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Decision details

Highway Maintenance Service Delivery Changes

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

Report seeking approval from the Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change for a series of proposals to implement changes to some areas of the highway maintenance service delivered by Amey Hallam Highways Ltd (AHHL) under the Streets Ahead contract.

Decision:

It is resolved that the Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change:

 

(1) approves the proposed changes to the Highway Maintenance Services detailed in section 1, Closed Appendix A and Appendix B of this report are implemented in full subject to the following:

(a)       costs associated with implementing the proposed changes do not exceed the costs listed in Closed Appendix A of this report; and

(b)       the associated changes to the Contract are commercially acceptable to the Council and bring a cost saving to the Council of not less than £300,000.

 

(2) approves the amended Highway Tree Replacement Policy, as outlined in the report and at Appendix B.

 

(3) delegates authority to the Director of Finance and Commercial Services in consultation with Legal Services to agree that the associated changes are commercially acceptable to the Council.

 

Reasons for the decision:

The proposed changes improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the highway maintenance service thereby making a saving without detriment to the service provided to the public.  Where appropriate, trials were carried out with no increased customer contact.

Alternative options considered:

1.    Do Nothing

 

The continuous strive for improvement and value for money in the services delivered by the Council means that doing nothing is not an option.  The cuts to the Council’s budget require all services to identify efficiency savings including outsourced services such as highway maintenance.

 

Councils’ are constantly challenged to be innovative. Services cannot remain unaffected by budgetary constraints but where possible, technological innovations are being introduced. Some of the proposed changes have been generated by joint working between AHHL and the Council.  Doing nothing in the current budgetary climate is not a viable option.

 

2.    Include Alternative Communication and Consultation Performance Requirements

 

The Communication and Consultation Performance Requirements in the Contract include a requirement for AHHL to write to all residents on any road that are likely to be affected by Streets Ahead works at least two weeks in advance of the works on that particular road starting.

 

In addition to complying with this requirement, AHHL have always placed signage on roads affected by their works in order to inform and update residents and other road users that works are due to commence. The signage also contains information about the duration of the works and contact details to assist anyone wishing to obtain more information about the works.

 

The practices outlined above are in excess of the notifications used by most local authorities when undertaking highway maintenance works.

 

AHHL have proposed changes to this approach in return for a reduction in the Annual Unitary Charge. The proposals were to remove the requirement to write to all residents on any roads likely to be affected by Streets Ahead works in advance of the works starting. Instead, it was proposed that on street signage would be utilised alongside an enhancement to the information on the Council’s website about impending highway maintenance works.

 

In June/July 2019, a proposal was trialled in order to assess the impact on the public and on the number of contact/complaints received as a consequence.

 

The trial highlighted several scenarios that had not been envisaged and as discussions around this proposal continued to be developed it became clear that the aspirations of the Council in keeping the public and businesses informed of works likely to affect them would not be met by this approach as it was proving impossible to identify a set of criteria that could be effectively monitored to check compliance with the contract.

 

As a result, following further discussions it was decide not to pursue this option at this time.

 

Publication date: 03/02/2020

Date of decision: 31/01/2020

Effective from: 08/02/2020

Accompanying Documents: