Incentive fund pilot launched for local highway maintenance

June 17 2015  

Incentive fund pilot launched for local highway maintenance
New Transport Minister Andrew Jones has criticised the current approach to funding local highway maintenance, which he said has created a system of “perverse incentives” and is “crying out for reform”.
Mr Jones made his comments at last week’s Future Highways conference in London where his presentation marked the launch of a Government pilot scheme to test a new ‘Incentive Fund’ method of allocating money.
“We have moved on from an approach in which money is handed out purely on the basis of where the need is greatest,” he said. He added that under the current system, those authorities that have kept their roads in top condition have an incentive to let standards slip in order to win more money.
Starting next year the Incentive Fund will see local authorities receive a portion of their highway maintenance funding based on performance, to be evaluated using a self-assessment questionnaire. A pilot version of the questionnaire has been sent out to local authorities, which are being asked to try it out before funding becomes available.
Mr Jones said: “It’s a dry run exercise to give authorities until the end of July to assess their ratings and judge how they will improve or maintain their score.”
Mouchel director of public services and Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme board member Matthew Lugg, who helped put together the questionnaire, said: “Despite the best efforts of HMEP there are still many local highways authorities that haven’t fully embraced the recommendations and good practice that we have been promoting for the last three years.
“With the potential of further revenue cuts it is even more imperative that authorities make use of the overall resources available.”
A final version of the self-assessment questionnaire is expected to be released in the autumn, with the deadline for completion likely to be the end of November ready for the first money to be distributed for the 2016/17 financial year.
(Photo: Department for Transport)

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