Decision details

Department for Transport Challenge Fund Award - SEPT17/CMDN/46

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Growth, Planning, Housing and Economic Development

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Cabinet Member to authorise the issue of a work package to Skanska Construction UK Limited (“Skanska”) under the Council’s existing Peterborough Highway Services Contract (the “Contract”) for the Council to undertake a programme of works on drought damaged roads in Peterborough (the “scheme”). The total value of the work package will be £1.69m



In January 2017 the Department for Transport (DfT) made available £75m of Government investment (titled Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund) for essential highway maintenance which would make improvements for highway users. On 31 March 2017, Peterborough City Council, in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, submitted a joint bid (Tranche 2A) for the DfT Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund.  The joint bid sought funding to use innovative methods to repair 65.61km of fen roads, split across each local authority area, and in doing so enhance the resilience of the rural road network against future weather events.


The DfT announced on 1 August 2017 that 19 schemes across the country (including the Council’s joint bid) had successfully received a share of the funding. The joint bid was awarded £3.5m (of the £5m requested) of which £1.19m was for Peterborough. As part of the bid, the Council committed to contributing a further £500k to the scheme from capital reserves, resulting in a package of works totalling £1.69m. As this is lower than the total amount originally bid for the volume of roads treated will be proportionally adjusted.


The Council intends to award a package of work under its existing contract with Skanska.


Reasons for the decision:

Many of the drought damaged roads in rural areas have soil conditions that contain substantial quantities of peat and other water susceptible sub-strata. Traffic restrictions that are in place due to the poor condition of the roads adversely affect local businesses and communities, restricting access to premises and employment opportunities. Both authorities have allocated additional funding to help mitigate the damage experienced on the network. However, there are still a large number of A and B roads suffering from drought damage which cannot be addressed through conventional highway maintenance funding, as deterioration would continue to outpace the renewal. The scheme will provide the foundation for preventative long term asset management for the affected highway network and will minimise costly short term reactive repairs.


The Peterborough Long Term Transport Strategy (2011-2026) and the fourth Peterborough Local Transport Plan (2016-2021) were developed in consultation with a wide range of key stakeholders. The Council considered a range of transport interventions to best address local problems, meet the growth aspirations of the city and integrate the Government’s transport priorities agreed nationally by the Local Government Association and the DfT. The assessment and appraisal of options involved included the following:


·         Policy Fit (meets objectives of the strategy)

·         Cost Benefit Analysis (value for money)

·         Key Performance Indicator Assessment

·         Network Improvement Impact Assessment

·         Equality Impact Assessment (EIA)

·         Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

·         Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA)


In the future there will be a new Local Transport Plan prepared by the Combined Authority.


The Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy provides a clear position on how the Council will maintain the highway network to ensure that it is adequate to support the growth of the city and specifically to meet the Council’s Strategic Priorities.



Key aspects of the Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy include:



·         Acknowledgement that effective asset management is critical to the delivery of its services and the realisation of the Council’s long term vision and strategy;

·         Asset management principles enable informed decisions to be made about investment and maintenance funding, assist in the targeting of resources to where they can be most effective, and enables the identification and management of the risks associated with statutory duties to manage and maintain public infrastructure;

·         To promote a strategic and forward thinking approach to managing the highway network to give confidence to decision makers to take current and future planned maintenance decisions.


The contract for highway services has been delivered by Skanska since October 2013 with the establishment of Peterborough Highways Services (an informal collaborative “partnership” between PCC and Skanska to deliver highway related services across the unitary authority area) and award of the Highway Services Contract (the “Contract”). This process was ratified by a Cabinet Member’s Decision Notice (AUG13/CMDN/068).


It is proposed that the programme of works for the drought damaged roads will be carried out by Skanska through the Professional Services element of the Highway Services Contract (2013-2023).  This element is referred to within Schedule 5 of the Contract (Description of the Services).  The award of these package of works is undertaken in accordance with clause Z44 and Schedule 2 of the Highway Services Contract.


Following evaluation of the alternative procurement mechanisms it is considered that the Highway Services Contract  provides the most suitable delivery mechanism for the drought damage roads programme of works.  The award of this new package of works under the existing Contract complies with Regulation 72(e) Public Contracts Regulations 2015.  Utilising the existing Highway Services Contract will mean that the Council will realise the following benefits:


·         Reduced procurement costs by using an existing framework contract.

·         Improved project management and cost certainty through the utilisation of a target cost style of contract.

·         Reduced construction costs through ‘Early Contractor Involvement’ (ECI) at the design stage to manage and mitigate more effectively any potential issues with the scheme.


Further details in relation to the contract award can be viewed under the web link stated in Section 14 Background Documents.



Alternative options considered:

Not to deliver a programme of works: A do-nothing scenario has been ruled out, since the impact on the rural road network to communities and businesses would be intolerable, including many more advisory 20mph limits, diversions and road closures. The current do minimum option is not sustainable, costing over £0.5 million per annum on short term repairs.


Communities across the area affected will continue to see degradation to the network, with speed limits and diversions in place for many years to follow. The existing approach delivers less value for money, comprising reactive, unsustainable short term repairs that fail to provide a resilient network.


The funding award is only for 2017/18 financial year and must be spent before 31 March 2018. Therefore, there is no option to defer the programme until next year as the Council will not have the budget internally to contribute to the scheme and this will add pressure on other maintenance budgets. There is no guarantee that the Council may be successful should another opportunity become available in the future (as previously in 2015 the Council was unsuccessful with its bid for Tranche 1 Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund).   


Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Background Documents:

Peterborough Local Transport Plan 4 (2016 – 2021)


Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy (2016)


Peterborough Highway Services contract (2013-2023)

Cabinet Member’s Decision Notice (AUG13/CMDN/068)

Publication date: 03/10/2017

Date of decision: 03/10/2017

Effective from: 07/10/2017

Accompanying Documents: