We spoke to Richard Hayes, Chief Executive of The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE), about changes to highways management and the effect on local authorities. He will be discussing this topic in more depth at the APSE Highways, Street Lighting and Winter Maintenance seminar in March 2017.
The release prior to Christmas of the United Kingdom Roads Liaison Group (UKRLG) revised Code of Practice for Highways, ‘Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure’, creates a significant amount of work for Highway Authorities that are to seeking to comply by the indicated deadline of October 2018.
The revision of the code makes a significant change to the way policies for highway service delivery are formulated, as it completely removes any prescriptive levels of service.
With the new code in place, authorities are expected to move towards a more risk-based approach to service delivery, where they are required to assess the appropriate service standards on a street-by-street basis. If ‘evidence-based approach’ is substituted for ‘risk-based approach’ then the methodology required will be easier to adopt. ISO 3100:2009 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines sets out the principle of risk management and the organizational framework and process required to develop a risk-based or evidence-based approach.
Local authorities should initially consider communication and consultation with interested groups that are affected by highway services. The risk may differ significantly between one authority and another, and factors influencing this may be both external (e.g. adverse weather conditions) and internal (e.g. local priorities). However, there will be generic factors linking all authorities which would allow a degree of uniformity across adjacent or regional areas.
Further factors that influence the context of risk include:
Time is relatively short so authorities should begin their review as soon as possible. Help and assistance should be obtained from their Risk and Insurance Managers, their claims handlers and insurance underwriters as any significant variation in standards could lead to an increase in liability claims. One significant aspect that has been determined will require highway inspectors to undertake dynamic (on-site) risk assessments and decide on the relevant action on a case-by-case basis, and therefore some education of frontline staff may be required. The IHE’s Highway Inspectors Training and Certification scheme is being amended to include this.
For more information in IHE, please click here.