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National Roads Maintenance Review

Governance agreements are now in place to provide more efficient maintenance across all of Scotland’s roads.

Strategic Action Group

A Strategic Action Group has been set up to oversee the partnership working on road maintenance; the development of collaborative approaches on strategic issues; and ensure delivery of all outputs flowing from the National Road Maintenance Review.

The Strategic Action Group meets bi-annually and is co-chaired by the Minister for Transport and the Islands, and Councillor Stephen Hagan, Development, Economy and Sustainability Spokesperson, and includes representatives from Transport Scotland, Local Authorities and the Scottish Road Works Commissioner.

The objective of the Strategic Action Group is to oversee the partnership working on road maintenance; the development of collaborative approaches on strategic issues; and publicly own the Strategic Framework for Change and its delivery.
 
It will also aid implementation of all initiatives; consider the outputs of the Shared Service and Shared Capacity Improvement Board and publicly own the Strategic Framework and ensure its delivery.

Meeting documents

4 December 2014: Minutes - Papers
17 June 2014: Minutes - Papers
4 December 2013: Minutes - Papers
20 June 2013: Minutes - Papers
15 November 2012: Minutes - Papers

Scottish Roads Maintenance Stakeholder Group

A Stakeholder Group is also in place to foster, monitor and report on the 30 initiatives flowing from the NRMR and any subsequent initiatives generated. The Stakeholder Group meets quarterly to discuss implementation of the 30 initiatives identified by the review.

This Group is chaired by the Chairperson of the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS) and includes representatives from Transport Scotland, Local Authorities, various road users, freight industry, and other independent public bodies.

The objective of the Stakeholder Group is to foster, monitor and report on the initiatives contained within the final NRMR report and any subsequent initiatives generated, more specifically ensuring:

  • The initiatives are progressed, implemented and deliver best value across the sector and avoid duplication of effort;
  • Continued collaboration on the initiatives, ensuring any potential problems and barriers (including policy and legal barriers) are identified solutions formulated; and
  • The evaluation of road authorities performance in implementing the initiatives, identifying how they achieve their results and promoting good practice, including international best practice, across the public sector on road maintenance.

Meeting documents

21 June 2013: Minutes
15 March 2013: Minutes
12 December 2012: Minutes

About the review

The National Road Maintenance Review was completed in July 2012, resulting in a process being put in place to deliver recommendations on improving the management and maintenance of Scotland’s roads. This review was undertaken to improve how we maintain our road network through maximising and making best use of available resources. The review covered all of Scotland’s road assets, including pavement and adjoining footpaths, structures, verges, signing and lighting, and undertook original research to consider potential impacts on all road users.

Issues considered by the review included:

  • How Government can work better with Local Authorities
  • Lessons from international road management practice
  • Productivity and technology innovation
  • Resourcing
  • Standards and prioritisation
  • Wider economic issues, impacts, costs and benefits.

The initiatives identified by the review were split into two areas:

  • Developments – to embed best practice across road maintenance and ensure value with existing resources and arrangements
  • Enhancements – to assist Roads Authorities in strengthening their business cases for additional investment

Documents, papers and reports from the Review

Research outcomes

Research was undertaken on the economic, environmental and social impacts of changing road maintenance spend in Scotland. The outcomes of this work can be found here:

Further information

Frequently asked questions

What was this review about?
The National Roads Maintenance Review focussed on exploring what could be done to improve efficiency within available maintenance budgets, and identifying opportunities for innovation, collaborative working and shared services

Who was involved?
The review was jointly led by those responsible for maintaining all of Scotland’s road network - Transport Scotland, COSLA, SCOTS, SOLACE and the Scottish Road Works Commissioner

What has the review delivered?
The review has

  • identified a strategic framework for change which will embed best practice, ensure value for money and assist road authorities optimise the delivery of road maintenance services
  • established 30 evidence based initiatives which are estimated to deliver up to 10% efficiency savings
  • recommended that a central resource is established to encourage councils to design and deliver a package of shared service initiatives

What is the strategic framework?

The framework sets the direction of future change for road maintenance delivery. It sets out a number of ways authorities can embed best practice and ensure best value across the sector. It also suggests a variety of enhancements to assist authorities optimise service delivery and strengthen the business case for additional investment

What will the 30 initiatives do?
These initiatives will promote innovation, collaborative working and the sharing of services between roads authorities

How will you report back to the public about the progress of the initiatives? 
The review concluded that a Road Maintenance Stakeholder Group, co-chaired by the Minister and COSLA, should be established to oversee the implementation of the initiatives and the continued deployment of the framework. This group will seek to include a range of stakeholders, including users groups, to ensure the future direction of road maintenance reflects the aspirations of road users. Plans are underway for this group to meet in the coming months

Does this review change road authorities' responsibilities?
No. Individual local authorities will still be responsible for their local roads while Transport Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, will be responsible for the management of Scotland’s trunk roads

Work group scopes

Technology and Productivity Innovation
To explore aspects of existing and emerging technology and techniques, how they might be exploited to improve efficiency in managing roads maintenance and how barriers to their coordinated appraisal and adoption might be overcome.

This Working Group will assume that existing maintenance requirements remain unchanged and will therefore focus on doing things differently in order to achieve the same (or improved) performance but with greater efficiency.

The Group will initially consider all aspects of maintenance, with a developing focus on those areas of largest financial spend, since these areas are likely to represent the greatest potential for larger savings.

It is acknowledged that separate winter service reviews are currently underway and this Working Group will not seek to supplant or duplicate those reviews but will aim to capture any output.


Standards and Prioritisation
To explore aspects of existing and emerging standards and prioritisation techniques, and how these might be exploited, to present options which address how identified barriers to adoption might be overcome, to improve efficiency in managing roads maintenance.

This Working Group will assume that existing maintenance requirements remain unchanged and will therefore focus on doing things differently in order to achieve the same (or improved) performance but with greater efficiency.

Whilst it is anticipated one of the main assessment criteria for determining which options are taken forward will be their impacts on those areas of greatest financial spend, since this represents the greatest potential for larger savings, the initial evidence gathering will not be restricted to those areas.


Resourcing
To explore existing and emerging resourcing and procurement mechanisms and models, to consider how these might be exploited, and to present options which address how identified barriers to adoption might be overcome, to improve efficiency in managing roads maintenance.

This Working Group will assume that existing maintenance requirements remain unchanged and will therefore focus on doing things differently in order to achieve the same (or improved) performance but with greater efficiency.

Whilst it is anticipated one of the main assessment criteria for determining which options are taken forward will be their impacts on those areas of greatest financial spend, since this represents the greatest potential for larger savings, the initial evidence gathering will not be restricted to those areas.


Wider Economic Issues, Impacts, Costs and Benefits
Estimate the economic and social impacts of changes (focussing mostly on reductions) in trunk and local road maintenance expenditure over a ten and twenty year time period.

Explore funding options:

(a) via the principle of ‘polluter pays’ to consider scope to raise (differential) revenue from users to cover maintenance costs resulting from their activities (e.g. utilities pay ‘rent’ to dig up roads); and
(b) investigate the possibility of ‘smart’ funds transfer from other policy areas.

Appraise shortlist of options generated in the other workstreams to assess value for money and how they contribute to policy objectives.

It is acknowledged that separate winter service reviews are currently underway and this Working Group will not seek to supplant or duplicate those reviews, but will aim to capture any outputs.

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