Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Highways Reactive Maintenance

Report of the Director of Operations (Highways)


This paper seeks to inform the Scrutiny Committee on the Highways Reactive Maintenance Programme. The report includes information on Pothole repairs and Drainage and gullies clearance and repairs.



The Committee considered the report of the Director of Operations (Highways) that provided Members with information on the Highways Reactive Maintenance Programme.


Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -


·         An update on the process to comply with the statutory duty to maintain the highway network under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980;

·         Information on highway safety inspections of roads and footways in order to identify all defects likely to create danger or serious inconvenience to users of the network or the wider community;

·         Information on the materials used to undertake repairs;

·         Utility works and how these were planned;

·         Cyclical Drainage Programme;

·         Performance Monitoring;

·         Customer satisfaction survey results and comparisons to the national average, and

·         The new code of practice “Well Managed Highway Infrastructure”


Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -


·         Was there a schedule for the inspection of gullies;

·         Was there enough staff to undertake inspections;

·         Whilst noting the reported 90% of highways repairs were completed to the agreed standard what happened to the remaining 10%;

·         What action was taken against Utility Companies if the repair work to the highway was not satisfactory;

·         What was the timescale for repairs to potholes, commenting that this often took a long time following the initial inspection;

·         Noting that Members received a lot of enquiries from residents regarding the time scale for repair works it would be beneficial if the schedule for repairs was shared with Members;

·         How was the standard of pothole repairs monitored;

·         How were ‘hot spots areas’ dealt with in terms of repairs and clearing of gullies and commenting that the timing of repair work had to be considered to ensure gullies could be accessed;

·         Welcoming the production of the monthly ward performance data and requested that this be shared via ward coordination;

·         Major arterial roads should be prioritised for highways repairs over side streets;

·         The use of contractors and the arrangements for paying them for the work they undertook; and

·         Was the cleaning of gullies coordinated with the leaf sweeping schedule to maximise efficiencies and impact.


The Head of Citywide Highways informed the Committee that the cleansing of gullies was a city wide programme that had commenced in September of this year. He said that the report provided a snap shot of those wards that had been visited to date. He said all wards would be visited as part of this programme and the schedule for this activity would be shared with the Members. He further commented that the team worked closely with colleagues in the leaf sweeping teams to coordinate this activity.


In response to the issue of pothole repairs he said that there was a Service Level Agreement for these to be undertaken, however acknowledged that there were times this was not met due to the backlog of repairs. He described that contractors were paid for the work they undertook. He said that all works were recorded and photographed and the work was checked following completion. He said that if the works were not completed to the required standard the contractor was required to rectify this at no extra charge and if a job was to fail following a repair the contractor could be required to re attend depending on the reasons for the failure, explaining this was why it was important to document and photograph each repair job.  He commented that they also undertook inspections of the repair works undertaken by utility companies.


The Director of Operations (Highways) informed the Committee that there were currently 88 staff employed by Manchester Contracts and four subcontractors. He said that preference was given to using this in house team, however due to the scale and volume of the works required it was necessary to use subcontractors. He stated that subcontractors were expected to adhere to the standards required by the Council in relation to the use of zero hour contracts and social value, and this would be reported to the Ethical Procurement and Contract Monitoring Sub Group. He further commented that a team was available to respond to any highway repair emergencies that may occur.


With regard to the issue of highway repairs and side roads the Head of Citywide Highways informed the Committee that an inspection of all highways was undertaken every two years. He said that defects were graded and then prioritised for repair work explaining that when these works were undertaken an assessment would be made as to the efficiency of delivering repairs to side roads at the same time.


The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport said that she welcomed the positive feedback from Members regarding the production of performance reports and commented that these could be shared with ward coordinators. She said that information would be submitted to the Committee regarding the drainage repair contract stating that every gully would be visited and assessed so repair works could be prioritised. She said that Members would be informed as to when their wards were to be visited and encouraged all Members to take the opportunity to attend inspections with officers from the team to witness the work they undertake. She said that Highways investment was a five-year programme and Members would be consulted with as this investment progressed.




The Committee: -


1. Recommend that future update reports include more information and data at a ward level;


2. Recommend that the highways and gully maintenance schedules be shared with ward coordination; and


3. Recommend that the schedule for pot hole repairs be shared with ward coordination.


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