12 December 2012

A radical way of running Northamptonshire County Council’s highways and transport service bringing millions of pounds of savings will be discussed by the authority’s cabinet.

The concept will see the highways and transport department merge with the council’s current highways contractor MGWSP to form a single integrated team – Northamptonshire Highways.

Elected councillors working with a retained small team of county council highways and transport experts will still decide on which policies and standards the service should deliver.

However Northamptonshire Highways will deliver the service, bringing about efficiencies with a target saving of £2.2 million by 2014/2015.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “The people of Northamptonshire will not see any change in the highways and transport service which is provided to them because of this change but it will mean that we are able to drive greater efficiencies and make financial savings.

“It’s no secret that the public sector is facing a very difficult time financially so it’s important that we find new, radical ways of running the services that we provide.

“It’s important that we maintain the same excellent service and standards which we do now but being able to do that and save money at the same time, means that there are advantages for everyone.”

Julian Lidiard, head of Infrastructure Joint Ventures at MGWSP said: “We are excited to be joining forces with the county council to become Northamptonshire Highways and collaborating in a way which is aligned to Northamptonshire County Councils’ need to identify more efficient ways of working whilst making significant savings.

“The first four years of the contract have shown us that there is enormous potential within our combined capabilities. This new model provides us with an even better opportunity to deliver a high quality highway and transport service to the people of Northamptonshire.”

Advantages to the new model include a new management structure which allows decisions to be made more easily with less duplication of roles and an improved team culture.

Northamptonshire Highways has operated on a trial basis since July this year, delivering routine highways and transport activities as well as major projects such as the A43 Corby Link Road and St John’s, Northampton. The new operating model has already delivered £350,000 in efficiencies.

Highways and transport has already delivered £13 million of the £26 million savings already made in the council’s environment, development and transport directorate in the financial years 2009/10 to 2011/12.

A further £10 million of savings are forecast to be required in the EDT directorate up to 2015/2016, which has prompted the re-structuring and the creation of the new HALO concept for the council.