The UK Roads Liaison Group (UKRLG) was established in 2001, to bring together national and local government highways engineers from across the United Kingdom, to advise on roads infrastructure engineering and operational matters. The UKRLG is supported by four boards, the UK Bridges, Lighting, Roads and Traffic Management Boards, who provide specialist advice.
The purpose of the UKRLG is:
Membership of the UKRLG is drawn from the national governments of the UK, the chairs of the Boards, and representatives of the professional bodies representing highway engineers. Membership of the Boards is similar, but with other members appropriate to the branch of the industry concerned.
Good transport is essential for a successful economy and society. It provides access to jobs, services and schools, gets goods to the shops and allows us to make the most of our free time. Local roads are at the heart of the transport network, and have a key rôle to play in ensuring that transport delivers the services people need or want.
The highway network is, almost certainly, the most valuable asset that any local authority owns; so looking after the network should be a key priority for every council. That is why the UK Roads Liaison Group has produced the codes of practice on network maintenance management; they set out best practice in maintenance of street lighting, bridges, tunnels and other structures as well as the carriageways and footways themselves.
The codes are not mandatory on authorities and recognise the need for some local flexibility to address particular circumstances and local needs. It is important to stress, however, that the advice and recommendations of the codes are often referred to as relevant considerations in legal proceedings. Authorities are therefore strongly advised that any intended variations from the codes’ recommendations to suit local circumstances are approved by the Executive of the Authority, explicitly, transparently and inclusively.
The purpose of the UK Roads Liaison Group’s codes is to provide definitive guidance on authorities’ stewardship duties and the development of recognised good management practice. The codes are aimed at highways engineering practitioners, but elected council members and officials in other disciplines need to recognise and understand the importance and complexity of what is involved in keeping the highway network safe for use and fit for purpose. This is particularly important when funding decisions are being taken
Maintenance of the highway is a continual activity. Use and the ravages of time mean that the asset never remains ‘as new’ for long. There are also continual developments in the policy framework within which authorities work, in the demands placed on the highway by climate change and increasing traffic, and in the materials and techniques available to engineers to keep the network in good repair.
The answer is “no”, they should make the decision with someone who has the appropriate competence level and use the process as training.
They should mention it in the comments, e.g. specify where asset specific competence is held elsewhere and who by.
As per the report, the required level for the Authority does not need to be held in the house (chapter 2.3). Where external contractors or consultants carry out the activities associated with that competence, then this is sufficient. The Authority should have a method to verify that the external staff is competent (e.g. through tender requirements/CV assessments etc).