A report entitled Motorway Cleansing – the mismanagement of maintenance contracts by the Highways Agency was sent to the National Audit Office on 13th March 2011.
It stated that: “The Highways Agency was failing to properly manage contracts with their motorway service providers. As a result they are paying for cleansing work which is not being carried out to specification (compliance with the EPA). I therefore recommend that the matter be investigated by the Audit Office.”
A response was received on 8th April from Geraldine Barker the National Audit Office’s Director, Transport Value for Money in which she explained that:
The NAO had examined the Highways Agency’s contracting in their 2009 report Contracting for Highways Maintenance.
“….. our report concluded that there were shortcomings in the Agency’s management of Managing Agent Contractor (MAC) contracts although we did not focus or comment on the management of cleaning contracts. We found that the Agency focused on checking compliance with contract requirements, rather than on costs or the quality of work done“.
The Committee of Public Accounts’ review of the report concluded that the Highways Agency lacked the commercial skills to manage the contracts effectively.
The NAO routinely monitor the progress of the government in implementing their recommendations and that the information provided in the Clean Highways report would contribute to their understanding in this area.
Her letter includes links to the the NAO report, and the minutes of the meeting of the Committee of Public Accounts and the formal response from the Agency.