A project which has brought in an extra £400,000 a year, increased public satisfaction with highway maintenance and helped residents highlight which roads need fixing, has been shortlisted for a national award.
Oxfordshire County Council has made the final six in the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE) Annual Service Awards 2020 for its work to reform its highways service. It is shortlisted in the Best Innovation or Demand Management Initiative category.
Councillor Liam Walker, Cabinet Member for Highways Operations and Delivery, said: “I am really pleased we have been shortlisted for this award and proud of the excellent work our highways teams do. We are not complacent though, and know that there is always room for improvement, which is why it is so good to see this service is embracing change and always thinking of ways things can be done better.”
During 2018/19, the highways service conducted a full review of how it operated, including how it communicated with the public, the way it worked with its contractors, and how efficient it was. This resulted in a programme of improvements put in place to create a better highways service for Oxfordshire.
The improvements include:
- Increasing income by £400,000 per annum, reducing the burden on council taxpayers.
- Utilising funding more efficiently, increasing the money available to deliver services.
- Better engagement with town and parish councils, producing better information to help them deal with highways issues locally.
- Creating a network of local volunteer ‘super-users’ as part of the Fix My Street initiative that help report issues to the highways teams for fixing.
- A better approach to business planning that has improved the relationships with contractors and provided more robust measurement of performance.
- More and better communication with the public, with more information available about the work the highways teams are doing, using channels such as Twitter and Facebook.
- An increase in customer satisfaction with highway maintenance by nine per cent (National Highways & Transport Survey data).
APSE Chief Executive, Paul O’Brien, said: “These finalists are amongst the best in local government. Showing ingenuity and dedication to local government frontline services, they are all deserving of their place.
“The APSE Annual Service Awards are uniquely placed to recognise the enormous effort and dedication of these vital frontline services and the value of the unsung public sector heroes who deliver these services, day in and day out to local communities.”
The winners will be announced at a special virtual ceremony on Wednesday 16 December 2020.