We’re transforming how roadworks are managed across the North East by supporting 11 local authorities to implement road activity permit schemes, reducing disruption to people’s journeys.

The Department for Transport (DfT) estimates that England’s local road network is subject to around 2.5m roadworks each year. Delays caused by these roadworks are frustrating for motorists, cyclists and public transport users, but they can also affect emergency response activity and vital services that keep local economies running.

Permit schemes have proved to be an effective, proactive tool for ‘early adopter’ local authorities in managing roadworks, at a time when demand for infrastructure continues to increase. In 2018 the Secretary of State for Transport tasked all local authorities across the UK with implementing a permit scheme by 31 March 2020, to comply with new legislation.

Setting local authorities up for success

We were successful in being awarded the contract to support 11 local authorities to implement their own permit system due to our extensive experience and knowledge in implementing and running successful permit schemes.

Ambitious in terms of scale, the project involved all 11 local authorities implementing their schemes simultaneously: Cleveland and Redcar, Darlington, Durham, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Stockton and Sunderland.

Stakeholder management is critical when working at speed and scale. Our expert team quickly developed bespoke project plans to support each local authority in moving to this new way of working, using a collaborative approach to put control of roadworks back into the hands of council employees.

With a firm focus on training and upskilling, we provided tailored support to help each team navigate unfamiliar software, carry out effective cost-benefit analyses and set realistic budgets. By putting the local authorities’ people at the heart of the process, we ensured that they gained the specialist knowledge and confidence needed to run a permit scheme that works well for them and generates enough income to cover its costs.

To keep things on track, our team also set 15 critical milestones, which all needed to be met on time by each local authority for the project to succeed. These included stakeholder meetings, consultation periods, permit officer recruitment and governance submissions. Many of these routinely take months, so our trademark, disciplined project management was vital.

With our support, all milestones were met on time and within budget. All 11 authorities now have fully operational permit schemes that meet their individual requirements and the DfT’s legislative requirements.

Minimising disruption for residents and road users

Permit schemes are delivering a wide range of benefits for residents in the North East, including:

  • Less congestion and noise on local roads from roadworks
  • Less pollution from idling engines as traffic flows more freely
  • Fewer road works in busy periods, such as the start of school term
  • Reduced risk of delays to emergency services responses
  • Smoother running of public transport.

Making life easier for local authority teams

The benefits don’t end there. By supporting local authorities in moving to a permit scheme, we’re empowering their people with greater control over how and when roadworks are carried out, making their job easier. This approach also reduces residents’ complaints about roadworks and promotes best practice sharing and collaboration opportunities across neighbouring authorities, for the benefit of all.

Building a free-flowing future

As part of our commitment to learn from the work that we do with our clients and improve our approach, the project team identified that an early audit of each authority would have pinpointed where extra mentoring, coaching and support would have helped. We’ll be using valuable insight like this to inform our plans for similar projects as we look to continuously improve our services.

To find out how our project management experts can help you to improve life for your residents, contact localpublicservices@capita.co.uk

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