It is important for any scheme to be evidence-based, both in terms of the market to be targeted and the messages to be conveyed. There are many cases of well-intentioned schemes which do not meet this criterion.
Innovation is one of the two criteria referred to in the PMIRSA mission statement. It does not necessarily imply that the particular activity must never have been practised previously. Innovation can simply refer to a local initiative as well as to a brand new project.
This is the second criterion referred to in the mission statement. Essentially, no scheme or project should be considered for an award unless its impact has been evaluated and there is clear evidence of it having had a beneficial effect on road safety. The impact may not be linked to an reduction in casualties and collisions, but may focus on changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.
It is often challenging to evaluate interventions by measuring a change in road casualty numbers or rates due to the difficulty linking changes in casualties specifically to one intervention. It would take a long term, complex and relatively costly evaluation to establish a clear link between an intervention and reduction in collisions or casualties. Therefore, it is important to relate the evaluation to the specific aims and objectives of the scheme or innovation and that these are realistic and achievable, such as a change in knowledge, attitudes, skills or behaviour. The amount spent on evaluation should be proportionate to the overall cost associated with the intervention.
It is invariably the case that no initiative is likely to have a positive effect unless it is a committed initiative over a period of time. Thus, the judges will look for evidence of long-term commitment, durability, and willingness to be involved over a period of years. This is important because, in general, judges should avoid recognising schemes which, however innovative, have not yet been fully rolled out, or where there is no clear evidence of a willingness to commit for the long term.
Some projects are not capable of replication because they are single national initiatives. Most, however, are capable of being reproduced by others and the fundamental purpose of PMIRSA should be to show interested professionals how particular initiatives have worked in reducing accidents. It is therefore an important criterion in terms of assessing eligibility.
Previous reference has been made to the need for a scheme to be durable. It is also necessary to demonstrate that it is adequately financed to achieve its goals over the period set for it.
No matrix of set criteria is a substitute for the judgement of individual judges who are appointed precisely for the particular level of expertise which they bring to our deliberations. Nonetheless, the criteria will be used to distinguish those schemes which are prima facie eligible from those which ought either to be declined or deferred for a subsequent re-evaluation.