Highways Agency

What was the client issue?

Following the 'Action for Roads' paper published by the Department for Transport in July 2013, the government proposed to put in place legislation to move the Agency from a civil service department to an independent company, with commercial incentives and flexibility to develop and manage £15 billion of investment in the roads network as efficiently as possible. The Agency needed to develop a plan that would meet the government's requirements on network performance and efficiency, while also committing to a list of schemes and a series of network renewal targets, all at a time when the rules for what a good plan should look like had not been written down.

How did we help the client solve it?

We worked with the Agency across a range of workstreams, in some cases also working with the DfT, to ensure that the licence framework proposed for the roads industry would be effective in principle, and that the Agency's plans for the next five years would be effective in practice. We combined expert advice on technical assumptions such as efficiency with strategic advice on the appropriate level of commitment, and whether the proposals within the licence framework and the details to be provided by the Agency would work together in practice. Our outputs were both strategic advice and written advice, including a statement on whether the Agency and DfT assumptions would work in practice. 

Why was the outcome compelling for the client?

On 1 December 2014, the DfT published its Roads Investment Strategy and supporting documentation, with details on the projects and efficiency assumptions to be delivered in the first five-year period of the new licence framework. The DfT confirmed within the documentation of the funding and efficiency assumptions that it and the Agency were able to rely on a review of the documentation provided by Oxera and Arup, our consortium partners.