Only four councils remain in the lowest band after the second round of the Highways Maintenance Incentive Element self assessment, a Department for Transport (DfT) official has revealed.
DfT roads official Gary Kemp told delegates at the Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee (HAUC(UK)) Convention 2017 this week, that this year’s process had seen a ‘really, really big change’.
Last year, ‘too many authorities found themselves in Band 1 and virtually no authority…found themselves in Band 3,’ Mr Kemp said.
This year only four authorities remain in Band 1, the lowest band, Mr Kemp said, and there was a big improvement in the number of authorities in Band 3, the highest band. Last year 18 authorities were in Band 1.
Mr Kemp said: ‘I should stress that the Government, the Department really does want to see every local authority in Band 3. We’ve got no hidden agenda here.’
He said: ‘…from here on out the hit that local authorities potentially will suffer by not being in Band 3 is quite considerable.’
The Highways Maintenance Incentive Element is worth £75m overall in 2017/2018; councils in Band 1 will lose 40% of their annual allocation from the fund, while those in Band 2 this year will lose 10%.
The DfT said it is currently finalising its analysis from the completed self-assessment questionnaires received by all local highway authorities in England, outside London, and results on which authorities fall in which band will be released ‘in due course’.
The department will be undertaking random checks on self-assessments, officials said.
Mr Kemp also told delegates that the winners from the latest round of the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund would be announced just after local elections in May.
He said that, given the amount of money available and the number of winners, the DfT expected to announce about 30 winners.