North Yorkshire County Council set to take over highways maintenance from contractors

Winter gritting at Ainderby Steeple.

North Yorkshire County Council is looking to take back control of highways maintenance.

The council currently uses contractors to maintain the county’s roads.

The contracts with maintenance company Ringway and professional services consultant WSP will end in 2021 and 2020 respectively.

Together, these contracts are currently worth in the region of £50 million a year.

The council says the formation of a ‘Teckal’ company for the delivery of the highway maintenance, along with the appointment of a single consultant for professional service requirements, is its preferred option for the future.

The Teckal company would be wholly owned by the council, but companies like this can also operate commercially, with the potential to generate some income in the future.

Cllr Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “It’s a model which would allow us greater control and flexibility over our highways service delivery, while removing the contractual constraints that exist with the current arrangements.

“Through more direct accountability for the works on the ground we could deliver a ‘right first time’ service with the customer continuing to be at the heart of everything that we do.

“A very large proportion of the highways team live in North Yorkshire, they are passionate about their communities and take pride in delivering services which are used by their own friends and families.

“We believe that the proposed delivery model will ensure that we get the maximum benefit from that local pride and passion.

“While it’s not expected that a new company would deliver work for external customers during the first years of operation it is important we are innovative and consider the strongest options for improving services that also represent best value all round.”

If the executive members agree the new Teckal model on April 16, eligible staff currently employed by Ringway in the provision of highway services would be subject to a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE) transfer to the new company.

TUPE would also apply to staff employed by WSP should a new consultant be appointed for the delivery of the professional services.

The new company would need to be ready to deliver services from 1st April 2021, subject to confirmation that the current contract completes on 31st March 2021.

The report can be read here