Midlands Highway Alliance

The Midlands Highway Alliance (MHA) is the first partnership of its kind in the UK. It comprises of eighteen local authorities and the Highways Agency, and works together to improve performance, share best practice and make efficiency savings in the delivery of highway services.

Using good practice to upgrade the highway network
Using good practice to upgrade the highway network

The Midlands Highway Alliance (MHA) combines 18 local authorities and the Highways Agency who operate under an Unincorporated Association by Agreement'. All pay a subscription, as well as associated levies and fees.

Objectives

The objectives of the MHA are to:

  • Establish and develop collaborative procurement frameworks to secure the delivery of major highway capital schemes, medium size highway schemes and professional services
  • Establish, implement and develop a continuous improvement model for highway term maintenance to achieve convergence to best practices
  • Embed partnering principles and construction best practice in all its work and throughout the supply chains, to optimise commodity acquisition

Now self-funding, this unique venture delivers the regional procurement and implementation of highways maintenance, professional services and capital works through framework agreements. These frameworks save its members, on average, £4million per year.

Governance

Leicestershire County Council acts as the lead authority managing the MHA's finances and public relations. General governance is through a director-level Executive Board with a Programme Board undertaking more detailed management of five specific work streams.

The MHA's work streams are each shared out amongst different authorities to ensure that the improvement activity is owned and embedded by local authorities themselves and that the learning and practices are sustainable. The five work streams are:

  • Medium schemes (projects and developments costing up to £12 million) are led by Leicestershire County Council
  • Term maintenance (contracts covering a variety of services for a period of time) is led by Derby City Council
  • Professional services (e.g. civil engineering design services) is led by Peter Barclay
  • Commodities (e.g. salt / street lighting columns) are led by Derbyshire County Council
  • Skills Academy (learning and development)

Regional procurement and delivery of highway maintenance and Capital works

At the heart of this unique venture is the regional procurement and delivery of highways maintenance and capital works through framework agreements. The aim is to make efficiency gains; speed up procurement; deliver schemes to a higher standard; and share best practice. The MHA was originally 'pump primed' by the regional East Midlands Improvement Partnership with project support from Constructing Excellence's consultancy arm, the Collaborative Working Centre (CWC).

Sources of funding

In the financial year 2012/13, the MHA budgeted to spend £377,000 on its projects. This funding for this work will be recovered from these sources:

  • Members' annual subscriptions (which are currently £5,000 for district councils and £10,000 for County Councils)
  • Levies on the savings made by members using MHA work through the works frameworks, including MSF1, PSP1 and the commodities frameworks

Financial efficiencies from collaborative working

The Alliance has continued to produce significant savings for its members, including the Highways Agency, which are now estimated to top £16m up to the end of September 2012.

The largest contributors to this are the medium schemes frameworks, through which savings of £15.7m on a turnover of £163.7m have been accumulated across the MWF3, MWF4 and MSF1. Members avoid the cost of individual procurement, saving around £100k per scheme.

Likewise, since the professional services contract (PSP1) started in 2011, it has accumulated total savings of £550k on a turnover of £4.64m.

Further information

For further information on the benefits of the Midlands Highway Alliance, or if you were a local authority interested in joining them, please visit their website to discover how to join.

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