HMEP receives a funding boost to deliver its future plans

 The Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP), which was set up to help the sector to help itself deliver efficiencies, transform highway services and bring improvements in the condition of local roads, will receive further 12-month funding support from the Department for Transport (DfT).

The funding will be used to deliver and firmly embed a new approach for HMEP that will ensure it is owned and run by the sector, so that local highway authorities will continue to get the help they need to improve their efficiency performance, especially linking their performance to DfT’s self-assessed efficiency incentive money.

The funding announcement ties in neatly with the publication of the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA) ALARM Survey 2016 where the AIA chairman Alan Mackenzie indicated: “highways teams are doing more with less as a result of improved efficiencies”. He also said that “the adoption of highways asset management plans for example is allowing them {local highway authorities} to work smarter with less money … as recommended by the government-sponsored Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP)”.

The Road Conditions in England: 2015 report recently published by DfT highlights how the combination of funding and tools (such as HMEP) is starting to help gradual improvement to the classified local road network with less of them requiring maintenance compared with 2010/11. So for principal ‘A’ roads, 86 per cent of authorities (reporting comparable data for both years) reported that the proportion of the network that should have been considered for maintenance either decreased or stayed the same over the 5 year period between 2009/10 and 2014/15. For non-principal road networks the figure was 80 per cent.

Other surveys, show the take up and use of HMEP resources has made a real impact - helping highway authorities deliver tangible efficiencies and improve services, as seen by the growing array of practices used and shared by the sector.

There has been significant progress, and further opportunities remain for service transformation that will support long-term improvements in the condition of our roads. The future plan and delivery partners for HMEP will be announced later this year.

Speaking on behalf of HMEP: Haydn Davies, Programme Manager from HMEP said:
“HMEP, and its innovative solutions already being adopted by many highway authorities and providers to transform roads and services, is a real success story. It’s vital this continues while moving reliance away from central funding. In the future, demand and resources for what the sector needs from HMEP must be generated and delivered from within the sector, ensuring a positive impact is sustained for as long as the sector needs our products and services.”
“The HMEP board is actively shaping a future operating model. Our intention is to pass ownership of products and services to a small number of leading sector-led partners and organisations. We have identified potential willing and able partners with whom we are developing detailed plans to fund and sustain the support needed by local highways authorities in the longer term.”

Jason Russell, Assistant Director of Highways & Transport for Surrey County Council, and HMEP Board member, said:
“When it started in late 2010, HMEP was designed to run for two years. The fact that it has been able to justify continued funding is testimony to its successes since then, and to its future potential to grow and support local highway authorities in achieving real improvements. This extra funding will ensure that HMEP is able to offer support and services that the sector is willing to pay for in the future.”

Geoff Allister OBE, Executive Director for the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) and HMEP Board member, said:
“It’s positive news that local highway authorities are taking up opportunities to work together and with their providers. The need to continue to promote and share practices through the sector remains but more and more authorities are capitalising on each other’s lessons learned to deliver in their areas.”

Matthew Lugg OBE, Director of Public Services at Mouchel Consulting and HMEP Board advocate said:
“The level of take up of HMEP by local highway authorities is promising, especially with the introduction of and the link to self assessment. Resourcing remains a concern for authorities but they are working in a smarter way to continually improve their processes to adapt to the pressures.”

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