CASE STUDY: Pro-Social Ireland CLG

Pro-Social Ireland CLG was established in 2012 with the development of the Pro-Social Drivers Programme which is a road safety initiative which seeks to improve the driving behaviour of some of the higher risk groups of drivers. In its initial offering the focus of the programme was on delivering courses to participants referred through the Courts service. In 2016 this was expanded to include schools in the Inishowen peninsula which had suffered the loss of members through road traffic incidents. In 2017 the programme was extended further to accept referrals from the Probation Service and as of May 2021, the programme is used by the Courts Service and the Probation Service in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Cavan and Monaghan. Discussions are at an advanced stage to add Louth, Cork and selected venues within the probation services in the greater Dublin area.

The Garage project was started by Pro-social Ireland in June 2019 as a way of engaging with young people, both male and female, from a range of diverse backgrounds aged 14 – 25 years old, who are a danger to themselves and their communities through their driving behaviour. Participants gained an understanding in technical workshops, learning in detail the dangers of car modifications, unregulated engine tuning and the negative impacts of dangerous driving practices such as “diffing” “donuts” and “drag racing”.

In July 2021, Pro-Social Ireland started work on adapting the Pro-Social Ireland Driving programme to deal with younger clients who had appeared in the courts charged with driving related offences, primarily joy-riding and driving under the influence of drugs (Drug driving). Pro-Social will develop an adaptation of the existing programme and work with key stakeholders including the Senior Probation Officer in the Cork region to deliver a pilot programme from January 2022 to December 2022. It is anticipated that the course will run 4 times, each consisting of 4 – 6 participants, aged 14 – 18. 

Lastly, in August 2021, Pro-Social piloted an “effective leadership for women programme” which is aimed exclusively at female probation clients. this is a 10-week programme which seeks to promote behavioural change in the participants through education and leadership training.

Topic  Description 
Title  Pro-Social Ireland CLG
Location  Local, regional and national 
Time  2012 – 
SDG No  3,4, 5,10, 11, 16, 17 
Brief Description  The main objective of Pro-Social Ireland is to promote road safety which seeks to improve the driving behaviour of some of the higher risk groups of drivers
  1. Adults aged 18 – 65 who have committed a driving offence and been sanctioned by a Judge of the Irish court system to complete a course
  2. School children 12 – 18 who participated in the Your life – Your Choice programme
  3. Prisoners in the Irish penal system
  4. Probation clients aged 14 – 18 who are under the care of the Irish Probation Service.
Impact  The impact of Pro-Social is to help reduce road traffic incidents and to alleviate the impact of anti-social driving behaviour on urban and rural communities.
Social Innovation  The unique social innovation of the Pro-Social Driving programme is that it adopts whole community partnership approach to dealing with anti-social driving behaviour. Pro-Social is made up of a combination of community volunteers, Cognitative  Behavioural Therapist (CBT) counsellors and facilitators who work with members of the Emergency Response Services, The Irish Probation Service and the Irish Courts Service  to target drivers whose driving has been judged to be a risk to other road users and the wider community. 
  • Pro-Social Ireland is part funded by the Irish Probation Service. This funding only partly covers the cost of the service offered by to the public. The short fall is made up by client fees which do not normally cover the full cost. 
  • Recruiting suitably qualified counsellors in each of the 7 geographic areas covered by Pro-Social is an ongoing issue
  • The management team is currently personnel changes.
Sustainability  Without direct financial support from the Probation Service, Pro-Social would not be able to operate in any capacity. The underlying principle of the organisation is that it is a social enterprise which is mandated to deliver educational services on behalf of the Irish Courts Service. This means that the service must be professional in its delivery and be held accountable for the quality of its products in a court of law.
Transferability – Replicability  The approach taken by Pro-Social has proven to be highly transferable to any number of different settings and has successfully transferred from the Courts setting to Schools to Prisons to Youth groups.
Lessons Learned – Conclusions  The partnership approach to embedding change in the community is a very productive methodology.

There is no end, as each generation of new drivers start their driving careers then so does the need to educate them on how to keep safe and ensure the safety of other road users.