Key points of the consultation include:
Retaining the minimum fee of £150 payable by offenders to attend the course to retain the high quality of the scheme
Course providers will be able to recover course fees from offenders in advance of the course or in instalments, provided full payment is made before completion of the course
Unlike England and Scotland a £1,000 application fee will not be charged on providers seeking approval to run courses in Wales.
Since 2004, the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts in Wales have been able to offer a referral to an approved drink-drive rehabilitation course to drivers who have been disqualified for a period of at least 12 months for a relevant drink-driving offence.
Carl Sargeant said:
“ In 2010, 89 people were killed on the roads in Wales. Of those one in four were linked to drink-driving.”
“ It is clear that, whilst the number of drink-drive offences has fallen in recent years, more can be still be done to achieve further improvements.
“ Research clearly shows that attendance on the course significantly reduces the likelihood of reoffending, so it is vital that the Scheme remains fit for purpose and we work to encourage more offenders to attend.”
The consultation will also examine the criteria organisations must meet to become course providers. Under the proposed changes in Wales all providers should be able to offer courses in rural areas and have existing experience of working with substance misuse.
In order not to disadvantage small and medium sized organisations course providers will not have to cover large geographical areas.
Research carried out on behalf of the Department for Transport in 2004 revealed that offenders who attend the drink drive rehabilitation scheme are 2.6 times less likely to reoffend.
Transitional arrangements are being put in place with existing providers to provide a smooth changeover between the old and new Scheme.
The consultation will run for six weeks.