The next 3 months will see the busiest period to date for HMEP with up to 7 products being released and at least another 5 seeking approval to be progressed. The products and scheduled release dates are as follows:-
· standard highway maintenance specification and standard details
· life cycle planning and deterioration modelling toolkit
· guidance document on the management of highway drainage assets
· a toolkit for shared services in Highways
· the standard Highway Maintenance Services contract
· the new guidance for highway infrastructure asset management
· Routes to the procurement of highway maintenance services toolkit
All the products will be in electronic format and freely available on the DfT HMEP website. The need for products stems from a comprehensive survey with all English local highway authorities back in 2011.
The development work has been overseen by a cross industry project board plus there has been comprehensive consultation with key industry stakeholders. However there will inevitably be the need to review the products following piloting with early enablers.
Producing the products will achieve nothing unless they are embedded by the sector . In order to support this embedment of HMEP products a regional network of advocates from both the private and public sector is being instigated the details of which will be announced shortly.
The take up will also be dependent for some products like the procurement ones on where each individual LHA is in their procurement process .
The asset management products will be supported by some initial training which will be freely available to very LHA in the new year. Similar there is a need to back up some of the procurement products with some initial training .
LHA's must be challenged in the future as to why they are not adopting the HMEP products and hence instead wasting public money producing their own bespoke product.
Recognising there is still scope to produce further HMEP products the HMEP funding is likely to be extended for another year . Two further products have have been approved up to an initial feasibility stage :-
· a standard suite of highway maintenance contract documents s and document compiler
· A LEAN toolkit for highway maintenance services
As well as these a number of other briefs are under development :-
· A training package for highway maintenance I infrastructure asset management
· A training package for the new HMEP standard contract and specification
· a toolkit to improve client capability
· a toolkit to support integrated local authority technical services contracts
With DfT funding potentially available for another year now is time to deliver these further products. Work has also been progressing on a post 2013 business case to identify how HMEP will operate and be funded up to 2018. A draft outline business case has been produced and will available shortly on HMEP website.
So keep an eye on the DfT HMEP website
Matthew Lugg OBE