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Highways England's new asset-led procurement to see capital project and design work merged in South-west

Highways England has revamped its procurement strategy, separating out road design, maintenance and capital project delivery in four regions.

The move will see Highways England shift to an asset-led delivery procurement route in area 1 (Cornwall and Devon); area 2 (Somerset, Avon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire); area 13 (Cumbria and parts of Lancashire); and area 14 (Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and North Yorkshire).

This will follow the approach taken on area 7 (East Midlands) earlier this year where Highways England has taken greater control over the priority of works and how money is spent.

The change means each area having four separate contracts for maintenance and incident response; design; specialist services; and capital project delivery.

Previously, under asset support contracts, work had been carried out by single providers.

Highways England’s incumbent contractors the relevant areas are: EM Highways Services (areas 1 and 13); Skanska (area 2); and the A-one+ Inte­grated High­way Ser­vices, featuring Halcrow, Colas and Costain (area 14).

The existing asset support contract for area 1 will be extended by three months after which it will switch to an asset-led delivery model.

The area 2 ASC contract is due to expire in July 2017.

Both areas will use asset-led delivery contracts by July 2017, after which Highways England will combine design and capital project delivery contracts into one package.

The move to asset-led delivery comes just ten months after Highways England had restarted procurement of asset support contracts for areas 1,13 and 14; at the time it said bids for the work were ”not supporting the delivery of the contracts”.

Two new asset support contracts for area 4 (Kent, Surrey, East and West Sussex) and area 12 (Yorkshire and Humberside Ports) will go ahead unchanged.

A year ago, the tender processes for both ASCs were suspended and restarted due to value for money concerns.

The area 4 and 12 contracts were “further advanced in the procurement process” and will be awarded shortly as planned, according to a Highways England spokesman.

He added that the different types of procurement, including ASCs, asset-led delivery and design, build, finance and operate (DBFOs) will continue to be used where appropriate.

He said the asset-led delivery contracts would allow Highways England to have greater oversight of aspects including spending and data.

Asset-led delivery

The new approach comprises four key types of contract:

  • Maintenance and incident response – providing routine maintenance and responding to incidents from Highways England depots;
  • Design – taking briefs from Highways England and turning them into well-defined packages of work, including repairing and reinstating network after incidents; 
  • Specialist services – such as weather forecasting and laboratory testing.
  • Capital project delivery – delivery of work including emergency repairs.

A Highways England spokesman said: “We have decided our delivery arrangements need to evolve in some areas, and will therefore be adopting the asset-led delivery model which we are using in the East Midlands (Area 7) in areas 1, 2, 13 and 14. This will include key functions such as design management, routine management and construction work.

“This will enable us to take more ownership of investment decisions and to increase our intelligence on local factors that influence where work is needed. By directly engaging suppliers we will help drive down cost and waste, providing the best possible value for money for taxpayers.”

Kier LoHAC roadworks roads infrastructure

Highways England brings multiple contracts in-house



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