Highways Contract Fails to Deliver

Labour Councillors have challenged Suffolk County Council highways to improve after delays and dithering over the systems put in place to report potholes on Suffolk roads was reviewed at Scrutiny committee.

The Scrutiny Committee met on 7th May to discuss how the contract with Keir MG to manage Suffolk’s highways system was operating since it took over the service on October 2013.

Suffolk Association of Local Councils (SALC) also submitted a highly critical report on the performance of Keir MG to the Scrutiny Committee backing what Labour councillors have been saying. In the report SALC says “Councils expressed concern about the lack of effective communication” that “more could be done to make reporting problems easier” and that “councils […]need a clear route for making complaints about the service.”

Labour County Councillors first raised the issue of the appalling lack of communication or action on highway enquires in Ipswich with Suffolk County Council last November, one month after KierMG had taken over and since then there have been very little change.

Opposition transport spokeswoman Cllr Sandra Gage was also disappointed that it had taken so long for the system to report road problems to be developed.

She said: “Kier MG took over the contract on 1 October, and there was a long lead-in time before they took on the services. Why is it only now, seven months later, we are still waiting to get improved reporting systems up and running?”

She also added that whilst some of the proposed changes should make it easier for members of the public to report problems, she was disappointed that there was no firm date for their introduction.

Under pressure from Labour the Scrutiny Committee will be making a recommendation that SCC ensures there is two-way communication on highways at the local level across Suffolk, which in Ipswich will be via Ipswich Borough Council Area Committees.

Cllr Gage said: “In other parts of the county, the main point of contact for the department is the parish council, but we don’t have third tier authorities in Ipswich, but we still need to have the equivalent dialogue. I’m pleased that scrutiny recognised the importance of the area committees in Ipswich, and hope the cabinet accepts that recommendation as soon as possible.”

For more information contact:
Cllr Sandra Gage, Opposition Spokesperson for Roads and Transport
Tel: 07714 597998
Email: Sandra.gage@suffolk.gov.uk

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