HMEP receives funding boost from DfT

The Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) has received another year’s worth of funding support from the Department for Transport (DfT) as it moves to being sector-led.

The funding will be used to deliver and firmly embed a new approach for HMEP that will ensure it is owned and run by the sector, so that local highway authorities will continue to get the help they need to improve their efficiency performance, especially linking their performance to DfT’s self-assessed efficiency incentive money.

HMEP was set up to help the sector to help itself deliver efficiencies, transform highway services and bring improvements in the condition of local roads.

The funding announcement ties in neatly with the publication of the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA) ALARM Survey 20161 where chairman Alan Mackenzie indicated: “highways teams are doing more with less as a result of improved efficiencies”. He also said that “the adoption of highways asset management plans for example is allowing them {local highway authorities} to work smarter with less money … as recommended by the government-sponsored Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP).”

The Road Conditions in England: 2015 report recently published by DfT highlights how the combination of funding and tools (such as HMEP) is starting to help gradual improvement to the classified local road network with less of them requiring maintenance compared with 2010/11. So for principal ‘A’ roads, 86% of authorities (reporting comparable data for both years) reported that the proportion of the network that should have been considered for maintenance either decreased or stayed the same over the five year period between 2009/10 and 2014/15. For non-principal road networks the figure was 80%.

Other surveys, show the take up and use of HMEP resources has made a real impact – helping highway authorities deliver tangible efficiencies and improve services, as seen by the growing array of practices used and shared by the sector.

There has been significant progress, and further opportunities remain for service transformation that will support long-term improvements in the condition of our roads.

The future plan and delivery partners for HMEP will be announced later this year.

davies1HMEP programme manager Haydn Davies (pictured left) said: “HMEP, and its innovative solutions already being adopted by many highway authorities and providers to transform roads and services, is a real success story. It’s vital this continues while moving reliance away from central funding. In the future, demand and resources for what the sector needs from HMEP must be generated and delivered from within the sector, ensuring a positive impact is sustained for as long as the sector needs our products and services.”

“The HMEP board is actively shaping a future operating model. Our intention is to pass ownership of products and services to a small number of leading sector-led partners and organisations. We have identified potential willing and able partners with whom we are developing detailed plans to fund and sustain the support needed by local highways authorities in the longer term.”

You can read an exclusive interview with Haydn Davies in the April issue of Highways Magazine.

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