In recent years the investment in highway infrastructure and its performance has been increasingly under the spotlight. The current financial challenges and increased public demands and expectations have meant that the way local highway authorities managed their highway infrastructure had to be re- considered.
Asset Management has been widely accepted by central and local government as a means to deliver a more efficient and effective approach to management of the highway infrastructure assets through long term planning. Both our society and economy are underpinned by infrastructure assets including water supply, waste disposal, energy, telecommunications as well as transport. This infrastructure is vital in modern society and requires significant investment for development and maintenance. Such an approach enables more efficient and effective use of resources, while fulfilling legal obligations, delivering stakeholder needs and safeguarding the engineering integrity of the network.
Andrew Jones MP speaks to local authorities at the Technical Advisors Group Conference about the issues of asset management.
What is Highway Asset Management?
The concept of highway asset management is becoming increasingly important for those responsible for managing highway networks. Asset management is not a new concept and most highway authorities are practicing elements of asset management already. However, the service wide application of asset management is a new concept.
In the highways context - where the asset is the highway itself - the aim is to provide a structured approach to roads maintenance to enable highway authorities to operate, maintain and restore their ‘highway assets' to meet key performance requirements.
Looking after the highways network is a national priority given its fundamental role in the economy. To fulfill this potential, it needs to be adequately maintained.
Highway Asset Management Plans
Highway authorities in England are required by the Department for Transport (DfT) to demonstrate they are making the best use of highway assets through Asset Management Plans.
A Highway Asset Management Plan (HAMP) is a tool that allows detailed information, on the assets held by the authority, to be provided at all corporate levels. This would then enable the value for money of local highway maintenance to be measured more effectively against other local transport spending, and eventually assist in crucial strategy and planning decisions.
North Tyneside’s HAMP can be found below. Part 4 of the HAMP is a separate document known as the Highway Asset Management Framework. A HAMP Annual Information Report is also produced to provide details of highway maintenance delivery over the year.
In December 2014, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that £6 million will be made available between 2015/16 and 2020/21 for local highways maintenance capital funding. From this funding, £578 million has been set aside for an Incentive Fund scheme, to reward councils who demonstrate they are delivering value for money in carrying out cost effective improvements and the adoption of asset management principles.
Self-assessment questionnaire for the Incentive Fund
Each local highway authority in England (excluding London) will be invited to complete a self-assessment questionnaire, in order to establish the share of the Incentive fund they will be eligible for in the forthcoming year.
Each authority will score themselves against 22 questions and place themselves into one of 3 Bands on the basis of the available evidence. The Department for Transport will not necessarily want to see the supporting evidence from every local highway authority, although it does reserve the right to undertake sample audits. It will however be the responsibility of Section 151 Officer at each local authority to ensure that they are satisfied that the evidence is sufficient for him/her to sign off the overall submission and total score.
The incentive funding awarded to each local highway authority will be based on their score in this questionnaire, and will be relative to the amount received through the needs-based funding formula.
In 2016/17, only authorities in Bands 2 and 3 will receive their full share of the £578 million, whilst authorities in Band 1 will receive 90% of their share. These percentages for Bands 1 and 2 decrease in each subsequent year, with only authorities in Band 3 being awarded their full share of the funding.
The 2017/18 self-assessment questionnaire is to be released shortly for all highway authorities to complete and submit. Further information will be available on this webpage once further details are released by the DfT.
The basis of the self-assessment questionnaire
Over the last four years, the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) has developed a selection of products and services that promote efficient and effective working practices. These resources are founded on the good practice that many authorities are already adopting. In producing this self-assessment questionnaire, an objective has been to build on this good work and to support authorities who are on the journey towards improving their working practices.
The questions are designed to enable authorities to assess their progress on the journey to the implementation of good practice, which will create an environment for effective and efficient delivery and enable capital funding to maximise its return.
Underpinning this are the needs of stakeholders and the communication of the importance of the highway service and the needs for well-maintained highways. With the advent of the Challenge Fund, the Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) and the best practice guidance from the Department for Transport (DfT) the ways of working for North Tyneside Council will change over the next year. The HMEP and DfT guidance advocates the adoption and implementation of life cycle plans for all major infrastructure assets. For those highway authorities within England who have developed and implemented life cycle planning their maintenance backlog has reduced dramatically.
A revised Code of Practice (CoP) for Well-managed Highways
At the direction of the Department for Transport the current CoP; Well-maintained Highways CoP, Well-Maintained Highway Lighting CoP, Well-maintained Highway Structures CoP and Management of Electronic Traffic Equipment CoP have been reviewed and amalgamated into one document, Well-managed Highway Infrastructure.
There have been some fundamental changes including the move to a risk based approach to the procedures which manage the highway infrastructure. The new CoP were published electronically on 28 October 2016. For all highway authorities there is a 2 year transition period for implementation of the new CoP by October 2018.
The Department for Transport
The Department for Transport works with local highway authorities and partners to support the transport network that helps the UK’s businesses and gets people and goods travelling around the country. They plan and invest in transport infrastructure to keep the UK on the move.
Department for Transport self-assessment questionnaire
In December 2014, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that £6 billion will be made available between 2015/16 and 2020/21 for local highways maintenance capital funding. Since then it has been announced in November 2015, £578 million has been set aside for an Incentive Fund Scheme, to reward councils who demonstrate they are delivering value for money in carrying out cost effective improvements and adopting prescribed asset management practices to manage their highway infrastructure.
Each local highway authority in England (excluding London) was and will continue to be invited to complete a self-assessment questionnaire, in order to establish the share of the Incentive fund they will be eligible for in 2016/17 onwards. Each highway authority will score themselves against 22 questions and place themselves into one of 3 Bands on the basis of the available evidence. The incentive funding awarded to each local highway authority will be based on their score in this questionnaire and will be relative to the amount received through the needs-based funding formula.
Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP)
HMEP is the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme, which exists to support the sector on its journey to transform highway services. HMEP does this by the highways sector, for the highways sector, working with people and organisations to enable change, so that greater savings and efficiencies can be achieved and the demand for improved highway services can be met.
HMEP is a £6million, Department for Transport funded and sector led transformation programme, HMEP connects networks from across the highways sector and provides the tooks and resources to ignite ideas and help leaders and managers to transform delivery of roads and services through greater efficiencies.
We all want roads that are fit for the future. While better roads remain a key priority for Government, businesses and the whole community, the need to deliver improved roads, more efficiently is set against a backdrop of tighter budgets, increased costs and greater demand from customers.
Find more information on the Highways Efficiency website.
UK Roads Liaison Group (ULRLG) Codes of Practice for Well-managed Highways
‘Well-managed highway infrastructure’ supersedes the previous Codes ‘Well-maintained highways’, ‘Well-lit highways’ and ‘Management of Highway Structures’. This was published on 28 October 2016. The new Code can either be adopted straightway by authorities or they have until October 2018 to adopt a risk based approach.
For full details of the Code of Practice visit the UK Road Liaison Group website.
In 2012 North Tyneside Council undertook a postcard survey of all residents and business in the borough to better understand their views on highway maintenance priorities and levels of service.
Nearly 10,000 postcards were returned, providing a greater insight into the public’s views and helping shape the 2012-17 HAMP.
The Pothole Action Fund and the Incentive Fund Spend 2016/17
In a speech to the Road Surface Treatment Association Annual Conference - the Parliamentary Under Secretary for State, Andrew Jones MP, announced details of the 2016/17 funding allocations for the Pothole Action Fund.
The Minister also announced the allocations and which Band each authority falls within for the incentive element of the Local Highways Maintenance Fund for 2016/17.
For more details, please visit the Department for Transport web pages.
Information about the allocation for North Tyneside can be found in the document below.
List of streets maintainable at public expense
The List of Streets Maintainable at Public Expense (MAPE) held under Section 36 of the Highways Act 1980 is available to view, in hard copy format free of charge at North Tyneside Council, Quadrant East, The Silverlink North, Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside, NE27 0BY. An online version of the list is available using the links below.
Disclaimer: The list has been prepared using the available information from records compiled by North Tyneside Council and is correct to the best of our knowledge. It does not, however, constitute a definitive statement as to the status of any particular highway. This is not a comprehensive list of the entire highway network in North Tyneside although the majority of streets are included for information purposes. The extent of the highway maintainable at public expense is not available on the list and can only be determined through the search process. The List of Streets is a live record and is constantly being amended and updated. We update and republish it every three months. Like many rural authorities, where some highways have no name at all, we usually record our information using a road numbering reference system. Street descriptors will be added to the list during the updating process along with any other missing information currently labelled 'unknown'. The list does not contain Recorded Public Rights of Way as shown on North Tyneside Council’s 1976 Definitive, Map nor does it contain streets that are privately maintained. The list is property of North Tyneside Council and is only available to the public for viewing purposes and must not be copied or distributed.
Additional Department for Transport funding 2018
An additional £420 million from the Department for Transport for local highways maintenance was announced in the 2018 Budget.
North Tyneside Council is using its allocation of the additional funds to support its 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 planned programmes of highways and bridge maintenance work.
The main activities being funded from the grant are: major road strengthening and resurfacing; highways structures and bridges repairs; footway reconstruction and resurfacing; and localised pothole repairs.
Particular schemes being funded using this additional funding are:
Roads (resurfacing): Battle Hill Drive, Wallsend; A192 Earsdon Road, Monkseaton
Footways: Northumberland Square, North Shields; Station Road, Wallsend
Structures: Pier Road Bridge strengthening