Journey towards shaping the new highways services for Northamptonshire’s unitary councils begins with industry day

First steps in the journey towards shaping the new highways services for Northamptonshire’s two new unitary councils got under way this month at an industry day for potential future contractors.

Around 100 representatives from a wide range of highways providers attended the virtual event to find out more about the process for bidding for two new highways contracts for the North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire unitary councils, which will be formed in spring next year.

Highways services – which include things like maintaining local roads, repairing potholes and winter gritting – are currently provided across Northamptonshire by the County Council, which will be replaced, along with existing district and borough councils, by the two new unitary authorities on 1 April 2021.

Future plans are for the two new councils to run these services in their own areas, and to each secure a highways contractor to operate them on their behalf.

It is anticipated that the bidding process for the new contracts will start in the new year and run until November 2021, when the contracts would be awarded by the new unitary councils, before starting the following spring.

Councillor Jason Smithers, Cabinet Member for Place, Highways and the Environment at Northamptonshire County Council, which is moving the procurement process forward on behalf of the two future unitary councils, said: “The Industry Day was an opportunity to engage potential future suppliers and share the aspirations and visions that the two new councils have for the years ahead.

“We know how crucial highways and transport services are in the daily lives of everyone living and working in Northamptonshire and these new contracts will play a key role in enabling us to develop and improve these in the future. In particular, a we move forward with this work we will be asking potential bidders to bring to the table their proposals for new ways of working to innovate, improve services and offer our residents greater value for money.”