In October 2009 the National Audit Office published a report on the Highways Agency
Mr Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said :
“The latest form of Highways Agency contracts for maintaining motorways and trunk roads provide visibility of costs and the ability to allocate risk appropriately. But, as is so often the case, a lack of probing analysis of the information which is available, and continuing gaps in some areas undermine the drive to maximize value for money. The Agency has not yet established and benchmarked the unit costs of planned maintenance tasks, such as resurfacing; and it does not have enough of the information on or analysis of the continuing condition of assets necessary to drive down whole life costs of planned maintenance projects. The Highways Agency also now needs to strengthen the engineering and commercial management skills of its area teams.”
On 10th January 2011 Alan Cook was appointed to the post on Non-Executive Chairman of the Agency for 12 months. He has a reputation for turning round failing businesses and was responsible for reversing the fortunes of the Post Office. It was subsequently decided that he would carry out a review of the Agency and submit his report and recommendations to the Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond in October 2011. I understand the report will now be finalised and submitted in mid-October 2011 and be published shortly afterwards.
In April I leant that a review was to take place and asked for the name and contact details of the person who would carry it out. It took 5 e-mails and 5 months to get a reply. I was eventually given the contact details for Alan Cook’s review team on 5th September. I submitted a report to them entitled “Motorway Cleaning – management Failings at the Highways Agency” on 12th September. The review team have confirmed its receipt and said that they are looking at environmental standards and how they should be set and achieved in future.