Highways England has announced that its two extended regional contracts will be run by under a new model, described as a ‘link’ between Asset Support and Asset Delivery.
The Government-owned company is moving to take a more controlling role in asset management under the Asset Delivery model but announced in March last year that it planned to use contract extensions to slow down the rate of change.
In July 2018 it announced that it had given Kier Highways three-year extensions on its Area 3 and Area 9 contracts, with a total value of £750m or £250m a year.
It has now said that an ‘innovative new system’ – Progressive Asset Delivery (PAD) - was rolled out in the two regions on Monday (1 July) after more than a year’s planning.
Highways England said PAD will provide a link between the traditional Asset Support Contracts and the Asset Delivery model, with the new arrangements providing a smooth transition of services into its direct control with the continued support of the supplier.
It added that this ‘safety net’ will ensure it is business as usual while allowing the business to explore new and more efficient ways of working as it moves towards Asset Delivery.
Highways England said the changes will see it welcome almost 120 new colleagues into the business from Kier.
Its Area 3 divisional director, Nicola Bell (pictured), said: ‘The transition to Progressive Asset Delivery marks a significant milestone for us in the South East and is a real testament to the commitment and determination of the team in Kier and Highways England who have worked collaboratively to make it happen.
'Collaboration is essential to our approach and we look forward to working with our supply chain to share skills and knowledge over the coming months.
Kier Highways executive director Dave Wright said the firm was 'proud to have assisted Highways England in mobilising this next contract'.
He added: 'As the first service provider to support the client in this way, we would like to thank our teams for working so hard in such a short space of time to achieve a shared goal. This is the true definition of collaboration.
'We are also extremely proud to be mobilising the new Area 9 Technology Maintenance Contract, which is a highly specialised field and we look forward to the next three years working alongside our colleagues in Highways England.'
The new contracts target 13 business objectives' which include setting up regional operations centres as Highways England-controlled single deployment organisations responsible for incident and congestion management, as well as such areas as asset data collection, non-technical inspections, planning and managing technology assets, customer and stakeholder engagement.
Area 3 covers Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and part of Buckinghamshire while Area 9 covers the West Midlands, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and part of North Gloucestershire.
Nicola Bell is a judge at this year's Highways Awards.