Highways England/National Highways reform plans worked, report finds

25/07/2022
Chris Ames

A new report has backed the road reforms that led to the creation of what is now National Highways, concluding that they created better value for money and customer focus.

Qualifying the success slightly, it also notes that National Highways is not as independent as was first intended and that customer satisfaction has remained broadly level, despite the greater emphasis National Highways placed on it.

The reform programme, which began in 2014/15, involved the move from the Highways Agency to Highways England and then National Highways, accompanied by five-year funding deals with a threefold increase in funding to £4.5bn a year today, as well as external monitoring and watchdog functions.

It has been evaluated through a series of reports from Ipsos Mori and Risk Solution, published in 2016 and 2019, with the third and final evaluation now published.

It states that the evidence ‘supports the conclusion’ that the reforms have been effective in improving how the SRN is managed, and that they have had positive effects on value for money and road users’ experience.

Stakeholders stated that the introduction of a Road Investment Strategy provided National Highways with greater funding certainty over longer periods, leading to more stability in the enhancement programme.

National Highways chief executive Nick Harris said: ‘Having secure long-term investment in place has made an enormous difference to the way we operate, allowing us to be more strategic and innovative in our management of the network and in our relationships with our stakeholders.

‘Ultimately our focus is on ensuring that the strategic road network is as safe and secure as possible, and greater financial security means we have more freedom in considering the best methods of supporting that approach and our customers.’

The evaluation also found that funding certainty allowed National Highways to make positive changes to its relationships with suppliers.

However, it also suggests that some innovations were very likely to have happened without the reforms and noted that some stakeholders believed that the extra cash would have itself demanded a different approach and better planning.

The move away from the Highways Agency to a government-owned company led to ‘better consideration of the needs and experiences of its customers’ and improved decision-making. 

Although, stakeholders felt that decision-making ‘could continue to become more streamlined and efficient, for example in terms of how major projects are selected and prioritised’.

The evaluation notes that ‘National Highways was perceived as not as arms’-length from the [Department for Transport] as it was intended to be at the outset of the reforms’.

It also notes that ‘levels of road user satisfaction appear to have remained broadly the same since Roads Reform’.

While describing positive effects from monitoring by the Office of Rail and Road and from watchdog Transport Focus, it notes that some internal stakeholders believed that accountability and transparency would have improved regardless, although perhaps more slowly.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Also Inside:

  • Traffex Parkex review
  • Round table: Mastering modern contracting
View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Transport Craftsperson

£25,927.00 - £28,226.00
You will be joining us at a very exciting time as we move to Featherstone later this year to a state of the art fleet maintenance facility Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Assistant Gardener

£19,650.00 - £20,043.00
An opportunity exists in the Council’s Street Scene Services for an Assistant Gardener Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Gardener

£20,444.00 - £22,129.00
An opportunity exists in the Council’s Street Scene Services for a Gardener Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Graffiti Liaison Officer

£21,269- £24,920
We are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled officer to join our Environmental Enforcement Team. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Craft Person

£25,927.00 - £28,226.00
Are you interested in working for the foremost council transport services team in the country Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Traffic Technician

£23,023 - £24,920
The post holder will undertake technical and administrative support work related to traffic and management. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Labourer Driver Transport Services

£19,650.00 to £20,043.00
As a Labourer driver you will work as part of a team Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Mechanic Craftperson

£25,927.00 to £28,226.00,
You will be joining us at a very exciting time Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Loader

£18,887 - £19,264
You will provide an efficient and effective refuse collection and recycling service to remove household, industrial and commercial waste producers. Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Tractor Driver

£22,571.00 to £25,419.00
An opportunity exists in the Council’s Street Scene Services Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Flood Risk Technician

£19,650.00 to £25,419.00,
We are looking for an enthusiastic person to join our team. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Street Scene Officer

£32,798.00 to £35,366.00
An opportunity exists in the Council’s Street Scene Services Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Environmental Health Officer/Senior Environmental Health Officer

£29,174.00 to £35,336.00
We are seeking Environmental Health Officer/ Senior Environmental Health Officer Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Project Officer

£30,095-£34,373 Per annum
Lancashire County Council and the Net Zero North West Hub are seeking a Project Officer Preston, Lancashire
Recruiter: Lancashire County Council

Road Worker

Band 6 £20,043 - £22,129 pa
Bradford Metropolitan District Council is looking for two Road Workers to join the Highway Delivery Unit. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Assistant Engineer / Engineer

£24,920 - £34,373 pa
This is an opportunity to join the highway maintenance team Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Technician - Maintenance Programmes (3 Posts)

£23,657 - £25,568 per annum - Plus market leading package (see below)
This is an exciting time to join our in-house Highways Service Hybrid
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Assistant Highways Officer

£21,269 - £23,953
Lincolnshire County Council is looking to recruit an Assistant Highways Officer Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Highways Officer

£26,466 - £29,174
Lincolnshire County Council is looking to appoint a Highways Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Carbon Reduction Manager

£42,614 - £45,648 (pro-rata)
Are you driven to tackle climate change though decarbonisation? Newport (Casnewydd)
Recruiter: Newport City Council

Highways Presents

 

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video