The new approach will comprise four key types of contract:
- Maintenance and incident response – providing routine maintenance and responding to incidents from Highways England depots
- Design – taking briefs from Highways England and turning them into well-defined packages of work, including repairing and reinstating the network after incidents, where necessary
- Specialist services – such as weather forecasting and laboratory testing
- Capital project delivery – delivery of work including emergency repairs
A Highways England spokesperson said: “We are tasked with delivering the largest roads investment programme in a generation and in order for us to deliver on such a scale at the same time as maintaining the strategic road network, we have to work in a flexible, responsive and efficient way.”
This model is already being used in the East Midlands (Area 7) plus areas 1, 2, 13 and 14.
The spokesperson added: “We will therefore be bringing decision making, investment and maintenance plans in house, in areas where contracts are due for renewal – these are Cornwall and Devon (Area 1); Somerset, Avon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire (Area 2); Cumbria and parts of Lancashire (Area 13); Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and North Yorkshire (Area 14).
“This will enable us to take more ownership of investment decisions and to increase our intelligence on local factors that influence where work is needed. By directly engaging suppliers we will help drive down cost and waste, providing the best possible value for money for taxpayers.”
In a statement, Highways England said: “In areas 1 and 2, we’re taking the opportunity to align elements of our future operations. Therefore ahead of the asset delivery model being adopted we are extending the existing asset support contract in Area 1 for three months. We will then adopt the asset-led delivery model across both areas by July 2017. We will combine the design and capital project delivery contracts for both areas and following further market engagement we will decide whether to combine any of the other contracts.
“Asset support contracts remain a part of our delivery strategy and we will shortly be awarding ASCs for areas 4 and 12 which were further advanced in the procurement process when we adopted the asset-led delivery model in the East Midlands. However, we are committed to continually driving improvement in how our roads are maintained, improved and operated, and will continue to explore new ways to deliver across the country.”