Review launched into 'unacceptable' performance of Hertfordshire County Council's highways contractor Ringway

Watford Observer: Review launched into 'unacceptable' performance of highways contractor Review launched into 'unacceptable' performance of highways contractor

An in-depth review has been launched into the "unacceptable" performance of the county council’s highways contractor.

Councillors met on November 26 to air complaints about Ringway, including delays to repairs and jobs being listed as complete when either some or none of the work had been carried out.

In response, a Members Advisory Group met on December 4, where councillors laid out a "30-point action plan" with the intention of improving the service.

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst said: "At last the county council has taken seriously the concerns of opposition councillors and residents about failures with its highways service."

The plan focussed broadly on concerns around communication.

The directors and staff of council suppliers have been told to acknowledge reports, deal with them and then update the public.

The review also highlighted the "importance of looking at issues from the point of view of the enquirer and keeping in touch with them rather than allowing enquiries to go into a black hole".

A long-awaited set of changes to the fault reporting system are due to be introduced on December 15, which will remove the standard responses, which have been described as "misleading and over-technical".

Responses to defect reports will also be reviewed, to ensure they "say the right things, in intelligible English, and uphold the service standards we publish".

In the report, Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways and Waste Management, said: "Considerable thought has been given to what actions are being taken.

"I hope that this will provide evidence to show how seriously we take the contents of the motion at council.

"I do want to make it clear that whilst we must and will do better. There is already a vast amount which our staff and contractors do well and which rarely gets mentioned, partly because it is human nature to spot the problem.

Councillor Giles-Medhurst added: "The proof will be if improvements are delivered and fewer complaints are made.

"I am pleased that the Conservatives have listened to our concerns and are acting and that officers will be heavily tasked to push through changes.

"Performance has dropped off especially in the last four or so months and changes have to be made. At last that's been accepted.

"It's totally unacceptable to pay for poor repairs and even worse to be told a repair has been done when it’s not. That has got to stop."

Comments (11)

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5:21pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Cuetip says...

The indiscriminate use of outsourcing by all parties needs to be scrutinised as quality and the loyalty of staff have been too easily sacrificed to meet the bottom line. Now it is providing a very convenient scapegoat for ineptitude as the political hot air hits the stratosphere.

Rest assured that this quick fix mentality will only lead to higher long term costs. Whatever happened to policies on developing a professional workforce? Meanwhile a few will grab the dosh and run leaving the rest to face the music.
The indiscriminate use of outsourcing by all parties needs to be scrutinised as quality and the loyalty of staff have been too easily sacrificed to meet the bottom line. Now it is providing a very convenient scapegoat for ineptitude as the political hot air hits the stratosphere. Rest assured that this quick fix mentality will only lead to higher long term costs. Whatever happened to policies on developing a professional workforce? Meanwhile a few will grab the dosh and run leaving the rest to face the music. Cuetip

9:48pm Wed 11 Dec 13

croxley46 says...

Can't remember who the previous contractors were before Ringway but they were equally as bad as this lot.

Contracting out/Outsourcing, whatever you want to call it, DOESN'T WORK. Keep it in house - more control and accountability.
Can't remember who the previous contractors were before Ringway but they were equally as bad as this lot. Contracting out/Outsourcing, whatever you want to call it, DOESN'T WORK. Keep it in house - more control and accountability. croxley46

10:10pm Wed 11 Dec 13

watfordrick says...

Yeah have seen this firm first hand. I honestly think that a group of Nursery school kids could do a better job. Have a look at Cromer Road North Watford - its actually worse than when it started. They seem to keep to keep getting the tarmac up the kerb. I don't think the migrants doing it had ever done it before - hey maybe they get better!
Yeah have seen this firm first hand. I honestly think that a group of Nursery school kids could do a better job. Have a look at Cromer Road North Watford - its actually worse than when it started. They seem to keep to keep getting the tarmac up the kerb. I don't think the migrants doing it had ever done it before - hey maybe they get better! watfordrick

10:11pm Wed 11 Dec 13

watfordrick says...

Anyway why ain't the Irish doing it anymore? They were good at it!
Anyway why ain't the Irish doing it anymore? They were good at it! watfordrick

10:46pm Wed 11 Dec 13

E.Coli says...

I predict that Ringway will get another 10 million pounds to improve
I predict that Ringway will get another 10 million pounds to improve E.Coli

11:09pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Was it their fault that bridge over-ran by months? Was that an example of their work?
Was it their fault that bridge over-ran by months? Was that an example of their work? Phil Cox (UKIP)

9:26am Thu 12 Dec 13

TRT says...

It would be nice if the online reporting system worked at all. If you visit the site now, you have to log in using some contractor password. Good way to tackle the backlog - stop anyone reporting anything.
It would be nice if the online reporting system worked at all. If you visit the site now, you have to log in using some contractor password. Good way to tackle the backlog - stop anyone reporting anything. TRT

9:42am Thu 12 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

TRT wrote:
It would be nice if the online reporting system worked at all. If you visit the site now, you have to log in using some contractor password. Good way to tackle the backlog - stop anyone reporting anything.
Isn't that similar to how crime figures are being reduced in certain areas?

Great for reports and bonuses, not so great for the real world and the people who live in it.
[quote][p][bold]TRT[/bold] wrote: It would be nice if the online reporting system worked at all. If you visit the site now, you have to log in using some contractor password. Good way to tackle the backlog - stop anyone reporting anything.[/p][/quote]Isn't that similar to how crime figures are being reduced in certain areas? Great for reports and bonuses, not so great for the real world and the people who live in it. Phil Cox (UKIP)

12:46pm Thu 12 Dec 13

abbotshornet says...

Cuetip wrote:
The indiscriminate use of outsourcing by all parties needs to be scrutinised as quality and the loyalty of staff have been too easily sacrificed to meet the bottom line. Now it is providing a very convenient scapegoat for ineptitude as the political hot air hits the stratosphere. Rest assured that this quick fix mentality will only lead to higher long term costs. Whatever happened to policies on developing a professional workforce? Meanwhile a few will grab the dosh and run leaving the rest to face the music.
I'm sure Labour in general are against outsourcing, it goes against their principals to give private companies big profits whilst losing control of the workers. Bring everything back in-house!
[quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: The indiscriminate use of outsourcing by all parties needs to be scrutinised as quality and the loyalty of staff have been too easily sacrificed to meet the bottom line. Now it is providing a very convenient scapegoat for ineptitude as the political hot air hits the stratosphere. Rest assured that this quick fix mentality will only lead to higher long term costs. Whatever happened to policies on developing a professional workforce? Meanwhile a few will grab the dosh and run leaving the rest to face the music.[/p][/quote]I'm sure Labour in general are against outsourcing, it goes against their principals to give private companies big profits whilst losing control of the workers. Bring everything back in-house! abbotshornet

6:56pm Thu 12 Dec 13

watfordrick says...

abbotshornet wrote:
Cuetip wrote:
The indiscriminate use of outsourcing by all parties needs to be scrutinised as quality and the loyalty of staff have been too easily sacrificed to meet the bottom line. Now it is providing a very convenient scapegoat for ineptitude as the political hot air hits the stratosphere. Rest assured that this quick fix mentality will only lead to higher long term costs. Whatever happened to policies on developing a professional workforce? Meanwhile a few will grab the dosh and run leaving the rest to face the music.
I'm sure Labour in general are against outsourcing, it goes against their principals to give private companies big profits whilst losing control of the workers. Bring everything back in-house!
Inaccurate outdated comment. Labour privatized loads in there last tenure throughout the NHS and they also started the sell off of Royal Mail. Someone's been reading The Sun!
[quote][p][bold]abbotshornet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: The indiscriminate use of outsourcing by all parties needs to be scrutinised as quality and the loyalty of staff have been too easily sacrificed to meet the bottom line. Now it is providing a very convenient scapegoat for ineptitude as the political hot air hits the stratosphere. Rest assured that this quick fix mentality will only lead to higher long term costs. Whatever happened to policies on developing a professional workforce? Meanwhile a few will grab the dosh and run leaving the rest to face the music.[/p][/quote]I'm sure Labour in general are against outsourcing, it goes against their principals to give private companies big profits whilst losing control of the workers. Bring everything back in-house![/p][/quote]Inaccurate outdated comment. Labour privatized loads in there last tenure throughout the NHS and they also started the sell off of Royal Mail. Someone's been reading The Sun! watfordrick

9:24am Thu 9 Jan 14

TRT says...

Well I've just had a reply back from HCC/Ringway that the road surface at the junction of Waterfields Way and Lower High St (next to Frogmore House) is in an acceptable condition and does not require repair. The reason I reported it was that it's broken up and potholed to the extent that my ABS activates if I'm even lightly braking going into the corner which causes the brake pressure to be released, lowering brake performance (it's how ABS is supposed to work) unexpectedly.

So, who else thinks this corner is in an acceptable state for Hertfordshire's roads, and who thinks it's in need of resurfacing (yet again)?
Well I've just had a reply back from HCC/Ringway that the road surface at the junction of Waterfields Way and Lower High St (next to Frogmore House) is in an acceptable condition and does not require repair. The reason I reported it was that it's broken up and potholed to the extent that my ABS activates if I'm even lightly braking going into the corner which causes the brake pressure to be released, lowering brake performance (it's how ABS is supposed to work) unexpectedly. So, who else thinks this corner is in an acceptable state for Hertfordshire's roads, and who thinks it's in need of resurfacing (yet again)? TRT

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