Liberal Democrat opposition councillors at Herts County Council have hit out over a decision to recommend that its main highways contractor, Ringway, is set to be awarded an extended contract for another five years.
Ringway has been fined just under £1.2m for poor workmanship in the last 5 years, leaving opposition councillors scratching their heads over the decision to extend Ringway’s services.
Deductions totalling £1,187,348 have been made against Ringway’s contract for poor performance against set standards, with more fines pending this year.
The contract, in place since 2012, is worth over £182m and covers the provision of highways works across Hertfordshire. Only last week Shropshire Council announced that Ringway were to be replaced by Kier to manage its highways. Ringway had won the contract in 2011 but had a number of problems.
Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst exposed last week that the Conservative council were to recommend that Ringway get an extended contract at the November meeting of the County Council’s Cabinet Panel for Highways. Stephen comments: “I am shocked that the Conservative council want to award Ringway another five year contract, just saying it’s ok because they are improving! There has, on the face of it, been no market testing, something I thought the Conservatives were in favour of. Are there no other highways contractors that are more efficient and cause fewer problems for Hertfordshire’s residents?”
“It is almost daily that my colleagues and I report issues that do not result in fines but are just sloppy jobs or things that are being ignored. One has to think there must be a better choice.”