The first of the new contracts have been awarded to Kier as an extension to existing Asset Support Contract (ASC) arrangements that it has been carrying out across the Midlands and the South East. As part of the changes, Highways England will take on almost 120 people from Kier.
Highways England’s new way of working is intended to help a move to bring more key services in-house. The government-funded company is moving to take a more controlling role in asset management as part of its commitment to improving the way England’s motorways and major A-roads are maintained, improved and operated.
The new system – Progressive Asset Delivery (PAD) - comes after more than a year’s planning and has been introduced in the Midlands and the South East this week. PAD will provide a link between the traditional Asset Support Contracts and the Asset Delivery model that puts Highways England in direct control of asset management, maintenance and other services.
The three-year contracts have been awarded to Kier as an extension to the existing ASC arrangements. The new arrangements are intended to bring about a smooth transition of services into Highways England’s direct control with the continued support of the supplier.
Highways England said that the safety net offered by Kier will ensure it is ‘business as usual’ while allowing the business to explore new and more efficient ways of working as it moves towards Asset Delivery.
PAD has been introduced to Highways England’s Area 3 - Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and part of Buckinghamshire – and Area 9 - West Midlands, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and part of North Gloucestershire.
The new contracts target 13 business objectives, which include setting up regional operations centres as Highways England-controlled single deployment organisations responsible for incident and congestion management.
Midlands divisional director Catherine Brookes said: “This is a huge change to how we will provide our services in the West Midlands. We are taking the controlling role in asset management and investment decisions but also continuing to build on the great collaborative relationships developed over the past five years in our contract with Kier and the wider supply chain.
“We see this as a journey and will be working hard to learn and develop our capabilities and the right approach for future delivery. The progressive nature of this contractual arrangement will allow us to gradually develop and enhance our delivery approach over the three-year period.”
Area 3 divisional director Nicola Bell said: “The transition to Progressive Asset Delivery marks a significant milestone for us in the South East and is a real testament to the commitment and determination of the team in Kier and Highways England who have worked collaboratively to make it happen.
“Collaboration is essential to our approach and we look forward to working with our supply chain to share skills and knowledge over the coming months.”
Kier Highways executive director Dave Wright said: “We have a long history of working in Area 3 and Area 9 and we are proud to have assisted Highways England in mobilising this next contract – Progressive Asset Delivery.
"As the first service provider to support the client in this way, we would like to thank our teams for working so hard in such a short space of time to achieve a shared goal. This is the true definition of collaboration.
"We are also extremely proud to be mobilising the new Area 9 Technology Maintenance Contract which is a highly specialised field and we look forward to the next three years working alongside our colleagues in Highways England.”