New £150m contract for highways services in Central Beds to go to tender

A new £150m highways contract for Central Beds is set to go to tender next month.

By Euan Duncan, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 5:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 10:13 am

Ringway Jacobs will no longer provide highways services in Central Bedfordshire after next April, as the local authority intends to start a new contract with an alternative firm.

The search for a replacement by Central Bedfordshire Council has begun already, with a minimum seven-year deal likely to be arranged.

The council will go out to tender in May with a view to identifying a preferred bidder in the autumn.

Central Beds Council

"This will ensure there's time for a new provider to mobilise collaboratively with CBC and be ready to start delivery on April 1st 2023," according to a council statement.

"CBC wants a company which will respond quickly to requests, carry out high-standard repairs, and ensure the road network is well maintained and safe for road users in all conditions," it said.

"The successful partner would provide up to £150m of highways maintenance works in Central Bedfordshire with a clear focus on quality, sustainability, and responsiveness."

As a highways authority, CBC is responsible for maintaining the highway and other associated assets, including carriageways, footways, and rights of way, as well as drainage, street lighting, bridges and other highways structures.

Traffic management and emergency works, such as flooding and fallen tree removal, along with winter gritting and gully clearance, are also part of its responsibilities.

Presenting a report on the future highways contract, Conservative Arlesey councillor told CBC's executive: "We agreed to end the highways contract with our provider Ringway Jacobs as it reaches the end of its seven-year term in April 2023.

"We also decided to engage with the market to test best value for the future delivery options of our various work streams within highways," he explained.

"The council's officers have been working with specialist highways consultants to engage with providers and make recommendations on which delivery model will provide best value for money for CBC in future.

"The process would look at a number of options, including splitting the contract into various parcels, such as lighting and resurfacing.

"After speaking to the market, a single point contact would be the most financially advantageous to the local authority.

"More than 30 potential suppliers attended a market engagement event, which was followed up by one-to-ones, so there's significant interest in providing the contract for Central Bedfordshire.

"In tendering this contract we've the chance to support CBC's strategic plan with the delivery of vision 2050 alongside our sustainability plan and economic strategy.

"The report includes the timetable for delivery of the tender process," added councillor Dalgarno, the executive member for community services.

"Within the medium-term financial plan we've the provision for extra staff to ensure not only the delivery of the current deal, but the new contract through the procurement process."

He promised issues raised by CBC's sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee would be considered during the process.

These included highway design services being brought back in-house, a lower financial threshold to implement smaller schemes outside the contract, and that the new deal should specify contractors use the most modern and innovative techniques to provide better value for CBC.

The executive unanimously agreed to approve the procurement for a new highways contract from April 1 2023.

SOURCE: Central Bedfordshire Council executive committee (Apr 5th) meeting.