OBSERVERS – Q&A
Observing & my Associate
Q: What information does my Associate get before I see them?
New Associates get welcome packs from both IAM RoadSmart and CCAM. These include:
· Advanced Riding Course logbook
· CCAM Associate FAQ
Q: What key points do I need to remember as an Observer?
· Remember to include the verbal disclaimer in your pre-ride brief on every observed ride and ensure you have an up-to-date document declaration form - both are needed to validate the 3rd party insurance provided by IAMRS for observing.
· In line with IAMRS guidance, Observers should not suggest a likely positive test result to Associates. We all know that anything can happen on test day and it's important that Associates are not led to expect a particular outcome. This also applies to check rides and progress checks. Clearly if there is an aspect of the ride that would result in a definite failure (e.g. legality) then that should be communicated. Otherwise, please keep comment to 'you are ready / not yet ready to take the test' and the ride or check ride report feedback should do the rest. · Please send your ride reports to email@example.com along with any useful additional information about your Associate’s progress. This email address forwards to both Associate Coordinator and Chief Observer.
· IAMRS has emphasised their commitment to values and inclusion. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and with respect. IAMRS expects us to be friendly, welcoming and inclusive of all and for individuals to take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
Q: What’s the point of sending in our ride reports?
While IAMRS requires us to complete ride reports for associates, it also helps us in other ways to have up to date reports. They enable the associate coordinator to see associate progress and plan for future allocation. It's also helpful to be able to compare ride reports with both check ride reports and test reports to assess consistency between all.
Q: What is the policy on use of radios or Bluetooth intercom with Associates?
IAM RoadSmart supports use of radios/intercoms at three ‘levels’:
1. Giving route directions only.
2. In addition, giving a commentary to the Associate while you are leading.
3. In addition, giving guidance to the Associate while on the move.
IAMRS does not support ‘duplex’ communication at the current time – i.e. communication must be one-way from Observer to Associate only.
Observers must be validated to the required level for insurance purposes. Validation paperwork will be held by CCAM.
CCAM supports radio/intercom validation for experienced observers, primarily at Level 1 and at other levels on a case-by-case basis. In normal circumstances without restrictions on the exchange of physical materials, the check ride team will use a radio or intercom for providing directions when carrying out check rides.
If you’re not sure whether you are already validated, you can check by emailing the Chief Observer.
If you are interested in validating for radio / intercom use then please email the Chief Observer.
Q: Can I use a camera when Observing?
Dash cams are in widespread use on the road and there is no legal reason why Associate or Observer cannot use cameras for their own protection while out. Video footage can be a beneficial supplement to verbal and written feedback. How it used is more nuanced and we offer some good practice guidelines here.
You should at minimum notify your Associate that you use a camera. If you want to use the footage to assist with Observing then you should agree with the Associate how it will be stored, named and used:
· Remember our GDPR obligations: identifying information we hold relating to Associates must be deleted once they have completed their ARC.
· If you want to make footage available for the Associate to view, consider uploading it as a private or unlisted video to YouTube.
· Blur out identifying information such as number plates if you have the facility to do so.
· Use a file naming convention that does not include identifying information about the Associate.
· If you want to use the footage for other purposes – for example, use at an Observer Day, then please get written permission from your Associate.
IAM RoadSmart has released guidance for use of recording devices when Observing and during test. It clearly states that candidate footage cannot be used to dispute a test result.
Q: When should I arrange a check ride or progress check for my Associate?
Observers can request a progress or pre-test check ride at any time, however we offer all Associates a progress check after 6 sessions regardless of readiness for test.
There are three possible outcomes:
· Associate is ready for test – submit.
· Associate will be ready for test with a small number of additional sessions to focus on specific areas.
· Associate is not ready for test and will need an unspecified number of additional sessions.
In line with IAMRS guidance, we will not provide a likely test result following a check ride unless it would be a clear fail due to a safety or legal issue.
All Observers are encouraged to shadow check rides with their Associates where practical.
Q: How many sessions should I offer my Associate?
The number of sessions needed to be test ready is highly individual but the average is 6-8.
It’s rare but not unheard of to have an Associate who needs only a few sessions to be test ready. If that appears to be the case then consider whether the Associate would still benefit from up to 6 sessions and how keen they are to take the test at the earliest stage – remember they have paid for their ARC and we want to offer them value for money. A check ride can be requested at any time for a second opinion.
We see some Associates who might take more than 8-10 sessions to be ready for test. It can be difficult to determine why or whether the Associate has reached a point where further sessions will not benefit them. In this situation consider the following:
· Have a chat with the Chief Observer.
· A progress check ride is always useful to get a second opinion and fresh perspective. It doesn’t matter if there has already been a previous progress check.
· Allocating the Associate to another Observer.
· Whether there are any other factors at play – e.g. neurodiversity – that might mean a different approach is needed.
Sometimes Associates will reach a temporary plateau and changing approach, changing Observer or having a short break can address it.
There are rare occasions where an Associate has difficulty reaching test standard. Reasons can be varied and complex and it’s not always realistic or possible for us as Observers to address the cause. When we’ve exhausted the options outlined above, it may be necessary to have a conversation with the Associate about the likelihood of them making further progress against the test standard and decide with them what to do. Associates have the right to take the test at this point and see what happens, however we may have to explain
that we are unable to offer them any more sessions. That can be done by the Chief Observer or – by agreement – one of the check ride team as part of a progress check.
Q: What else might be useful for my Associate’s development?
CCAM runs riding skills days from spring to autumn focusing on manoeuvring and slow riding.
CCAM ride outs are open to all. Associates often find them useful to gain extra practice in a supportive group setting as well as enjoying their social aspect.
All Observers should have a copy of the ‘Insights into Advanced Motorcycling’ booklet written by Andy Slater that they can lend to their Associate during the ARC. This is a helpful supplement to the ARC logbook. If you need one, please contact the Associate Coordinator.
IAM Skills Days take place several times a year at one of three tracks and are excellent for focused practice of core skills in small groups with a dedicated instructor. They can also help with developing comfort levels with cornering in a safe environment.
IAMRS launched Associate Choices in February 2021 which is a series of focused modules designed to help people refresh their knowledge in preparation for returning to riding as Covid restrictions ease.
Q: How do I raise an issue relating to an Associate?
Your first port of call should be the Associate Coordinator and / or the Chief Observer.
Q: Do I need to notify CCAM if there is an accident while I’m Observing?
Yes: Observers should complete a safety form outlining what happened. You can find this in the resources section. The Group will consider whether any follow up is needed and hold the form in our records.
Observer Validation, Skills Maintenance and Self Development
Q: How do I maintain my Local Observer status?
We ask new LOs to complete a Health Check with an LOA within a year of sign-off.
We ask established Observers to engage with some or all of the initiatives in place to support them:
· Voluntary Health Checks with an LOA
· Peer-to-peer sessions and feedback
· Shadowing of check rides
· Attendance at Observer Days (held at least twice per year under normal circumstances)
· Support to group activities such as manoeuvring and slow speed riding events
Q: How do I become a National Observer?
CCAM encourages all Local Observers to consider progressing to National Observer status. National Observers are assessed by a National Observer Assessor who is usually regional and independent of the group. We will arrange for you to have support from one of our LOAs to identify readiness to take the NO assessment and offer tailored support for any development towards it.
More information about the assessment itself can be found on the Dashboard section of the IAMRS web pages when you log into your account.
Please contact the Chief Observer for further information about becoming an NO in CCAM.
Q: I am a National Observer – how do I become a Local Observer Assessor?
LOA represents a big step up in breadth and depth of knowledge, skill and responsibility from NO. Potential and willingness to learn must both be demonstrated by NOs wishing to pursue LOA status and expressions of interest are considered on a case-by-case basis.
CCAM is currently developing a more structured programme for NOs interested in becoming LOAs and how we might offer opportunities to gain the right type of experience. At present, CCAM has a good complement of LOAs and is not actively seeking new LOAs. You can, however, register your interest with the Chief Observer and our Chair and we will work to identify additional responsibilities that will support your aspirations.
Information about the OTC
The OTC was originally set up in 2019 by John James to structure our approach to Observer training and work as a team to design events such as Observer Days. The following Local Observer Assessors (LOAs) are active members of the team:
· Kay Wadwell (current CO)
· Tom Goode
· John James
· Richard Kear
· Sean Nicholas
· Richard Tickner
Our LOAs support Trainee Observers, progression to National Observer and Local Observer Assessor. They also form the main part of the check ride team and offer advice and support with Observer queries.
Q: How do I find additional resources?
Log into the IAM RoadSmart website to get access to your dashboard. There is a range of
resources available for Observers under the following tabs:
· Group Management -> Observers and Observing
· Observers -> Observer Resources