[Electoral Divisions: All South Lakeland]
To consider a report by the Acting Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure
This report presents the Highways Asset Management Strategy.
Members received a presentation from the Senior Manager - Asset Infrastructure and Transport which covered the following:
· The 2015 Highways Asset Management Strategy
· Highways Asset Management Strategy 2020-2025
· Highways’ vision
· Highways Delivery Plan
· Highways Service customers
· Working together
· Enterprise and efficiency
· Prevention and Early Intervention
· Digital Transformation
· Proposed timetable for the new Strategy
In concluding the presentation, the Senior Manager - Asset Infrastructure and Transport asked members for any feedback on the Delivery Plan, either directly or through Mr Collins, the Committee’s representative on the Highways Improvement Board.
Members welcomed the improved focus on customers. Members talked about the importance of them being informed in good time about work that had been undertaken and future planned work in their own and adjoining electoral divisions. It was essential that they were fully informed about highways work in order for them to be able to pass on information to Parish Councils and residents.
It was queried whether a system could be developed that could inform members about works in all divisions. A member thought this kind of system would also benefit officers. Members considered themselves to be key to customer service delivery as use could be made of their local knowledge and they could disseminate information in their divisions.
Discussion took place on members being treated as special customers in the Strategy. TheCabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue considered that members were customers like the public and therefore should be treated similarly. The Senior Manager - Asset Infrastructure and Transport acknowledged that members should be included in the Strategy and be integral to Highways processes.
It was acknowledged by members that customer service had improved in 2019 as email feedback and automated responses to customers had improved.
A short discussion took place on including the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership in the Strategy. A query was raised on whether progress had been made with the Utility Permit scheme and how customers would benefit from the scheme. The Senior Manager - Asset Infrastructure and Transport explained that the scheme was scheduled to be implemented in February 2020, would cover all works on the highway and give permits to dig. It was confirmed that permitting information could be shared with the public and that penalties would be in place in order to hold organisations to account for work not completed on time.
After a member talked about the commercialisation of local authority services and asked about training for highways staff due to their changing roles, the Senior Manager - Asset Infrastructure and Transport reported on the work undertaken with other local authorities in order to share best practice. The County Council also worked with ADEPT who undertook research and collated examples of other authorities’ work. He reported that the County Council was at the forefront of some work practices such as undertaking digital surveys. He confirmed that the County Council was assessing training need and undertaking staff training. A member suggested training for members also.
The ability to be able to report linked and multiple faults on HIMS was requested. The Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue explained how the HIMS package was originally implemented for officers managing highways issues and this had been extended to be public facing. She acknowledged that an efficient public facing system was required. The Senior Manager - Asset Infrastructure and Transport explained that members would be informed of a new Highways system at future meetings of Local Committees.
One member considered that the new Strategy gave additional opportunities for Working Together. He thought that everyone should be able to see current or programmed works and that information should be gathered from multiple sources and shared with everyone.
With reference to the Public Participation item heard earlier in the meeting relating to the recreational ‘off road’ use of county roads particularly the UCR 5015 (Borwick Ground-High Oxen Cross), it was requested that this be considered at a future meeting of the Local Committee’s Highways and Transportation Working Group.
RESOLVED that, the recreational ‘off road’ use of county roads particularly the UCR 5015 (Borwick Ground-High Oxen Cross) be considered at a future meeting of the Local Committee’s Highways and Transportation Working Group.