First steps to privatisation for Highways Agency?

12.00 | 19 August 2013 |

The Highways Agency is seeking a partner is assist its transition to standalone status in what an article in the Independent describes as “the first plank to privatisation”.

The Highways Agency, which runs and maintains 4,300 kilometres of motorways and trunk roads, and is looking for a private-sector partner to help its transition from being part of the DfT to a Government owned public company.

Under the arrangement, the Highways Agency will be given six-year funding deals from the Government which Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, says would reverse "decades of under-investment in roads".

The contract will be awarded next month, giving interested parties only a matter of weeks to prepare a bid for what is likely to be complex work.

According to the Independent, sources in the roads sector think that the ultimate plan is full privatisation and that the company that wins this contract will be well placed for more work further down the line.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "The agency and the DfT are seeking a company with experience of a programme management service to support the transition of the agency from its current status as an executive agency to a Government owned public company. This is not a privatisation of the agency."

The contract is due to run to 2015 and the Highways Agency is also seeking a programme director to oversee the transition. An advertisement for this role has asked for applicants who can "show clear success in delivering major-change programmes".

Click here to read the full Independent report.


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