Rob Clark (Contract and Commissioning support Manager) and Andrew Loosemore (Head of Highways Asset Management) were in attendance for this item.
1. Mr Payne (Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport) introduced the report that set out the position of the Highway Term Maintenance Contract along with the work undertaken to date in order to progress the Commercial Services (CSKL) delivery option. Mr Payne informed the Committee that Kent Highways delivery model was due to expire on 31 August 2020 and therefore a new delivery model was required. The four delivery options for the future provision of the services had been considered and this included: option 1 which was to extend the contract with Amey for a further year; option 2 which considered re-procurement of on a like-for-like basis; option 3 which explored the option to disaggregate the contract and procure smaller contract packages, of which the Council would take on the management and integration role; and option 4 which was to develop an alliance model between the Council and Commercial services which would sit under the Holding Company. Mr Payne informed the Committee that whilst option 4 was initially considered to be the preferred option, upon closer examination, including the assessment results of the PWC report, option 4 was not a viable alternative model on the basis that it failed to meet three requirements which posed an unacceptable risk to KCC; financial viability, appropriateness and timing. In Summary, Mr Payne expressed that the preferred alternative model would therefore be option 3 which would involve the Highways Asset Management team undertaking a number of procurements for specific services and the advantage of such an option would be assurance in KCC’s proven ability to manage and deliver such a contract.
2. Officers responded to comments and questions as follows:
(a) Mr Payne informed Members that whilst an alliance model was not considered to be a viable option for the Highways Term Maintenance contract, potential procurement roles would continue to be explored with Commercial Services. Mr Payne assured Members that due diligence work would be carried out and that each contract would be tendered.
(b) Mr Jones (Director of Highways, Transportation and Waste) assured the Committee that in recognition of the importance to deliver the Highway Term Maintenance contract and the impact that the contracting decision would have on the Highways Asset Management team, a Steering Board was established. The members of that Board consisted of the Head of Internal Audit, Corporate Finance and various internal organisations to ensure that all aspects were considered in the winder corporate context.
(c) Mr Jones informed the Committee that an independent review was sought from PWC to ensure that KCC had incorporated and considered all potential risks. Mr Jones assured Members that the process of commissioning provided KCC with the level of confidence required to take forward the preferred model having undertaken the correct level of scrutiny and due diligence work.
(d) Mr Jones addressed concerns around the disenfranchisement of staff, and said that of the Amey contingent, 150 to 160 members of staff would be operative level and that it was those operative members that would initially be transferred to undertake various services that KCC were looking to procure. This in turn would provide members with confidence in the continuity of their role within Kent. The next phase of work that needed to be undertaken included a staff engagement exercise. Mr Jones addressed concerns relating to Amey’s performance and assured Members that KCC had actively engaged with Amey around the rules of engagement going forward to reduce risk.
3. It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.