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This key question remains unanswered:  “Please explain how the Agency will be able to monitor whether or not the service,  in regard to the cleaning of non-paved areas,  is being delivered to specification?” .

From: Peter Silverman [mailto:petersilverman@cleanhighways.co.uk]
Sent: 11 October 2012 15:30
To: ‘philip.rutnam XXXX
Subject: Highways Agency’s new Asset Support Contract – not fit for purpose?

Dear Mr Rutnam,

Please accept my belated congratulations on your appointment as Permanent Secretary for  the Department for Transport.

I would like to draw your attention to the correspondence I have had with your department over the cleaning provisions of  the Highways Agency’s new Asset Support Contract.  I believe they put the Secretary of State For Transport in breach of his responsibility under S 89 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

I wrote to Mike Penning about this on 10th April drawing his attention to my web post  Highways Agency’s Asset Support Contract – Serious misgivings. (Please also see  Highways Agency’s Asset Support Contract – Further thoughts).

I received no acknowledgement  from Mr Penning and have no indication that he ever saw my e-mail.

Instead, I received a “your correspondence has been passed to me”  response from Freda Rashid, the Highways Agency’s Network Management Solutions Team Leader.

I wrote back to Mike Penning on 4th May referring him to a  critique of her reply.  I went on to say that:

“The combination of a specification which is both inadequate and virtually impossible to monitor in my opinion means that the new contract is inconsistent with the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the motorways in England are, so far as is practicable, kept clear of litter”. 

I received a further response from M Freda Rashid on 29th May. I replied saying in reference motorway verges:

“ If you think this analysis is flawed please explain how the Agency will be able to monitor whether or not the service,  in regard to the cleaning of non-paved areas,  is being delivered to specification?”

This key question remains unanswered.

Mike Penning had described our motorways as being blighted with litter.  The first  step to rectifying this situation is ensure that the obligations of the contractor is specified in such a way that their delivery can be monitored. Neither the old contracts nor the new ASC fulfils this condition. A crucial opportunity is being missed.

I would therefore urge you to  look into this matter personally –  possibly referring it to the  Government Efficiency section in the Cabinet Office.  Please do not simply pass it back down to the Highways Agency.

I hope this is of help and  look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Peter Silverman
www.cleanhighways.co.uk

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