Lugg says: Highways authorities are already reaping the benefits of HMEP's standard contracts


A few weeks ago the first training session took place in Leicester for the HMEP Standard Contract for Highway Maintenance Services (HMS).

Recognising the difficulties for some local highways authorities (LHAs) of being able to take up HMEP products without having some form of support package in place, HMEP recently funded a two-day training course.

This follows on the back of the benefits identified by having regional workshops for the HMEP Lifecycle Planning and Deterioration modelling toolkits - with 90% of the attending LHAs indicating they would make use of the product.

The HMEP Standard Contract for HMS will be a key enabler to help facilitate other aspects of good practice promoted by HMEP such as greater client contractor collaboration, supply chain integration, LEAN, innovation and incentivisation.

Even before the ink dried on the release of the final version of the new contract documents early drafts were being made available by requests from those LHAs which could not wait for final release as they had already commenced their procurement process. So LHAs like Gloucestershire CC and Halton and Warrington MBC have already seen some benefit from this.

It is not surprising that with potential procurement cost savings of between £100-200k plus the fact that the contract will facilitate the ability to deliver further efficiencies, LHAs are now queuing up to use the new contract and to take up the opportunity of the HMEP funded two day training course.

The recent event was attended by the following LHAs planning to go to market over the next 12 months – Central Bedfordshire, Bracknell Forrest , East Sussex CC, Wirral MBC, Bristol CC, Leicestershire CC, North Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire CC.

A pre-request of attending the course is a grounding in NEC3 which is the standard form that the HMEP contract is based on and again HMEP is helping facilitate this by purchasing a number of licences to enable LHA’s to access the NEC 3 introductory E learning toolkit.

The event - delivered by URS/CWC - covered the key attributes of the contract including collaboration, risk management, target pricing, open book cost management, supply chain and fair payment, performance, governance and the role of the efficiency advisor.

With an 80% satisfaction rating, it is safe to say the event overall was a success. The feedback however identified scope for improvement with the view that the course would have benefited from more practical case studies, which will be incorporated in the future.

With at least another 10 LHAs expressing an interest in accessing the training this autumn and in responding to the HTMA’s request for their members to participate, additional funding is being sort to repeat the training for at least two more occasions.

As this new contract has been written primarily for the procurement of a standard term maintenance service some LHAs will be seeking to go to market with a more sophisticated integrated contract. However aspects of the HMEP contract can still be applied.

So I would ask why would LHAs choose to ignore this new contract and incur considerable extra costs by writing their own bespoke contracts!

• Matthew Lugg OBE is HMEP Advocate and Director of Public Services at Mouchel Infrastructure Services

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