Be bold and brave, Balfour boss tells councils

02/05/2019
Chris Ames

The head of a major term maintenance contractor has called on local authorities to stick with outsourcing for local roads, despite the collapse of major players in the field and a dearth of bids for contracts.

Speaking exclusively to Highways, Steve Helliwell, managing director of Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), acknowledged that the recent demise of some of its competitors had damaged the industry.

He said: ‘A concern I have at the moment is that there are a number of local authorities that are running scared of the demise of some of our competitor organisations and are now exploring alternative procurements solutions, which is insourcing, and we need them to be bold and brave again and recognise that there are organisations out there, like ours, who have much, much stronger balance sheets and much more sustainable business model and still a great solution to buy.’

BBLP began a new highway maintenance and improvements contract with Telford and Wrekin Council in April. However, in the same month North Yorkshire County Council said that its preferred option for the delivery of future highway maintenance services is a council-owned ‘Teckal’ company.

Mr Helliwell said a loss of confidence among councils is understandable, ‘because there were a number of authorities who were left with a problem as a result of [the collapse of] Carillion’. He pointed out that BBLP had stepped in, in a number of these situations.

While many in the industry have suggested that the current procurement model is not working effectively for clients or contractors, Mr Helliwell said: ‘I’m not so sure that there’s a huge amount wrong with the procurement processes that are in place today.

‘We’ve got 15 or 16 local authority contracts and they’re all in good shape. We’ve got a nice and relevant level of tension in terms of the contractual arrangements, but they are with customers who are progressive and recognise that you need a degree of flexibility to build relationships that will deliver the best value for the customer and the right outturn for the provider.’

He acknowledged however that some authorities are struggling to attract supplier interest with the type of contracts they are offering: ‘It’s less about what we offer; it’s more about what the local authority brings to market. The last few years have seen a significant shift in the local authority market space in terms of private sector organisations not choosing to bid for all the opportunities that come to market.'

He pointed to recent procurement exercises where councils have had very few bidders. ‘And that’s because the demands of a local authority procurement process are great. You’ve got to enter into that process with only one objective in mind, which is to win it.’

The full interview with Mr Helliwell will feature in the June issue of Highways magazine.

Highways jobs

Permit Officer – Place

Enfield London Borough Council
£27,228 - £29,241
You will have the ability to understand and learn relevant legislation and be able to work on your own initiative but also work as part of... Enfield (London Borough), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Enfield London Borough Council

Senior Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643 – £45,704 depending on skills
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Strategic Manager Highways and Transport

Isle of Wight Council
£65,620.00 to £70,915.00
Are you are looking for an ambitious and rewarding career move to one of the best places to live and work in the country? Isle of Wight
Recruiter: Isle of Wight Council

Community Services Manager

Copeland Borough Council
Competitive Salary
Looking for an energised and enthusiastic candidate to lead and focus the service through the challenges set by the Resources and Waste Strategy. Moresby, Whitehaven
Recruiter: Copeland Borough Council

Highways Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager - Highways Network

Bridgend County Borough Council
£37,813 - £40,760 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arrived inside the Highway Asset Maintenance Team within the Communities Directorate. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recruiter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Business Support Officers - Transport Team (2 Jobs)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Within the Transport Team you will be required to work flexibly in accordance with the needs of the service, which can men... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Transportation Planning Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
ou will have an excellent knowledge and understanding of transport policy at both local and national level. Expertise of both people and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Commercial Contract Supervisor

Wirral Borough Council
£30,507 to £32,878
No holding back. No excuses. Just change Wirral. Wirral, Merseyside
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Technical Officer – Pest Control

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £23,836
This job is temporary for up to 11 months from the date of appointment to cover the absence of the current post holder. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Divisional Director Neighbourhoods & Sustainability

Glasgow City Council
£83,708 - £95,232 (LDR3a, Grade 11)
This innovative role will contribute to the Council Strategic Plan Theme of A Sustainable Low Carbon City Glasgow, Glasgow City
Recruiter: Glasgow City Council

Business Support Officer - Bereavement Services

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,795 - £19,171
You will be required to work front line with customers who are ordering memorials, our customers may be... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32.029 - £34.788
We seek an enthusiastic and experienced traffic engineer to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recruiter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Principal Transport Manager

Be First
Competitive Salary
As our Principal Transport Manager, you will deliver the Local Implementation Plan, ensuring the £2.4million TFL budget is used effectively London (Central), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Be First

Highway Operations Manager

Croydon London Borough Council
£43,590 - £45,585
We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated and well organised highway operations manager Croydon (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Croydon London Borough Council

Structures and Watercourse Manager

Croydon London Borough Council
Competitve
We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated and well organised manager to look over the structures team and wider Highway section. Croydon (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Croydon London Borough Council

Chartered Environmental Health Traineeship

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
National Minimum Wage (Age appropriate) plus enhancements for night time working
During your two years with us you will... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project Managers & Engineers (Highways/Transport Team)

Southwark London Borough Council
£36,486 - £43,404
If you have the relevant experience and you think you could contribute to our enthusiastic team environment, then we’d be delighted to hear from you. Southwark, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Southwark London Borough Council

EHO/Surveyor Private Sector Housing

Brent Council
35,724 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
The council is pursuing a far-reaching transformation agenda that better meets the needs of our community so it is an exciting time to join us. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

(Senior) Environmental Health Officer/Enforcement Officer

Brent Council
£35,724 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
Looking to appoint Environmental Health Officers to join our Food and Health & Safety Team, covering the... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Senior Technician - Network Management

West Berkshire Council
£22.911 to £28.785 per annum (Grade G)
Looking for a Senior Technician who will have the opportunity to help in the design and construction of a variety of highway improvement projects. Newbury, Berkshire
Recruiter: West Berkshire Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Valuing our roads: What is a network worth?

Also inside:

Traffex review 

Diary of a flood.

Beautiful roads

Live Labs exclusive briefing 

View the latest issue

Latest Video