Northamptonshire highways fails to stand up to scrutiny

 

Northamptonshire County Council's (NCC) highways department is under-performing, failing to get value for money, understaffed and in need of reform, according to a scrutiny committee report.

The report found that the current contract arrangements with Kier WSP, which end in March this year, had not been working and 'significant improvements' could be made.

The news comes after Highways magazine revealed that the county had a spiralling repairs backlog it had all but lost control of with inspections of key structures seeming to fail to pick up or result in safety-critical repairs.

”Local

Based on analysis by an in-house working group and external consultants OPS Ltd, the report states there is 'a range of evidence identifying a need for NCC to review its client-side function and strengthen in-house capacity for contract monitoring and quality assurance processes'.

Critical factors behind this include a lack of funding, with demand simply outstripping capacity. This was made acute after the authority's recent financial collapse, which saw the council twice banning all but essential spending in 2018.

A related issue was the lack of in-house staff for oversight.

At the time the scrutiny review was gathering evidence, only 2.5 full-time equivalent staff members were managing the contract and the contracts team leader also oversaw NCC’s significant street lighting contract.

As a result, the working group found 'the existing contract seemed to be operating in a way that effectively enabled the service-provider to prioritise and quality assure its own work to a significant extent'.

'OPS Ltd proposed that NCC’s future highway services model should involve it carrying out activities associated with policy, planning, key stakeholder engagement and inspection. NCC should also increase the size of its client management team to allow for greater oversight of the activities undertaken by the service-provider,' the scrutiny report states.

Northamptonshire's chief executive is currently considering how best to re-procure highway services under the shadow of the upcoming reorganisation of the county into two new unitary authorities in April 2021.

Strengthening arrangements for contract monitoring, quality assurance and value for money relating to highway services provision should be a key priority in the future, as well as securing more staff and funding, the report states.

The working group also considered that one solution to the current situation 'could be for NCC to develop a bespoke in-house highways inspection team'.

The report is due to go before the committee for review on Wednesday (29 January).

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Community Services Manager

Copeland Borough Council
Competitive Salary
Looking for an energised and enthusiastic candidate to lead and focus the service through the challenges set by the Resources and Waste Strategy. Moresby, Whitehaven
Recuriter: Copeland Borough Council

Highways Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager - Highways Network

Bridgend County Borough Council
£37,813 - £40,760 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arrived inside the Highway Asset Maintenance Team within the Communities Directorate. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Business Support Officers - Transport Team (2 Jobs)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Within the Transport Team you will be required to work flexibly in accordance with the needs of the service, which can men... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Transportation Planning Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
ou will have an excellent knowledge and understanding of transport policy at both local and national level. Expertise of both people and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Commercial Contract Supervisor

Wirral Borough Council
£30,507 to £32,878
No holding back. No excuses. Just change Wirral. Wirral, Merseyside
Recuriter: Wirral Borough Council

Technical Officer – Pest Control

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £23,836
This job is temporary for up to 11 months from the date of appointment to cover the absence of the current post holder. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Divisional Director Neighbourhoods & Sustainability

Glasgow City Council
£83,708 - £95,232 (LDR3a, Grade 11)
This innovative role will contribute to the Council Strategic Plan Theme of A Sustainable Low Carbon City Glasgow, Glasgow City
Recuriter: Glasgow City Council

Business Support Officer - Bereavement Services

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,795 - £19,171
You will be required to work front line with customers who are ordering memorials, our customers may be... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32.029 - £34.788
We seek an enthusiastic and experienced traffic engineer to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Principal Transport Manager

Be First
Competitive Salary
As our Principal Transport Manager, you will deliver the Local Implementation Plan, ensuring the £2.4million TFL budget is used effectively London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Be First

Highway Operations Manager

Croydon London Borough Council
£43,590 - £45,585
We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated and well organised highway operations manager Croydon (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Croydon London Borough Council

Structures and Watercourse Manager

Croydon London Borough Council
Competitve
We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated and well organised manager to look over the structures team and wider Highway section. Croydon (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Croydon London Borough Council

Chartered Environmental Health Traineeship

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
National Minimum Wage (Age appropriate) plus enhancements for night time working
During your two years with us you will... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project Managers & Engineers (Highways/Transport Team)

Southwark London Borough Council
£36,486 - £43,404
If you have the relevant experience and you think you could contribute to our enthusiastic team environment, then we’d be delighted to hear from you. Southwark, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Southwark London Borough Council

Environmental Health Technician

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band E, £25,295 - £28,785 per annum
The successful candidate will get the opportunity to undertake a rich variety of food safety, workplace health and safety and public health duties. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

EHO/Surveyor Private Sector Housing

Brent Council
35,724 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
The council is pursuing a far-reaching transformation agenda that better meets the needs of our community so it is an exciting time to join us. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

(Senior) Environmental Health Officer/Enforcement Officer

Brent Council
£35,724 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
Looking to appoint Environmental Health Officers to join our Food and Health & Safety Team, covering the... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Strategic Manager Highways and Transport

Isle of Wight Council
£65,620.00 to £70,915.00
Are you are looking for an ambitious and rewarding career move to one of the best places to live and work in the country? Isle of Wight
Recuriter: Isle of Wight Council

Senior Technician - Network Management

West Berkshire Council
£22.911 to £28.785 per annum (Grade G)
Looking for a Senior Technician who will have the opportunity to help in the design and construction of a variety of highway improvement projects. Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Senior Technician - Asset Management

West Berkshire Council
£22.911 to £28.785 per annum (Grade G)
You should be educated to HNC level (or equivalent) with at least 3 years post qualification experience relevant to the provision of this service. Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council