Cabinet agrees new highways maintenance contract


Posted on: 14 September 2016

Devon County Council’s Cabinet has agreed recommendations to award its highways term maintenance contract to Skanska Construction UK Limited.

The contract, which is yet to be formally awarded, will run from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2024, with extension options for a further three years. The Cabinet decision is subject to usual council procedures, and subject to the decision not being “called-in” for further consideration, all of the bidders will be notified of the outcome and the County Council will enter into “standstill” period before Skanska Construction can be formally appointed.

The County Council’s current highways term maintenance contract with South West Highways Ltd, which covers routine, reactive, emergency and planned highway maintenance work, expires at the end of March 2017.

It is anticipated that a large number of current South West Highways employees will be eligible to transfer to Skanska Construction UK Ltd, under legislation to protect workers when work passes to a new contractor.

Skanska Construction’s proposals, as part of its winning bid, include a range of initiatives to tackle potholes, job creation for Devon residents, introduction of an efficiency and performance manager, an affordability review every three years to target investment, and improved communications.

Devon has been working jointly with Plymouth City Council and Somerset County Council in developing the new contract, with companies invited to tender for one, two or all three contracts. Plymouth City Council yesterday (Tuesday 13 September) decided to appoint South West Highways Ltd as its new highway maintenance contractor, subject to the same “call-in” and statutory “standstill’ period, and Somerset is expected to announce its decision at a later date.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Cllr Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “This is a very significant contract for the County Council and we believe we have secured the best solution, with a focus on price and quality. We want to ensure the new contract provides value for money as well as providing a good service to Devon’s communities and users of our 8,000 mile highway network.”

The County Council’s Cabinet also agreed to continue collaborative work with Somerset County Council and Plymouth City Council, which is likely to provide advantages through sharing experience and expertise to deliver cost savings. Collaboration between highway authorities in the region will also continue through the South West Highways Alliance, a partnership of 15 highway authorities in the south west.

12 comments on “Cabinet agrees new highways maintenance contract

  1. Danny says:

    Swh have looked after are network very well over the years, if you guys needed to save money, then don’waste money on road improvements at millions that still will not work.

  2. Bob Jones says:

    All it means is more Quantity Surveyors measuring and remeasuring the same job/work again and again to squeeze the last penny out of Devon. Skanska is one of the most Contractual Contractors I have come across in all my years in Highways Maintenance.

    They will pick and choose the work on this profit and will only follow the KPI’s that relate to the extension of the contract and imposition of penalties.

    Be prepare for a worse service that will cost more and employ more managers and accountants and less staff doing the work. (Perhaps paid less than now !)

    The pot holes will be so big I might ask for a Hover Craft or a Helicopter.

    • Devon recently awarded the new Highway Maintenance Term Contract to Skanska, who provided the best value tender for this important area of work.

      Building on our experience of developing collaborative arrangements with our suppliers, this new contract provides for working in a spirit of mutual co-operation and will enable Devon to continue to improve efficiency and customer service.

      Key performance indicators are designed to reflect the overall performance of the new contract, including customer feedback to enable the Devon Highway Officers and Skanska to focus on what is important, to respect each other’s objectives and to enable contract extensions depending upon good performance.

      The approach was tested in the latter years of the contract with South West Highways. It proved that by working together efficiencies can be gained to the benefit of the Devon Council Tax payer. We also know this is how Skanska works with many other clients and we are looking forward to sharing best practice between us.

      When the new contract is in place, we would be pleased to invite Mr Jones to meet the new Devon Highways Team and to see how hard we are all working to deliver the best possible highway services for users of the Devon Highways network.

  3. Devon Resident says:

    As someone who knows more than most about the detail behind the story (but has no vested interest in either defending or promoting DCC):

    – If (and it’s a big “if”) the wrong contractor has been chosen, it won’t be for lack of diligence and effort – a HUGE amount of time and brain-power will have been expended on designing the evaluation process which gave this result.

    – Against that back-drop, it’s quite amusing to see that there are people who already know better (e.g. that the work will fall to bits).

    – The process looked at a combination of price AND quality – yes, price is important, because (unless the Devon public is willing to pay more tax), the money available is unfortunately limited, but nobody will have won on a lower quote alone.

    – Employees’ jobs are protected under TUPE. That said, if their roles are redundant, why SHOULD they be protected? Should our taxes be spent on paying people who aren’t needed? If their roles aren’t redundant, they can’t be booted as a result of a change of contractor. Simples.

    – On a point of detail, PCC is not “keeping” SWH – it has CHANGED to SWH.

    Be nice if people checked their facts before embarrassing themselves by bleating away on comments boards.

  4. David Pearson says:

    Well done DCC , this is well over due the farce of the present contractors had to be stopped. However as we all know the real fault lay in the engineer’s of county hall and there cosy relationship with the contractors. Give me cormac and there work over Devon’s any day.

    • Nette says:

      Do you know what you are talking about, NO you do not!

    • charles yates says:

      i have just found myself directed to this site and noticed the comment by David Pearson and i would say to you that i watched your quality CORMAC workers performing outside Lidl in torquay and watched as the site to be overlayed was sprayed with tackcoat [or whatever the product used may be called ] the site was under sprayed and not even to within a metre of the edge and half a metre of the end of the rip ,this will of course let water ingress the overlay at the joint ,by the way i did take pictures for when this site fails, before you say i dont know what im talking about ,i have done the job myself

  5. Nette says:

    Not a thought for all the hundreds of employees that will loose their jobs! The families that will suffer hardship and apart from this, it may have been a lower quote from Skanska, but there will be hidden costs, which they will recoup and more! It will also cost the people of Devon more money too! Well done DCC, another valuable service to the community.

  6. Irene Fisher says:

    It is very difficult to comment when we don’t know the full terms of the contract. Are they cheaper? Are they providing more cover for similar money? Why are Plymouth keeping S.W.Highways & not going to Skanska?

  7. sandra Willetts says:

    Why is our County Council looking at awarding a contract to a Swedish Company when we should be keeping money & jobs “in house” for the UK????

  8. Alan says:

    What happens in 6 months when the cheaper work falls to bits
    Will you have a bigger budget to pay for vehicle damage

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