In some blog posts I try to clearly explain what is going on in my own language here I have taken part of a paper which was taken to the Strategy and Resources committee at the County Council ie they were agreeing money for Highways and Transport from the money committee.
It’s written in management speak to an extent but it’s more accessible than a lot that I’ve read. It outlines the strategic direction of the County Council’s Highways and Transportation Service with particular attention paid to maintenance (pot holes, road surfaces and more).
What I am trying to do here is to communicate what the council’s position and challenges are in an honest manner. We can then as a community raise issues and concerns but it is far better to do this from a position of knowledge than just general complaint and unhappiness.
It’s worth noting that it’s taken me 11 months to work out that ‘strategy’ means planning so all transport planning issues sit here, which includes things like the Waterbeach new town and North East Cambridge developments. Also when they talk about ‘partners’ they are referring to the Greater Cambridge Partnership, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (Mayor’s office and board) and Central Government.
Words directly copied from an appendix presented to the Strategy and Resources committee:
Outline Case for additional funding in Highways Maintenance Service for 22/23
The transformation of the Highways and Transportation Service is underway. The three sections of the service are at different stages in their transformation.
-Project Delivery has moved to its new form and is making the differences and achieving the outcomes of improved project governance and control in delivery.
-Strategic Transport is implementing the final steps in its transformation and now concentrating on shaping the future of transport in collaboration with our partners
-Highway Maintenance is at the early stage of transformation that given the breadth and scale of the maintenance service delivered is a big change. It could take time to produce results on the roads and outside people’s front doors. Investment in two aspects of the Highways Maintenance Service would achieve faster sustainable change with immediate visible benefits to our road users, businesses and residents.
The two aspects are;
1. Getting it right for our Customers today.
On the ground action where our residents want it.
• Removing the potholes – a programme of planned patching carried out this spring and
summer to properly fix pothole hotspots in and around village and town centres. This would
remove the patchwork quilt of multiple repeat visits having an immediate noticeable impact
within our community centres. £400k
• Listening to our customers – Clean out our Report It tool and get back to our Report It
customers. This would show we listen and feedback by providing a resource to monitor and
respond to the enquiries ahead of implementation of a new up-to-date system (the current is
around 15 years old). £50k
• Safe and dry – record, quantify, investigate flooding cause and implement an increased
programme of highways flood hotspots to remove more of the risks of surface water on our
roads. The programme would target those locations that also cause issues within the
communities affecting businesses and properties. £400k
• Clear and Safe – improve the lines and road markings across the rural network. This would
make driving our roads at night and in bad weather safer by providing the markings to support
our road users. A targeted programme to deal with routes between towns and villages. £250k
Total investment £1,100,000.
The proposed levels of investment are scalable. The suggested investment would provide visible impactful improvement on the ground across the whole county. Scaling up would increase visibility of impact and down would reduce it.
Deliverability – We can engage with a range of supply chain partners to confidently deliver by Autumn.
Key is keeping it simple and focused. We have supply chain partners other than Milestone accessible via Local Council Roads Innovation Group framework of which we are a member.
Communications – To maximise the impact delivery would include communications through our
normal channels to draw residents’ attention to this extra investment.
2. Keeping it right for our customers tomorrow
Transforming at pace to achieve the sustainable change we need for the future
• Upskilling our Highway Safety Inspectors – a programme of training and education to ensure
this area of service is achieving the most it can. Benefit to the public are safer roads and better
value for money. Council benefit is less risk from third party claims. £30k.
• Local Highways Officer Review – Revamping the role to focus on community and customer
needs ahead of the wider Highways Maintenance Restructure. £40k
• Highways workforce and succession – contribution to support the implementation and
development of an accelerated apprenticeship/graduate/intern programme to bring forward a
new cohort of staff into the Highways workforce during 2022 and 2023. £50k
• New Asset Management System – support to accelerate the commissioning and
implementation of the system. Could reduce the implementation time from 18 months to 12 year by providing the one-off set up resources. £100k.
• Intelligent data – implement the latest survey data collection technology and use it to make
better decisions on where to do what and achieve better outcomes for the public and for value
for money we invest into our highways assets. £60k.
• Baselining our Highways Service – a project to baseline the carbon in the ownership and
management of our highways assets to raise Climate awareness and understanding across the
service and provide the base from which to start our service journey to net zero. £50k
• Capacity to change at pace – one-off resource to support the transformation of the service.
Capacity to get move the change tasks forward at speed. £60k.
Total Investment = £390,000
These are all one-off investments to accelerate the transformation of the highways maintenance
service. They all bring forward key parts of the overall service system that will support better delivery into the future and help ensure the highways service is contributing to our climate change objectives.
Strategy & Resources Committee is asked to agree to earmark £1,490k of the underspend on Funding items to invest in the Highways Maintenance Service as above.