In a bid to ensure the critical success of the Government’s £6bn pledge to improve local roads between 2015 and 2021, the NEC suite of contracts has been positioned at the heart of a major overhaul of Local Authority (LA) highway service procurement.
Amongst growing pressure to tighten purse strings and requirements to make up any road network maintenance shortfall through other funding, a newly established £578m fund – earmarked for rewarding LAs that can demonstrate efficiencies – represents a critical opportunity for councils.
The NEC3 Term Service Contract (with amendments) has been selected as the works contract at the centre of the new £6m Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) – a sector-led procurement suite and best practice framework established to revamp, simplify and standardise the way English Local Highway Authorities procure highway services.
The HMEP matches these essential savings and efficiencies with an ever-growing need for highways maintenance. It has been designed by the highways sector, for the highways sector, to enable change and provide the tools and resources to help leaders and managers transform delivery of roads and services.
To support essential widespread understanding and adoption of the HMEP, NEC has also spearheaded a number of training courses for those local authorities using the framework.
The NEC’s Peter Higgins and Tim Knee Robinson played a vital role in the renewal of the HMEP and the incorporation of the NEC3 Term Service Contract.
Rekha Thawrani, general manager for NEC, comments: “We’re proud to support the Government’s vital commitment to ensuring all roads are fit for the future.
“While better roads remain a key priority for the Government, the purpose of the HMEP has been to harness the expertise of the businesses that will be procured to deliver improved highways efficiently set against a backdrop of tighter budgets, increased costs and greater demand.
“Clients and providers have worked together to provide clear direction for the highways sector, providing an enhanced suite of ready-made procurement documents that can reduce the required time, resource and cost, while benchmarking current contract performance to inform future contract delivery.
“The amended NEC3 Term Service Contract used within the programme represents a key simplifying and enabling document which promotes both efficient best practice and fair project collaboration.”
Matthew Lugg OBE, Director of Public Services for Mouchel Infrastructure Services & HMEP Advocate, commented: “Roads are one of our country’s greatest assets. Last year, the highways sector kept England’s local roads moving for over 47 million users. The importance of a well-maintained road network to economic prosperity and to local communities is higher than ever before.
“This improved suite of resources, developed by the sector to help simplify and standardise the way Local Highway Authorities procure highway services and manage their term maintenance contracts, is now available.
“The NEC contract is at the heart of this framework, and we’re grateful to the contracts team for their significant support in revamping the scheme.
“In addition, The NEC’s training resources are already proving an invaluable component in the education of Local Authority project and management teams.”
More details about the HMEP can be found on http://www.highwaysefficiency.org.uk/