. Such fields are "highlighted" in grey in the electronic version of the indicative "self-reported accidents" form. Unfortunately, this "highlighting" disappeared from the copies of the form in "Stats 19" Road Accident Statistics Specification (2005). Therefore, versions of the indicative form which have better "highlighting" are attached to this paper.

2.4 Some of the fields which should be completed in all cases (notably those relating to accident location and casualty severity) will have to be checked by police staff, with reference to "free text" descriptions of the accident location and circumstances which should be provided by the member of the public (NB: such descriptions are not shown in the indicative forms, because they are not part of the "Stats 19" specification).

2.5 It is understood that, in England and Wales, a "national self-reporting form" will be produced, and will be made available for use by those Police Forces which decide to adopt this procedure. It may be possible for Police Forces to modify such a form to meet local needs.

3 Two points which should be noted

3.1 Members of the Group are asked to note two points about the optional reduced "Stats 19" reporting requirement for accidents which are "self-reported" by members of the public.

3.2 First, the Scottish Executive understands that the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland has decided not to adopt the self-completion form for self-reporting accidents at this time. The Executive believes that ACPOS's position is that they would wish to consider this matter in more detail once they have had the opportunity to examine the effectiveness of this option after it has been used for some time in those areas in England and Wales which decide to implement it.

3.3 Second, some of the fields which are not "highlighted" are particularly important for the purpose of producing national statistics (such as speed limit, type of vehicle, age and sex of driver, and age and sex of casualty). Should Police Forces wish, at a later date, to adopt the reduced reporting requirement, the Scottish Executive would appreciate it if such details could be obtained (or estimated) in as many cases as possible. In addition, some of the other fields may be of particular importance to local authority users of the data. Therefore, should Police Forces wish, at a later date, to adopt the reduced reporting requirement, and/or to introduce a "self-reporting" form, they should consult the Scottish Executive, and representatives of the local authorities in their areas, at an early stage in their planning, in order to agree the kinds of information which should be sought in the case of as many accidents as possible, and to discuss how a "self-reporting" form might best be designed (for example, in the light of developments in England).

4 Conclusion

4.1 Members of the Group are invited to:

  • note the current position on the optional reduced "Stats 19" reporting requirement for accidents which are "self-reported" by members of the public;
  • note that Police Forces should consult the Scottish Executive and local authority representatives should they wish, at a later date, to adopt the reduced reporting requirement and/or a "self-reporting" form;
  • ask any questions and raise any points that they have on this matter.