Firms question Highways Agency staff levels

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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Contractors hit by staff cuts on motorway maintenance deals are wondering why similar job losses are not being felt at the Highways Agency.

The Enquirer revealed last week that EnterpriseMouchel is the latest contractor to cut jobs.

The firm is planning to slash more than 100 staff on its Highways Agency Area 3 contract.

The cuts are being blamed on the Highways Agency switching from Man­ag­ing Agent Con­trac­tor contracts to the new Asset Sup­port Con­tract deals.

But one highways expert said: “It does beg the question of how many redundancies this has prompted at the Highways Agency itself following the introduction of the Asset Support Contract in the various regions.

“The whole thinking behind this new form of contact would suggest a reduction in the need for supervision by the Highways Agency as client and therefore a reduction in their staff.

“From what I can gather that isn’t happening.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said it had been charged with improving efficiency by 25% by 2015.

The HA currently employs 3,380 staff.

He said: “It is for our contractors to make the necessary business decisions about the number of people needed to fulfil their contractual obligations.

“Nationally, the new style Asset Support Contracts are replacing the existing arrangements, known as Managing Agent Contractor contracts.

“These contracts will form the basis for delivering maintenance, renewal and improvement services for most parts of England’s motorway and trunk road network. They represent a step-change and are expected to deliver substantial savings over the current arrangements.

“Better value is what we are looking for – from our contractors, on behalf of the taxpayer – not reductions in network maintenance or safety, therefore safety standards will still be maintained.

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