The council is set to bring all highways maintenance functions back in-house in a move which will give the authority more control and flexibility over how it delivers the vital service.
The changes will mean that the following key functions will no longer be undertaken by Balfour Beatty once their current contract with the council ends in March 2022:
- Reactive highways repairs, such as potholes
- Drainage maintenance work, including the annual gully cleaning programme
- The winter maintenance programme, including gritting
- Out of hours call-out
- Larger scale capital work, such as surface dressing and road resurfacing
The changes were recently approved by the council's cabinet, who voted through the changes as the preferred option for future service delivery in a meeting earlier in March 2021.
The changes will make it easier for small local businesses to work directly with the council
Bigger capital projects will still be delivered by contractors, who will be appointed through a local delivery framework, opening up opportunities for small local companies who want to help the council deliver its highways improvement programme.
As well as giving the council more control over the delivery of the crucial service, the changes will allow for a more flexible approach and closer working with other key council departments, such as environmental management.
The move has been hailed by Cabinet Member for Quality of Place, Councillor Neil Emmott, who said: "These changes will bring a number of benefits and opportunities, particularly in paving the way for small and medium sized local businesses who will now have an opportunity to work directly for the council in the delivery of one of our most important services. This is very much in the cooperative spirit that our borough is known for and should bring with it the added benefit of safeguarding and creating new jobs in our area.
"Bringing these services in house will allow us to invest in new pieces of equipment and machinery, so smaller scale capital projects can be undertaken by ourselves, which will be more cost effective in the long term. It will also help support our green agenda by bringing modern and efficient machinery into our fleet.
"I'm pleased we've taken this innovative step and I look forward to the benefits it will bring business and residents across the borough.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our current provider, Balfour Beatty, for the service they have provided to date under the current contract since 2015 and I look forward to continuing this relationship during the final year of contract delivery."