Band 3 Shropshire hires £1,000 a day pothole consultant

 

Shropshire Council has provoked controversy after it was reported that it is spending about £1,000 a day on a potholes consultant, despite rating itself a top-performing council under a government self-assessment process.

The authority is ranked Band 3 for 2019/2020 under the Department for Transport's (DfT) self-assessment process, meaning it received a full payout from the Incentive Fund, and has claimed it has a fully developed asset management plan in place in order to limit preventative pothole repairs.

”Local

This fund in total is worth £578m between 2015/16 and 2020/21 and pays out every year to councils based on performance in the self-assessment questionnaire. 

In an email reported to be seen by the BBC, Shropshire Council said the appointment was part of a range of measures to speed up repairs of the county's roads.

Kier won a £147m contract to undertake the council's highway maintenance in 2017 and is already undertaking Shropshire's road maintenance.

The council told the BBC the cost was 'comparable with usual consultant costs'.

Transport Network approached the council for comment.

Council chief executive Clive Wright said the county currently had 3,500 reported highway defects, in the email seen by the BBC. He also called current repair work 'unproductive'.

A senior figure in the highways sector said the self-assessment process was being brought into disrepute and was 'a load of rubbish'.

'There are authorities that say they are Band 3 and can’t back it up with evidence. They are not doing the things they claim and the DfT do nothing with it. They just sign it off.'

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