Highways Agency evidence to the Environment,
Transport & Regional Affairs Committee
2.1.1 The Highways Agency was established
in April 1994. It is responsible for operating, maintaining, and
improving the 6,500 mile network of motorways and trunk roads
in England, valued at about £65 billion including assets
transferred to the Greater London Authority during 2000-01. A
map showing the trunk road and motorway network is at Annex A.
The agency has an annual budget, in 2000-01, of £1.51 billion
including cover for Transport for London for the first 3 months
prior to transfer. The first root and branch review of the Agency
was completed in July 1999. This confirmed its status as an executive
2.1.2 The July 1998 Transport White Paper,
A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone, and the trunk
roads review, A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England, redefined
the direction of the Agency. Focus has shifted from being a builder
and maintainer of the strategic road network roads to encompass
the additional responsibility of network operator. Since July
1998, the strategic aim of the Highways Agency has been:
To contribute to sustainable development
by maintaining, operating and improving the trunk road network
in support of the Government's integrated transport and land use
2.1.3 The aim is under-pinned by the following
eight key Ministerial objectives, reflecting that maintenance
should have the highest priority, followed by making better use
of the existing assets and delivering the Government's targeted
programme of investment:
To give priority to the maintenance
of trunk roads and bridges with the broad objective of minimising
whole life costs.
To develop the role of network operator
by implementing traffic management, network communications and
other measures aimed at making best use of the existing infrastructure
and facilitating integration with other transport modes.
To take action to reduce congestion
and increase the reliability of journey times.
To carry out the Government's targeted
programme of investment in trunk road improvements.
To minimise the impact of the trunk
road network on both the natural and built environment.
To improve safety for all road users
and contribute to the Government's new safety strategy and targets
To work in partnership with road
users, transport providers and operators, local authorities and
others affected by agency operations. To promote choice and information
for travellers, monitoring and publishing information about the
performance and reliability of the network.
To be a good employer, managing the
agency's business efficiently and effectively, seeking continuous
2.1.4 Six outcome-based Ministerial Indicators
and related targets were agreed to replace the 19 Key Performance
Targets set for the Agency in 1999-2000. These are in the Business
Plan for 2000-01.
2.1.5 The publication in July 2000 of Transport
2010: The 10-Year Plan is unlikely to require a change to
the aim and objectives of the Agency, as these are consistent
with the themes and outcomes covered in that plan. The targets
in the 10-Year Plan for such issues as congestion and safety will
be reflected in the Agency's performance indicators in future
Overview of the Agency Board and Management Structure
2.1.6 At the start of this financial year
the Agency employed a total of 1,707 staff. They are located in
the Agency's headquarters in London and its 10 other offices in
eight regional locations. A map showing these offices is at Annex
2.1.7 The Highways Agency's Management Board
comprises the Chief Executive, five executive directors, and two
internal non-executive members. In additional to internal staff
the Management Board has an external adviser who is a senior manager
in a private sector organisation. The work of the Agency is overseen
by the Highways Agency Advisory Board chaired by the DETR Permanent
2.1.8 The Agency is divided into six business
areas as follows:
Network and Customer Services (NCS) acts
as network owner and operator, identifying and commissioning bids
and programmes of work. They provide the main point of contact
with the public and take forward customer service initiatives.
They are also the main focal point within the Agency for regional
planning, liasing with Government Offices for the Regions, Regional
Development Agencies and Local Authorities.
Project Services (PS) are the Agency's
project delivery organisation. They manage day-to-day operations
and implement maintenance and network control projects and road
improvements. They are responsible for implementing new and better
procurement methods and for developing further the partnering
approach to project delivery. PS also manage the Agency's land
holdings, including the acquisition and disposal of land.
Quality Services (QS) are responsible
for maintaining the Agency's best business practice approach to
trunk road management, operation, design and procurement. They
are also responsible for the development and management of the
Agency's Research and Development Strategy, which encourages innovation
and the introduction of new ideas.
Corporate Services (CS) were established
as a separate business in May 2000 to strengthen the Agency's
corporate and business planning capabilities. They are also responsible
for formulating strategies for the network as a whole and developing
Finance Services (FS) are responsible
for the business and financial control of the Agency, including
corporate governance, financial and legal propriety, and information
Human Resource Services (HRS) develop
policies and strategies to enable the Agency to secure and retain
a motivated workforce with the required competencies. They are
also responsible for managing estate and office services.
Additionally, the Chief Executive's Office
(CEO) comprises a small support team, including the Public
Relations Department and Internal Audit, reporting directly to
the Chief Executive.
2.2.1 In 1998/99 the Agency was set 16 Key
Performance Targets and met or exceeded 12. In 1999/2000 the Agency
was set 19 Key Performance Targets, of which 14 were achieved.
The safety target cannot be verified until accident statistics
are compiled and validated.
|Complete x lane kilometres of surface renewal
|Complete x bridge maintenance schemes costing over £200,000
|Comply with EU Directive that whole trunk road network is available for use by 40 tonne vehicles
|The Agency will apply financial value management and value engineering guidelines to all national schemes at prescribed stages
|Develop jointly with DETR(C) indices of the condition of road pavement suitable for publication
|To ensure that there is no material disruption on the network as result of the Millennium Bug by;
|Carrying out risk assessment of systems & kit
|Having Agency-wide business continuity and contingency plans in place
|Ensure major road works on existing roads are:
|No more than 2.5 miles (4 kms) long; and
At least 6 miles (9.6 kms) apart outside
|Improve on prior year
|Ensure percentage of trunk road network having zero residual life at 31/3/2000 is less than figure in 1998 National Road Maintenance Condition Survey
see note 1
|Making Better Use of Network||
|Progress Traffic Control Centre public-private partnership to point of inviting Best and Final Offers
|Complete x road schemes costing between £100,000 and £3 million
|Complete x network control projects
|Complete x local network management schemes each costing less than £3 million
|Publish congestion monitoring information including National Road Network Assessment System Maps and Trafficmaster data
|Ensure accident rates involving personal injury do not exceed x accidents for every 100 million vehicle kilometres of travel
|Complete x safety schemes||200
|Targeted programme of improvements
|By end year achieve x% of scheme milestones
|Vacant residential property at end year not to exceed x% of portfolio
|Habitable properties empty over 6 months not to exceedx%
|Manage programme budget within x% of agreed budget
|Manage running costs withinx% of agreed budget
|Road Users Charter
To improve performance where achievement levels fell blow that achieved in the previous year
|11 of 13
|11 of 15
see note 2
|Submit to Secretary of State revised Road Users Charter
Achieve 5 out of 6 and miss 6th by no more than 10%
|6 of 6||achieved
Review the Agency's environmental reporting requirements and agree necessary changes with DETR. Submit results to Secretary of State by 31/12/1998
|Agree revised environmental strategy for the Agency in line with the Government's integrated transport policy
Achieve x% efficiency/effectiveness targets
(8 of 9)
||8 of 9||8 of 9
|Continuous Business Improvement
To develop and introduce jointly with DETR(C) a revised set of efficiency targets and indicators
|To publish Agency policy and action plan on Greening Government
|Attain Investors in People accreditation
|Meet key milestones for introducing resource accounting and budgeting
|Note 1: Percentage for 1999-2000 calculated using latest knowledge of life pavements.|
Note 2: 82.4 per cent of letters answered within 15 days. Prior year 83 per cent. Remaining three targets not met relate to cleaning, repair and testing emergency phones. Target of 100 per cent, performance 99 per cent.
2.2.2 Most of the targets set for the Agency in 1998-99
were achieved including submission of a revised Road User's Charter
to Ministers and publication of congestion information in the
Agency annual report. However four targets were missed.The requirement
for the trunk road network to be available for use by 40 tonne
vehicles was missed by 0.01 per cent. The percentage of vacant
residential property at the end of the year stood at 25 per cent
which was 7 per cent over target set. The Agency missed one of
the six Whitehall Standards by 17 per cent when the tolerance
was 10 per cent and only managed 60 per cent against an efficiency
effectiveness target of 80 per cent.
2.2.3 The majority of the targets set for the Agency
in 1999-2000 were achieved, including publishing a Green Policy
Statement and Action Plan, and meeting most of the Road User
Charter obligations and Whitehall Standards. However, the Agency
did miss two targets. The Agency's 1998-99 dry-run" accounts
were qualified and it therefore did not achieve the target of
publishing accounts in the Treasury Resource Accounting and Budgeting
format. The Agency also did not achieve Investors in People (IiP)
accreditation. A reassessment took place in September this year
and the IiP assessor will be recommending to the IiP recognition
panel that the Agency receive accreditation as an Investor in
People. The Agency also missed a sub-target in each of the Road
Users Charter and Whitehall Standards targets.
Performance Targets 2000/01
2.2.4 Appendix C sets out the more focussed set of targets
from the 2000-01 Business Plan. The work of the Agency divides
into four main areas:
2.2.5 The Agency's top priority is to maintain the network
in a safe and serviceable condition (ie available for use) whilst
minimising costs over time, disruption to users and others affected
by the network, and the adverse impact on the environment. The
2000-01 maintenance budget is £691 million plus £17
million for Transport for London roads prior to transfer.
2.2.6 Maintenance includes a wide range of activities,
from major reconstruction and resurfacing of road pavements and
repairing bridges, to the everyday upkeep such as clearing litter,
servicing emergency telephones, cleaning road signs and salting
roads before ice and snow are expected.
2.2.7 The Agency achieved all its maintenance targets
in 1999-2000 and significantly exceeded the targets for delivering
bridge maintenance schemes and road surface renewal.
Making Better Use
2.2.8 The July 1998 Transport White Paper charged the
Agency with developing and implementing measures aimed at making
better use of the trunk road network and integration with other
transport networks. The Making Better Use (MBU) programme has
a budget of £224 million in 2000-01 with an additional £3
million to cover Transport for London roads prior to transfer.
This programme delivers across the five criteria identified in
the White Paper of:
Supporting a sustainable economy.
Improving accessibility to everyday facilities
for all, especially for those without a car.
Reducing impact on the built and natural environment.
Improving integration with other forms
of transport and land use policy.
2.2.9 The Making Better Use programme includes projects
from the following areas:
Network Communications. This area is a substantial
contributor to the safety and smooth running of the network and
supports the Agency's developing role as a Network Operator. It
includes monitoring of the trunk road network, automatic detection
and warning of incidents and the provision of driver information
Local Network Management Schemes (LNMS). These are
smaller-scale schemes (costing less than £5 million) delivering
local improvements within a short time scale. Historically, smaller
schemes have been targeted mainly at improving safety. This remains
a high priority, but other important areas where such schemes
deliver benefits are economy, environment, accessibility, and
integration. It also includes pilot schemes for innovative projects.
Research and Development (R&D).This programme is
guided by an R&D strategy developed by the Highways Agency
in consultation with DETR(C) and external organisations.
2.2.10 The Agency achieved the 1999-2000 key targets
for delivering smaller scale schemes and for progressing the Traffic
Control Centre project. Data required to ascertain whether the
target for reducing road casualties was met will not be received
and analysed by DETR(C) until late autumn.
Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI)
2.2.11 This is the programme of major road improvements
announced in A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England, plus the further
additions announced in March 2000 and the additional programme
of work outlined in Transport 2010: The 10-Year Plan. This programme
of new construction is aimed at addressing some of the most pressing
infrastructure problems, to provide safer and healthier communities,
regeneration and integration, and in support of jobs and prosperity.
The budget for the TPI programme (£482 million in 2000-01
with £14 million to cover Transport for London roads prior
to transfer) comprises three main elements - those schemes funded
conventionally, those funded through public-private partnerships,
and the costs of acquiring and managing land. There are
also a number of Multi-Modal Studies (MMS) taking place at this
time in order to identify the sustainable solutions for some of
the most congested parts of the network. It is envisaged that
some of these studies will recommend a roads based solution to
the pressures they are addressing leading to further additions
to the TPI programme.
2.2.12 The Agency achieved the 1999-2000 key targets
in this area, by slightly exceeding the target of meeting 85 per
cent of the TPI scheme milestones, and by reducing its portfolio
of residential properties and the proportion of properties left
Modernising the Highways Agency
2.2.13 The Agency's key objective of being a good employer,
managing the Agency's business efficiently and effectively, and
seeking continuous business improvement, remains a high priority,
particularly as the Agency takes forward the programme of action
arising from the Modernising Government White Paper.
2.2.14 The lease on the Agency's existing London office
(St Christopher House) expires in September 2002 and a replacement
office has to be found. It will cost significantly more. Following
the transfer of roads to the Greater London Authority the Agency
has reviewed its longer-term presence in London. The review concluded
that the Agency's future business needs and operational functions
could be met with fewer posts located in London. By the time the
lease expires, the Agency plans to reduce London posts from about
400 to 250 by moving posts to other regional offices and continued
gradual migration thereafter until the final level of London posts
is achieved. Staff representatives are being consulted and staff
will be kept fully informed at every key stage in the process.
2.3.1 Customer service has always been a priority for
the Highways Agency. Considerable progress in developing customer-focused
services had already been made when the Modernising Government
White Paper was published in March 1999, with a member of the
management board acting as the "customer's champion"
since 1996. The Agency is committed to serving its customers by:
informing customers about services provided
by the Agency; what is happening, or is planned to happen, on
the motorway and trunk road network and what impact this will
have on road users;
responding promptly to customers' enquiries,
complaints and comments; ensuring that information is available
when and where they need it, including electronically;
consulting customers on their concerns
and priorities as road users through regular independent surveys
and involving them through committees and focus groups;
feeding back customers' views into service
standards, targets and planning to improve the quality of
Providing Information To Customers
2.3.2 Customers can access information directly from
the Highways Agency Information Line, Local Customer Information
Lines, and the Website. Information is also made available through
a range of publications, press notices, videos, and public exhibitions.
2.3.3 The Highways Agency Information Line (HAIL)
was set up by the Agency in 1994 to replace the former Department
of Transport "Cones Hotline". The call rate has risen
from 3500 per year in 1994 to 67,500 in 1999, and continues to
rise. Approximately half the calls are about current road works,
including requests for advice about journey planning. The remainder
are general enquiries, some of which are re-directed to DETR(C),
to local authorities and to public transport providers. An independent
survey in 1999 showed customer satisfaction levels of above 90
per cent for staff courtesy, helpfulness and speed of initial
2.3.4 The customer survey indicated a demand for
improving the quality of road works information. In response,
a new IT project is being developed to enable information on road
works and other incidents to be updated on a daily basis. This
enhanced service should be available by the end of 2000. In the
longer term, the Traffic Control Centre Project will deliver
real-time information about events on the network, enabling road
users to make more informed decisions about how and when to travel.
The Agency will also be developing the links established with
other transport providers and will support DETR(C) in the development
of the comprehensive internet-based travel information service,
2.3.5 Where appropriate, Local Customer Information
Lines are also provided for callers wanting to make enquiries
about local schemes and issues. At a local level Area Team Managers
and Project Managers of new schemes maintain contact with customers
through meetings, correspondence, and publishing leaflets.
2.3.6 The Highways Agency Website was first launched
in 1997 and has been redeveloped in 1998 and again in June 2000.
It has links to public transport operators; other transport-related
sites such as motoring organisations, pedestrian and cyclist groups;
and environmental groups. On average, the site has 10,000 visitors
a month, including enquiries that receive a written reply. Information
currently available on the website includes details of planned
road works on the motorway and trunk road network; key publications;
contractual information; and contact points for customers wishing
to make enquiries.
2.3.7 In future, we aim to provide better quality travel
information from the new IT system and the Traffic Control Centre
Project described above; improve the information focused on young
users; and use the website as a means of consulting users and
the public about issues and schemes. More information will be
provided for technical audiences and contractors and links provided
to the websites established by the Cabinet Office covering recruitment
and interchange opportunities.
Responding To Customers
2.3.8 The Agency's Correspondence Management target
is to respond within 15 working days to 85 per cent of the 30,000
communications (letters,e-mails and faxes) received each year
which need a written reply. In 1999-2000 the Agency achieved 82.4
per cent but current figures show an improvement to 86 per cent.
The Agency recognises that it needs to continue to improve response
times still further.
2.3.9 Complaints are treated as a valuable source
of information, providing opportunities for customer-focused improvements.
Where a customer is not satisfied with the way in which a complaint
has been handled there are established procedures in place that
include an appeal to an independent mediator. Nine complaints
have been referred to the mediator since the procedure was set
up in 1996. A review of the complaints procedure is taking place
with the aim of streamlining the procedure and making more effective
use of complaints analysis to inform service improvements.
Customer Consultation And Involvement
2.3.10 Four national Road User Satisfaction Surveys
have been undertaken since 1995. The report of the most recent
one was published in June 2000. The aim of these regular surveys
is to track changes in the opinions and concerns of motorway and
trunk road users and to enable us to identify priorities for improvements
to services on the network.The surveys show that satisfaction
with Highways Agency services has been increasing over the period
1995 to 1999.
2.3.11 The most recent national survey showed that customers'
main priorities for the future are improvements in overall maintenance
and the speed and efficiency of carrying out road works. The issue
is being addressed in a specific Survey of Attitudes to Road
Works, which are also the subject of a significant proportion
of customer complaints. The aim is to provide us with information
enabling customer-focused improvements to be made in the management
of road works. A Mystery Shopping Survey has also been
commissioned to test the quality of the information provided by
Road Users' Charter
2.3.12 The first Road Users' Charter was published in
1994. It has been revised twice and a further revision is planned
for publication later this year. It is distributed widely through
service areas, petrol stations, council offices, libraries etc,
and is available on the Agency's Website. The Charter describes
the work of the Agency and how customers can make contact. It
also sets out standards we aim to achieve in delivering services.
These standards are supported by a corresponding set of performance
2.3.13 In preparing the new edition of the Charter the
Agency has involved its customers in identifying and drawing up
new and revised targets through a Road Users Charter Targets
Survey, the results of which were published in June. The objective
was to develop, refine and test ideas for targets through customer
based research, enabling future targets to be better focused on
road users' concerns and priorities.
2.3.14 The national Road Users Committee (RUC)
was established in 1994 to involve all users of the motorway and
trunk road network and not just motorists, in a direct dialogue
with the Agency. Membership is made up of senior representatives
from the Automobile Association, Royal Automobile Club, Cyclists
Touring Club, Pedestrians Association, British Motorcyclists Federation,
British Horse Society, Confederation of Passenger Transport UK,
Freight Transport Association, Disabled Drivers Association, Road
Haulage Association, Ramblers Association, BBC Travel News, Confederation
of British Industry, Association of Chief Police Officers, National
Federation of Womens Institutes, and the Transport and General
Workers Union. The Committee provides the Agency with the opportunity
to discuss ideas and proposals with road users and those affected
by its proposals. They have also been closely involved in the
recent revision of the Road Users Charter.
2.3.15 Regional committees were established in 1998 to
provide a forum to aid communication between the Agency and its
local customers. The committees discuss regional operational matters
and initiatives, bringing to the attention of the main committee
any issues that have a wider significance. For the most part,
membership mirrors that of the national committee.
2.3.16 In the light of the Agency's new role as a Network
Operator, a Working Group of the RUC committee is currently reviewing
their aims, objectives and membership. The Group has made some
recommendations, which will be discussed at the next meeting in
2.3.17 In 1999 the Agency also established a National
Environment Committee (NEC). The Committee focuses on environmental
operational issues and facilitates liaison between the Agency
and national environmental groups. Membership comprises senior
representatives from the Environment Agency, English Nature, English
Heritage, Countryside Agency, National Air Quality Forum, Civic
Trust, National Trust, Royal Town Planning Institute, Royal Society
for the Protection of Birds, Association of National Park Authorities,
Transport 2000, Council for the Protection of Rural England, and
Friends of the Earth. Regional committees have also been established,
mirroring the National Committee in the same way as the regional
Road User Committee.
2.3.18 In the context of the Government target for all
dealings with Government to be deliverable electronically by 2005,
the priority for the Highways Agency is the provision of accurate
information about the trunk road network. The Agency has been
looking at ways to widen the scope of information provided to
customers, and improve methods of delivering that information.
Variable Message Signs (VMS) at key interchanges
on the motorway network to provide strategic travel and route
planning information. The Agency's research programme continues
to develop this facility to advise motorists of alternative routes
to avoid congestion and reduce delays. Currently the Agency is
developing and evaluating a new motorway VMS sign which can display
a range of coloured pictograms together with text messages.
The Motorway Incident Detection & Automatic
Signalling System (MIDAS) provides automated warnings of incidents
ahead when queues of slow moving or stationary vehicles are detected.
MIDAS has been installed on key parts of the network to reduce
accidents and is being progressively introduced on the most congested
The recent demonstration Travel Information
Highway project (TIH) makes use of Internet technology to
exchange information with network operators and service providers.
One of the first uses of this has been for the Agency to provide
real time (live) information about the motorway signal settings
to the AA and RAC for the Radio Data System - Traffic Message
Channel service. This enables users to be kept informed of
possible congestion locations. In the future, the TIH service
will be provided through the Traffic Control Centre (TCC)
project being developed as a public-private partnership.
The recently launched Road Traffic Advisor
(RTA) project, also developed in partnership with the private
sector, will provide instant travel information for a particular
route, directly into vehicles. The driver will be able to access
a range of information varying from simple sign information to
2.3.19 The Agency's Information Systems/Information and
Communications Technology (IS/ICT) Strategy covers all IS/ICT
and e-commerce issues and addresses the need to further develop
opportunities and electronic purchase and delivery, and to make
progress with digital signatures, web-sites, and Government gateways.
The strategy is currently being reviewed.
2.4.1 The Highways Agency is committed to achieving the
aims set out in the Modernising Government White Paper through
an ongoing and long-term programme of reform.
2.4.2 The new aim and objectives for the Agency, reinforced
by the long-term goals in Transport 2010: The 10-Year Plan,
are already increasing the focus of the Agency on outcomes rather
than outputs and has given added impetus to delivering high quality
services that are efficient and responsive to the needs of citizens.
This is reflected in the following examples:
Strategic Planning in partnership with
regional planning bodies,including active participation in multi-modal
transport studies and working with local highway authorities to
transfer responsibility for non-core parts of the trunk road network
to thema process known as de-trunking.
Developing a series of Strategic Plans covering
each of the investment areas and investment criteria set out in
the Integrated Transport White Paper to deliver the Government's
policies for sustainable development and the provision of integrated
Building on the Strategic Plans by developing
Route Management Strategies for the core network.
Involving the Road Users' Committee and
National Environment Committee in the development of operational
Undertaking regular Customer Satisfaction
Developing improved Risk Analysis and Value
for Money procedures and guidance that are reflected in the Agency's
Procurement Strategy and related initiatives to deliver public-private
partnerships and other partnerships and innovative "Toolkit"
schemes delivering integrated transport solutions.
Responsive Public Services
2.4.3 The Government requires public service to be responsive
and available for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where there is
demand and to have published service standards for their delivery.
It is also seeking to increase the use of a partnership approach
between public sector bodies and an alignment of the boundaries
between them. The Agency currently operates a 24-hour service
for many of its operational services, such as winter salting of
roads, motorway emergency telephones, and travel information.
The Highways Agency Information Line has recently extended its
hours of operation and the website is available 24 hours a day.
The Agency is also actively developing partnerships with transport
operators and industry. Examples of partnerships with other operators
include an agreement with Railtrack to work together in implementing
plans to integrate trunk roads and motorways with rail networks,
and successful pilot schemes with railway and bus operators encouraging
motorists to use other modes of transport.
2.4.4 To fulfil the Agency's operator role more effectively
and strengthen the relationships with planning bodies, the Agency
has re-aligned its operational boundaries to match those of the
Government Offices and regional planning bodies. This enables
the Agency's Network and Customer Service teams to concentrate
on developing relationships with these and other partners, while
Project Services teams focus on the delivery of programmes and
2.4.5 The White Paper emphasis on efficient, high quality
public services is reflected in the development of alternative
methods of procuring services through public-private partnerships
that are delivering better quality services more efficiently.
The Agency has also established a Business Improvement Team to
promote the use of the European Foundation for Quality Management
(EFQM) Business Excellence Model for business improvement and
to lead Better Quality Service Reviews across the organisation.
Previous improvement activities include:
An Agency self assessment using the EFQM Excellence
Divisional and team self assessment exercises
producing prioritised improvement action plans covering approximately
half the Agency;
Process mapping and improvement of Agency procedures
such as invoice handling, procurement, and Development Control
2.4.6 Following the Next Steps Review and Modernising
Government White Paper, business improvement activity has focused
on preparing for Better Quality Service (BQS) Reviews. The Agency
is currently defining its key activities and prioritising reviews
to enable all BQS Reviews to be completed by April 2004.
Valuing Public Service
2.4.7 The requirements to establish core competencies,
empower staff, achieve Investors in People status, reform pay
and grading, improve rewards, set targets for minorities, be a
family friendly employer and provide good training, are well-advanced
in the Highways Agency. The Agency has an established core competence
framework, introduced a new pay and grading structure in 1998
and has developed a reward strategy in 1999-2000. The Agency remains
committed to achieving IiP accreditation having failed to achieve
this in 1999. A reassessment took place in September this year
and the IiP assessor will be recommending to the IiP recognition
panel that the Agency be accredited as an Investor in People.
2.5. TRANSPORT 2010: THE
10 YEAR PLAN
2.5.1 The most significant current issues for the Highways
Agency arise from Transport 2010: The 10-Year Plan published
in July 2000. The targets in the 10-Year Plan will be reflected
in future Agency performance indicators. The Agency's Aim and
Objectives published in the July 1998 Integrated Transport White
Paper were confirmed by the 1999 Next Steps Review and the 10
2.5.2 The Plan envisages a step change in resources with
£21.3 billion allocated for strategic roads over the 10-Year
period enabling the Agency to implement the recommendations of
the multi-modal studies due to report over the next three years.
The funding is sufficient to allow for an indicative programme
of major road schemes of £6.9 billion, in addition to the
present £3 billion Targeted Programme of Improvements. Such
funding levels are sufficient to:
Widen about 9 per cent of the core trunk road
network, including about 13 per cent of the motorway network;
Undertake 80 major (ie over £5 million) junction
Build 30 by-pass schemes on the core network;
Continue to maintain the network in an optimum
Resurface over 60 per cent of the core network,
including all concrete roads, with lower noise surfaces.
2.5.3 This represents a challenging expansion of the
Agency's workload with associated requirements to develop new
measures to speed up delivery without reducing consultation, and
to broadly treble the present levels of new investment through
public-private partnerships. The Agency and DETR(C) have regular
meetings to discuss the actions necessary to deliver the 10 Year
Plan commitments and the progress being made towards delivery.
Recruitment of additional resources is an example of one such
area. The Agency has discussed an outline strategy including staff
2.6. MAJOR REVIEWS
Next Steps Review
2.6.1 The first Next Steps Review of the Highways Agency
since its launch in 1994 was completed in July 1999. The review
evaluated the Agency'sperformance over the period and considered
whether Agency status remained appropriate. The review was steered
by officials from DETR(C), the Agency, Cabinet Office, HM Treasury,
Government Offices and three external members.
2.6.2 On the Agency's performance the review concluded
that it had:
Been largely successful in meeting the targets
it was set.
Made major improvements in its procurement of
maintenance and major schemes and cut its running costs substantially.
Responded quickly and positively to major changes
in policy, having, in particular, shifted its focus from being
a road builder to its new role as a network operator.
However, DETR(C) and the Agency had failed to
put in place effective performance indicators to monitor the performance
of the Agency.
2.6.3 On institutional arrangements the review
Agency status should continue.
The next review should take place no later than
2004 but the Secretary of State might carry this out sooner if
policy developments warrant an earlier review.
New outcome-related performance indicators should
be included in the Agency Business Plan for 2000-01 and better
performance indicators to measure efficiency and effectiveness
introduced. That has been achieved but work is continuing on developing
The Agency should market test new procurement
arrangements for maintenance using longer term, output-based contracts
that transfer more risk to private sector contractors.
Functions that have not already been market tested,
should be reviewed over the next three to five years in line with
the principles set out in the Modernising Government White Paper.
An action plan for Better Quality Service (BQS) reviews is being
The division of the Department's roads technical
expertise between the Agency and DETR(C) should be re-examined
to determine whether greater centralisation of these functions
in either the Agency or DETR(C) would be more appropriate. Decisions
on the outcome of this further review will be taken shortly.
2.6.4 On relations with the central Department, Ministers
and Government Offices the review concluded that:
Greater clarity was needed in the split of responsibilities
between the Department and the Agency. The new Framework Document
seeks to provide this, making it clear that the Agency is responsible
for most trunk road matters apart from the selection of major
schemes. In addition, a working-level document clarifying the
relationship between the Agency and DETR(C) is being prepared.
The Advisory Board should make better use of its
external members and should focus on the management and transport
policy issues affecting the Agency. Four new external members
have been appointed.
2.6.5 The Agency should consult Government Offices formally
about its programme to make better use (MBU) of existing roads
and those offices should be able to recommend switching resources
between the MBU programme and local transport plans. A Service
Level Agreement between the Agency and Government Offices is in
2.7. KEY FACTS
Appendix A: Map of Motorway and Trunk Road Network
Appendix B: Map of Highways Agency Office Locations
Appendix C: Summary of Financial Performance
Appendix D: Table Showing Performance Against Key Ministerial
2.8. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS
A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone
A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England
Transport 2000: The 10-Year Plan
Highways Agency Business Plan 1998-99
Highways Agency Business Plan 1999-2000
Highways Agency Business Plan 2000-01
Highways Agency Annual Report & Accounts 1997-98
Highways Agency Annual Report & Accounts 1998-99
Highways Agency Annual Report & Accounts 1999-2000
Highways Agency Framework Document
Highways Agency Green Policy Statement and Action Plan
Highways Agency Strategic Plan for Safety
Highways Agency Strategic Plan for Maintenance
Highways Agency Environmental Strategic Plan
Highways Agency Strategic Plan for Accessibility