Tuesday, 17 April 2012

White Lines

Monday 16th April

I've had a number of enquiries recently about the County Council's highways contract with May Gurney. To summarise, the County negotiated a new contract in order to get better value for money for the taxpayer after the expiry of the previous contractor's agreement when it was found that the previous contractor was actually found wanting in a few areas. The enquiries have determined that May Gurney's working practices are on the face of it at least, somewhat unusual and perhaps a little topsy-turvey.

With responsibility for potholes, resurfacing and the repairing and repainting of road markings and furniture as just a few of the responsibilities, one might reasonably imagine that these tasks might be undertaken simultaneously on a geographical basis. i.e. - if all three items were required on Smith St, that all three tasks would be undertaken on Smith St at the same time.
However, this is not the case: And to the incredulity of some residents, the contractors have in several cases undertaken those three tasks at different times; i.e. - Line painting, then resurfacing and then fixing potholes!

My enquiries have determined that the reasons for this seemingly piecemeal and confused approach are in fact down to the contract itself. The County Council have expressly required certain time limits for potholes and specified a particular scheme of maintenance for both road surfacing and line painting etc, with the result that the contractor is chasing around the county undertaking these contractual obligations in order to stay within the terms of the contract!
I'd agree that this is hardly the most efficient way of running a business, but then again its not my business to run. What I can confirm is that other than this apparent lack or order or process, most of the comments about the highways contract have been positive. Most importantly, the contract is far more efficient in terms of taxpayer value for money than the previous one.

It just seems a little chaotic.


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