Future service delivery model selection

Within the next 3-4 years, upwards of twenty local highways authorities will be coming to the end of their current highways delivery arrangements. In Spring 2020, eight Future Highways Research Group (FHRG) members commissioned Proving to undertake a review of the marketplace and evaluate future service delivery options.

A key objective of the review was to better understand how authorities and their partners can improve contractual and collaborative relationships to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.

As part of the study, Proving developed a methodology to enable individual authorities to evaluate some 15 potential future operating models and rank these in terms of their strategic fit, attractiveness and achievability.

This methodology has now been used by 12 authorities over the past 18 months to develop a shortlist of the best fit options to take to outline business case stage.

As part of the development of the future operating model methodology, Proving interviewed 13 of the biggest providers to the highways sector to establish their ambitions and intentions for future engagement with the sector.  A full report was published and made available to FHRG members in autumn 2020.

The summary conclusions were:

  • The local authority highways sector is still an attractive market for the private sector, but:
    • Specific providers may be seeking to divest their highways services business.
    • Providers will be increasingly selective as to which contracts they bid for.
  • Providers are seeking to work with authorities that are willing and able to build truly collaborative and strategic partnerships
    • This was described as the ‘golden thread’ of success that runs through the process from early market engagement, through procurement and contracting, and on to delivery.Relationships should be outcomes-based rather than transactional agreements, with a fair and proportionate allocation of risk and reward.
      • This will help ensure the agility and commitment of all partners, such that the current and emerging sector challenges can be jointly and promptly addressed, and the opportunities presented by new technologies and innovation fully realised.
  • Providers preferences as to specific service delivery models largely reflected the model that each provider is structured to deliver.
    • General consensus that an integrated or small number of single providers, working as a collaborative partnership, provides the best opportunity to realise efficiencies, exploit innovation and new technologies, and access specialist skills and additional capacity.

If your service is coming towards the end of its current contractual period for the provision of highways services, contact Andy Perrin, a.perrin@provingservices.co.uk to discuss how we can help you determine your optimum future operating model.