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Louise Ellman and Graham Dalton

Louise Ellman and Graham Dalton

I hope  that all of the claims made by the Mr Dalton in his evidence, including those for the improved  efficiency that he believes will apply if the Agency becomes an independent company, will not be just taken at face value.

E-mail to Louise Ellman, Chair of the Commons Select Transport Committee, 23rd April 2014

Better Roads / Strategic Road Network Inquiry

Dear Mrs Ellman,

In his evidence to your committee Graham Dalton, the Chief Executive of  Highways Agency, gave the following answer to a question from Martin Vickers MP.

 Q220 Martin Vickers: Are you satisfied that you are getting value for money with your service and maintenance contracts? Should we be getting more for our money?

Graham Dalton: I quite like getting more for the money. I have reduced unit costs over the last three to four years in the order of 20%. We are getting nearer 25% on some of the major projects.  Some of that is through working harder and putting a very competitive proposition to the market; some of it is the hunger of the supply chain and the construction industry, which I am sure will disappear in a while. I am always after a little bit more, but we are working our suppliers quite hard, especially on the current form of maintenance contract.

Part of this cost reduction has I understand been brought about via the introduction of the Agency’s new Asset Support contract. This came into force in Area 10, which includes the Manchester and Liverpool conurbations, in November 2012. Since then there has been a reduction in the number of bags of litter collected per month of 57%. Photographs show that considerable quantities of litter had consequently accumulated by the Spring of this year.

I have taken this up with Robert Goodwill and he tells me that the Agency are in now discussion with the contractor about this.

Please refer to:

Area 10 – dramatic decline in litter collection
My e-mail to Robert Goodwill  of 9th April 2014

The point I wish to make is that the Agency can only claim to have reduced unit costs by a particular percentage if they are getting an equal or a better service for less money. Getting a worse service for less money does not qualify.

I hope that all of the claims made by the Mr Dalton in his evidence including those for the improved  efficiency that he believes will apply if the Agency becomes an independent company will not be just taken at face value.

I hope this is of help to your committee in pursuing its inquiry into the Strategic Road Network / Better Roads or, if it has missed that deadline,  will in any case be of interest to you.

Kind regards

Peter Silverman
www.cleanhighways.co.uk

 

 

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