Castle Minibus sets out its strategy to make minibus safety and compliance easy, affordable and evidencable; easier for all staff to understand, dramatically reduce insurance premiums and keep necessary records to evidence a robust minibus safety system.                                                                                                                                          

Castle Minibus are Champions of Minibus Safety. They have pioneered new services and tailormade packages to not only educate schools on minibus safety but provide services designed to make compliance easy, affordable and evidenceable.

Castle are leaders in their industry because they are not looking to just rent, lease or sell minibuses. They care passionately about the safety and legality of the vehicles they sell, and the staff members who drive them, which is why they do not deal with ‘light-weight’ minibuses. Castle saw that schools were being put at risk because of the lack of provision of minibus compliance education and services, so they moved quickly to help mitigate that risk and increase the safety of children and their teachers throughout the UK.

How is Castle making minibus compliance easy?

  1. By writing and delivering the Minibus Compliance Course, approved by RoSPA in 2018, to educate schools about what their commitments are under a Section 19 Permit. The course helps drivers understand they are not just driving a large car, which will help to reduce incidents. It covers understanding what permits are required and what the school’s legal obligations are. It explains the driver’s responsibilities, liabilities, and licences so they can protect themselves and their school’s reputation, and it helps with planning for emergencies and any ISI or DVSA inspections and enquiries.
  2. A FREE app called STRIDA. This app allows teachers and site staff to easily complete daily and weekly minibus checks via the app and for those checks to be recorded and managed.
  3. An online driver risk assessment and training programme, CODA. Schools can easily assess their driver’s ability online, quickly, and reliably, with additional online training built-in.
  1. Nationwide 10-week safety inspections by qualified independent engineers who complete inspections on-site. You do not have to be a Castle vehicle customer to take advantage of these services.
  2. The Compliance Brochure: a straightforward online document, that lays all your options out for you in an easy to understand way.

How is Castle making compliance affordable?

  1. By investing in taking the Minibus Compliance Course online to allow multiple users to achieve compliance certification without taking time out of school.
  2. Partnering with insurance broker, James Brown and Sons (Somerset) Ltd, who recognise that a Castle Minibus client is less likely to have an incident because of Castle Minibus’ high safety standards, especially if they have completed the MCC.
  3. James Brown and Sons have negotiated insurance rates that reflect the reduced risk that holders of the MCC represent and even allow a further 10% discount for Castle customers, all of which could offset the cost of the MCC.
  4. Castle have launched a monthly compliance payment plan to help schools access the most important compliance services; staff education, vehicle maintenance and driver safety which will save schools at least £120 a year.

How is Castle making compliance evidenceable?

  1. The Minibus Compliance Course is approved by RoSPA and is a certified course so participants that receive an 80% pass rate or more in each of the four sections covered can download a certificate to prove they have understood each area of compliance and then a final test which completes the course.
  2. Both STRIDA, the free app, and CODA (Castle’s online driver assessment programme) has a dashboard that enables schools to record and export information. The online driver assessment dashboard allows schools and Trusts to monitor the progress of their drivers through additional training and any change to their risk levels. STRIDA enables schools to immediately identify an issue with a vehicle and record when that is remedied.
  3. 10-week 85-point safety inspections provides a report that is given to the school to be filed which can also be emailed to Academy Trusts or any head offices if needed.
  4. Castle also covers the other records (and plans) that must be kept i.e. licence and eyesight checks in the MCC, so schools understand what is required of them and how long these records should legally be kept for.

Chris Maynard, Managing Director of Castle Minibus comments ‘The majority of schools we encounter have massive knowledge gaps when it comes to minibus compliance. This is the first hurdle to a school not having a robust minibus safety system in place and is why we developed the Minibus Compliance Course. Once schools understand that services like 10-week safety inspections and evidence of driver training are a ‘must-have’ not a ‘maybe have’ that is when we can make an impact on safety.

Compliance and safety go hand in hand and what Castle aims to do is educate schools in minibus compliance and then, as the trusted advisor, provide the services that will not only keep them safe but help dramatically reduce their insurance premiums.’