Council takes back control of city’s highways

Liverpool City Council has taken back control of looking after the city’s highways, ending its contract with Amey, by mutual agreement.

The moves comes as part of a council wide review which has brought parks services, street cleansing, bin collections, IT and HR and Payroll services all back “in house” to deliver further savings.

Although cost savings were initially made under the contract, the council considers that further savings could be achieved in looking at alternative smarter and more flexible delivery methods, as shown with its new pothole repair contracts with the private sector.

At tonight’s Neighbourhood Select Committee councillors will be informed that in the first year the council estimates it will save £0.75m by bringing the contract back in house, monies which it aims to reinvest into repairing potholes and new alleygates.

Following the negotiated exit, an interim service has been put in place for an 18 month period to allow the council to carry out a detailed review of the various options for future service delivery.

The highways services reverted back from Amey are:

  • Highway Maintenance
  • Highway Inspections
  • Highway Enforcement
  • Condition Surveys
  • Street Lighting Inspection & Maintenance
  • Winter Maintenance
  • Gully/Highway Drainage Maintenance
  • Highway Structures Maintenance & Management
  • Street Works Co-ordination
  • Alleygate Maintenance
  • Highway Professional Services

In the short term, the current service provision has been separated, as follows:

  • Client based functions and associated resource were transferred back to the Council. This includes, for example, the highway inspections, street works inspections, project management and work scheduling, and professional services (e.g. design).
  • The operational element of the service and the associated resource, has transferred to Liverpool Street Scene Services Limited (or LSSL). This includes, for example, the gully cleansing operatives, the street lighting operatives, and the white works operatives (e.g. flagging works).

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, said: “The sheer depth of government cuts has forced us to look at every single penny we spend to ensure not just value for money but to help protect the vulnerable as much as we possibly can. We believe more can be achieved by bringing the operations back in house.

“We have seen with other services such as street cleansing and refuse collections that insourcing can deliver savings which can be reinvested to make our money go even further.

“Anyone who travels by car or bike through Liverpool knows the city has a pothole issue and the council is doing all it can. Unfortunately this issue is a double whammy because while we are investing £93m in repairs the Government are putting in just £18m.

“The Mayor has already written to the Minister highlighting this lack of investment and we will continue to make the point especially while London receives an inordinate amount of transport investment compared to northern cities like ourselves.”

Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet Member for Highways, added: “I recently joined senior officers from Highways and LSSL to speak to the staff transferring to LCC and LSSL from Amey and answer questions. Negotiating and managing the the contract with Amey and the transfer of staff has been an enormous amount of work for officers and I am really grateful for their efforts.

“I think the new arrangements offer us good opportunities to improve services. I was delighted when staff working on street lighting and gulley cleaning came up to me after the meeting with ideas on how to improve the service. Both of them focused on moving away from a reactive service to a more systematic approach involving comprehensive coverage of geographic areas. This approach to service improvement based on ‘logistics’ has worked on other sectors which have transferred to LSSL and I am optimistic similar improvements can be achieved in Highways.