Driving a Minibus
MWSD-POL-15, April 2022
In Scouts, the safety of young people in our care is our number one priority. As an organisation, we also have a duty to equip our volunteers with the confidence, skills and knowledge to carry out their role safely.
All those involved in Scouting are accountable for and must demonstrate an ability and understanding that they are competent, through attending appropriate training, checking their understanding of instructions and information, and remaining current in these competencies. Whether that be taking a group Climbing, Kayaking or indeed driving a Minibus.
Driving a minibus is significantly different from driving a car and even very experienced drivers will benefit from some training and/or a refresher on the legalities of driving such a vehicle especially as the Highway Code regularly evolves. A minibus is not just larger, longer, wider and heavier than a car, its steering, cornering and braking characteristics are markedly different. You’ll also find that Minibuses are speed limited which many drivers won’t be used to. Another important difference is the number of passengers being carried. Unlike driving privately, drivers are also required to carry out vehicle checks so it’s vital that someone has shown you how to carry out these checks.
With all this in mind, the Mersey Weaver Board of Trustees have agreed with the Lead Volunteer (and recommended by The Scout Association), that in order to transport young people by minibus, the driver must have completed one of the following:
- MiDAS training (renewed every four years)
- A ROSPA approved minibus competency test (renewed every four years)
- Another Mersey Weaver approved minibus competency test (renewed every four years)
- Hold a PCV license or passed a separate (not inherited) D1 or D Driving Test as well as hold an ‘in date’ CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence)
This policy applies to all Groups and Units in Mersey Weaver regardless of who owns the vehicle. It also applies to any groups, units or organisations who hires one of our vehicles.
What is MiDAS?
MiDAS is the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme, organised by the Community Transport Association and used by many Councils, schools and other youth organisations.
The course is inexpensive and provides participants with the legal information and practical experience needed to drive a Minibus confidently. There is both a theory and a practical element. It allows parents to be assured that their children are in safe hands when being driven in a vehicle.
We ask that leaders complete the training to ensure the safety of young people and to give everybody the opportunity to gain experience driving a vehicle of this size with a qualified instructor.
The training takes up as little as three hours of your time and is not a test.
The safety training can be delivered on a group or individual basis and covers a number of areas:
- Legal Responsibilities of a Minibus Driver
- Passenger Safety
- Child Passenger Safety
- Driving for Safety and Economy
- Manual Handling Awareness
- Health & Safety Awareness
- Accident & Emergency Procedures
- Personal Safety for Drivers
The Driving Assessment
This is a 90 minute on-the-road driving assessment to ascertain practical driving skills. The Trainer/Assessor will identify issues that need to be addressed and encourage the delegate to improve their driving skills. This is not a test and its much more about providing you with the opportunity to become comfortable driving such a vehicle or brush up on your skills and identify any bad habits.
- A demonstration drive to show the standard required
- The opportunity to familiarise yourself with the vehicle
- An assessment of your driving skill and competence
If you hold a District appointment i.e. you are an Explorer Leader, ASU Member, DC/ADC we will pay for you to participate in the course either in full or a proportion of it depending on your role. If you hold an appointment in a Group, speak with your Group Scout Leader about funding the training.
We are extremely fortunate to have two Minibuses which are available to use for Scouting by our local groups/units and enable more adventurous activities and nights away experiences. They are also available to hire by groups/units outside our district provided they meet the requirements above.