New company appointed to look after our roads

Cheshire East Council have announced that they will be outsourcing the highways service to Ringway Jacobs at a contract value of £75m.

The company will take over the highways service provision, from current provider BAM Nuttall, on October 6th 2011, and deliver savings of more than £1 million per year.

The new contract covers highways management, design and maintenance services including street lighting. Verge maintenance and development management are currently excluded from the scope and the term of the contract is 5 years with the opportunity to extend for a further 2 years.

Approval was given by Cabinet on Monday, June 6th, and the new contractor will be required to fulfil the following core activities:

  • General management including control centre, emergency and out of hours response, statutory notices, legal claims investigation and support.
  • Asset management including safety inspections, surveys and planning.
  • Civil and structural engineering - routine and reactive maintenance (including carriageway, footway, structural repairs and surfacing); capital schemes.
  • Traffic signals, street lighting and signs - routine and reactive maintenance; capital schemes.
  • Winter service including fleet management and contract management of rock salt provision and related monitoring services contracts.
  • Professional services (traffic engineering, bridge management and design, road safety engineering, design and project management and contract management services).
  • The contractor will be expected to work with the Council to improve and integrate the highways information management systems and other related ICT systems.

Cheshire East Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: "It has been a busy and challenging 14-month procurement process. I am very pleased with the outcome, which is down to an extensive, open and transparent consultation.

"The highways service is a vast and vital part of Cheshire East Council. Ringway Jacobs is a forward-thinking company with clear objectives as to how highways services can be delivered efficiently at a local level. The new contract will be a streamlined one, combining excellent service with financial savings.

"This new five-year contract will deliver savings in excess of £1 million per year.

"The procurement process was aided by the contribution of members, officers and the public. I would like to thank them for their efforts and I look forward to the start of our new partnership with Ringway Jacobs in October.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank BAM Nuttall for their service and wish the company well for the future."

Bill Taylor, Managing Director for Ringway Jacobs said: "This is an exciting time for Ringway Jacobs, Cheshire East Council and their road users. We have enjoyed the procurement process and I feel we understand the needs of Cheshire East Council, allowing us to deliver the key services whilst understanding local priorities and bringing about efficiencies in the way we deliver them."

"We have extensive experience of delivering contracts similar to this one. I am very much looking forward to this partnership with Cheshire East Council, bringing together the best of the public and private sector."

We asked Cheshire East Council how many of the 129 employees in the Highways Department have taken voluntary redundancy but we were told this had not yet been finalised.

We also enquired how many people will remain employed at Cheshire East Council (CEC) in the Highways Department and we were informed that there will be "a CEC core partnership management team of 15-20 with whom Ringway Jacobs will be sharing office space."

A number of existing Council Highways Service staff will also be transferred to Ringway Jacobs under transfer of employment arrangements (TUPE) but at the time of publication staff numbers had not been confirmed.

Cheshire East Council