Agenda and minutes

Environment & Transport Select Committee - Thursday, 7 February 2013 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN

Contact: Tom Pooley or Andrew Spragg 

No. Item



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    Apologies were received from Simon Gimson and Michael Sydney.


    David Harmer acted as a substitute for Simon Gimson.



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    To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.



    ·    In line with the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012, declarations may relate to the interest of the member, or the member’s spouse or civil partner, or a person with whom the member is living as husband or wife, or a person with whom the member is living as if they were civil partners and the member is aware they have the interest.

    ·    Members need only disclose interests not currently listed on the Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

    ·    Members must notify the Monitoring Officer of any interests disclosed at the meeting so they may be added to the Register.

    ·    Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.


    There were no declarations of interest.



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    To receive any questions or petitions.



    1.  The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (1 February 2013).

    2.  The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (31 January 2013).

    3.  The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.


    Declarations of interest: None.



    Jason Russell, Assistant Director, Highways)

    Mark Borland , Projects and Contracts Group Manager

    Jim Harker, General Manager for Surrey, May Gurney


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    The following question was received from Mr. Renny Snell:


    “Having considered the evidence of premature breakup of two examples of recent street resurfacing in Haslemere, can the Committee confirm that they are totally convinced the Highways Department is fully aware of this issue, has taken urgent steps to prevent its reoccurrence and will strenuously avoid the expenditure of any Council funds in effecting associated remedial work (in these or any other examples?)”.


    2.    The Chairman shared the following response:


    ““This year the County Council has undertaken an extensive programme of major maintenance (carriageway resurfacing).  The vast majority of this has passed without incident and highway users are now benefitting from greatly improved road surfaces.


    For a small number of schemes the end product is not to a satisfactory standard.  Officers are aware of these problems and our main Contractor (May Gurney) and their sub-contractors accept this and are committed to establishing why it happened.  A small task group consisting of County Council Officers, the County highway material laboratory and engineers from May Gurney has been established to investigate the failures and learn from them to minimise the likelihood of any future repetition.  Initial findings indicate most problems are associated with schemes installed in late November / December 2012.  The reasons are to be confirmed but it is likely to be substandard material and / or poor working practises. This group will advise the most appropriate remedial action.


    All costs for any remedial work will be met by May Gurney or their sub-contractors, no costs will be borne by the County Council.”


    Steve Renshaw

    Chairman of the Environment & Transport Select Committee


    3.    The Committee discussed the question and raised concerns with the General Manager for Surrey, May Gurney that there was a discrepancy between performance data and the public perception of highways works being undertaken.


    4.    It was acknowledged by Officers that there had been problems with approximately 20 jobs under the Local Structural Repair (LSR) programme. It was clarified that these had been a result of sub-structure failures after the repairs had been made.


    5.    Officers outlined that the materials in question had been laid at the wrong temperature and that this had led to the sub-structure failures. This issue had been a localised one, and compounded by the fact that the repairs had been undertaken within a short period of time. A design flaw in the work scheme and a training issue had been identified and addressed. Each of these instances had been investigated by May Gurney, and the County Council had not been required to pay for the work. It was clarified that the work would be replaced by the end of the financial year.


    6.    The Committee recognised the significant improvements that had been made by May Gurney over the last 18  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12/13



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    Purpose of report: Scrutiny of Services and Budgets


    To provide the Committee with an update of performance to date regarding the May Gurney contract.


    Declarations of interest: None.



    Jason Russell, Assistant Director, Highways

    Mark Borland , Projects and Contracts Group Manager

    Jim Harker, General Manager for Surrey, May Gurney


    John Furey, Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    The Committee was presented with a report on the performance of May Gurney in the year to date. Officers outlined that the report focused on the performance of the reactive aspects of the May Gurney. A report on the performance for planned works would be provided for the Committee by July 2013.


    2.    The Committee was informed that there were identified issues within this performance issues with planned works, and an action plan was being developed. There would be a root cause analysis to identify which business processes and systems could be developed to address these performance issues.


    3.    Officers commented that an area of success for the prior six months had been May Gurney’s response to emergency repairs. The Committee was informed that the majority of emergency defects were made safe within two hours of being reported. Officers highlighted that there had been 4547 emergency calls since April and December 2012.


    4.    It was acknowledged by Officers that there was a weakness in the follow-up of permanent repairs following an emergency. However, steps had been identified to address this and would be included in the Highways Improvement Plan submitted to Cabinet in February 2013.


    5.    The Committee was informed that severe weather such as flooding had led to an increase in demand. There had been issues identified in how May Gurney responded, and it was acknowledged that communication between Emergency Planning and May Gurney had been difficult. Officers commented that extra resources and processes were being put in place to address these issues.


    6.    Members raised a question as to the inconsistency encountered between different work schemes. Officers acknowledged this, and commented that they were working closely with Human Resources to identify where there may be particular training needs.


    7.    The Committee asked how often monitoring was conducted on the work schemes undertaken. Officers clarified that Highways met with the Surrey Audit team on a monthly basis and examined 5% of the visual inspections, 5% of the paperwork and 5% of photographic evidence undertaken during the previous month. Officers outlined that the performance measure was agreed based on this data. If this measure was amber then an action plan was put in place, and if it was red the issue was referred to the Assistant Director of Highways. It was clarified that these performance results were made publicly available.


    8.    The Committee commented on the delay between ordering and replacing standardized signs. Officers identified that there were issues with the processes in place and would follow up on these.


    9.    The Committee held a discussion as to its role in providing scrutiny and ensuring that that the Council was receiving the best value for money from the May Gurney contract. Officers highlighted that the financial risk sits primarily with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/13



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    The next meeting of the Committee will be held at 10am on 6 March 2013.


    It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be at 10am on 6 March 2013.