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The Highways Agency seem to be caught up in  a tangle web of confusing documentation and management speak

Please first  read Highways Agency Asset Support Contract – Serious misgivings

I thought it would be useful to look further at what the new contract says about cleansing. It says that the provider has to :

Implement a risk based sweeping and cleaning intervention regime to mitigate adverse affects of litter, refuse, or detritus on the appearance, stability, integrity or operation of highway assets.”  and must prepare a

“Maintenance Requirement Plan (an overarching strategic plan that sets out the Provider’s approach to inspections, assessment, Defect repair resources, Processes and Procedures)  in accordance with the AMOR (Asset Maintenance and Operational Requirements)” in the mobilisation period i.e. between being awarded the contract and it going live.

The AMOR  document goes on to say the contractor has to  “Implement the Maintenance Requirements Plan (MRP) with regards to Sweeping and Cleaning Maintenance Requirements” and   to “Develop the MRP to manage sweeping and cleaning to comply with the standards of cleanliness given in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Defra, 2006)

My view is that the Litter Code is there to provide guidance to duty bodies (not contractors) on the discharge of their duties under EPA S89 (1) to keep their land clear of litter.  It is therefore the responsibility of the duty body to prepare cleansing procedures taking into account the special circumstances that apply to its land.   The Highways Agency should therefore draw up its own procedures specifying how each category of highway land (e.g. motorway slip road verges,  lay-bys, central reservations etc) should be cleaned.  It should specify minimum cleaning frequencies supplemented by an inspection regime to identify and deal with one off accumulations.  It should also specify the precautions to be taken to ensure the safety of the operatives. Where the work is contracted out these procedures should form part of the requirements and the Agency should  carry out its own inspections to ensure compliance.

What is happening with these Asset Support Contracts is a complete mishmash. Who is defining the cleansing procedures?  Is it the Agency in their AMOR or the contractor in their MRP?  If its the latter is each contract area going to operate under a different regime?


Peter Silverman
13th April 2012

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