Value: £168m to £845m
NEC3 contracts/options used: NEC3 TSC Option C, Option A, NEC3 ECC Option C
Start-finish dates: Commencements from August 2011 to April 2014 with expiries from July 2017 to March 2028
Main project team members: Nick Twaite Stephanie Walton Hayley Morris
Scope and significance of project:
The Highways Service is one of the most visible of the services provided by Worcestershire County Council and includes the statutory duty to maintain the highway. Collaboration is a key driver in successful delivery of our services, since over 85% of the service is provided by external suppliers and Worcestershire County Council aims to be an excellent commissioning authority. We are in our second (in some cases third) round of using NEC contracts to commission services. The service is delivered by five term contracts; Highway Maintenance, Professional Services, Lighting, Traffic Signals and Civil Engineering (for infrastructure improvements) supported through joint working and managed by the County Council. The client side function manages a variety of services including Member engagement, capital investment, highways inspections, development control, and traffic management.
Please detail how you demonstrated collaboration on your project:
Early Contractor Engagement isn't something we need to formulate a process for; our highways maintenance teams work together in our two main operational Depots in a team-based setting, sitting and working alongside one another according to their work discipline, not their employer. We take pride in the "we all work for Worcestershire Highways" ethic; after all one party cannot provide the service without the other. A central office houses the Contract Service Manager, Contractor's Divisional Manager, Client Asset Management Team and finance staff ensuring the biggest single contract has the opportunity to operate and co-operate successfully within a shared space. The collaboration isn't just contractual, for example shared charity fund raising events happen regularly! Our other contracts also involve regular space sharing for project teams.
All our projects, from maintenance to public realm to large infrastructure improvements have a joint team made up of the relevant parties that develop the scheme including exploring processes that could be employed to give the most cost effective result. All contracts have outcome-based specifications where possible and encourage the supplier and the rest of the supply chain to collaborate to achieve Worcestershire's objectives. Contractors are obliged to "Find it in Worcestershire", ensuring local suppliers have a vested interest in local highways. Regular team meetings are held for all services to ensure good communication and ideas are explored to continuously improve. When we have a new initiative to develop, joint workshops are held to tease out ideas, a recent example being Preserve and Evolve (see photo).
As a result, our defect repair service is now completely self-certifying; the contractor not only schedules repairs for the appropriate timescales, he also enters completion dates and demonstrates his compliance by means of digital photographs. We knew compliance with Clause 10.1 would be vital to the successful running of our services. For the two most recent contracts, professional services and highways maintenance service, we included a KPI measuring compliance with Clause 10.1. Failing this KPI alone results in the Contractor failing to win contract extensions, a major incentive in term contracts. We measure the contactor's performance on clause 10.1 by issuing surveys to the employer's staff. Every month a sample of orders is extracted, with each originator being asked to rate the contractor's compliance from 0 to 10 and offer comments related to that score, in confidence. Clause 10.1 applies equally to both parties, so we also issue a survey to the contractor's members of staff in order to obtain a full picture.
Both sets of results are published monthly to demonstrate the performance of both parties. One of our suppliers achieved B11000 accreditation for the last two years in respect of their relationship with WCC. The scores and comments demonstrate that both parties are working together well, to mutual benefit, but have also highlighted at an early stage those areas requiring attention enabling us to ensure we all act as stated in the contract and in a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation.