Highways Monitor - Annual assessment of Highways England’s performance


This is the Office of Rail and Road’s annual assessment of Highways England's performance and delivery of its investment plan, covering the first road period, from April 2015 to March 2020.

Key points

Highways England is the government-owned company responsible for England's strategic road network.

Laid in Parliament on 21 July 2020, the assessment of Highways England's performance at the end of Road Period 1, found that:

  • In the first road period, Highways England has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving safety on the strategic road network, but must continue to work hard to meet its challenging target. In response to ORR’s probing, the company has taken action to improve road user satisfaction and shown an increased focus on meeting the needs of those users. It has met most of its performance targets.
    The number of people killed or seriously injured each year on the strategic road network has reduced since the start of Road Period 1 (RP1), but Highways England must continue to focus on safety, and deliver further safety improvements. The company has met its targets to deliver better environmental outcomes, and to minimise the disruption caused by incidents and roadworks. However, road user delays have increased in Road Period 1 as traffic levels, and the amount of improvement work being undertaken, has increased. It narrowly missed its target for road user satisfaction, but has demonstrated an increased focus on meeting the needs of road users.
  • Highways England has successfully achieved 95% of its commitments for delivery of major improvement schemes in Road Period 1. The actual number of commitments delivered is lower than originally set out in 2015, but is in line with the revised plan it agreed with Government. Addressing concerns raised by ORR, the revised plan also reduces disruption to road users. The accuracy of Highways England’s planning of renewals delivery has improved through the road period, reflecting an increased maturity in asset management capability. Highways England has largely exceeded its planned delivery of renewals across Road Period 1.
    Highways England’s delivery of its investment plan matured over RP1. The company has predominantly delivered its major improvement schemes to the latest agreed plan. It has substantially agreed changes to the programme of improvements that means it had a revised commitment to start 73 schemes by the end of RP1, compared to 112 set out in the initial RIS1.
  • Highways England has met its KPI target to deliver more efficiently in Road Period 1. The company has responded positively to ORR’s constant challenge to improve the evidence used to support reported efficiency.
    Highways England has reported £1.4bn of efficiency in the road period supported by good evidence of actions taken. We had previously challenged the quality of the company’s top-down evidence of efficiency from unit cost movement and delivery of the RIS. This remains less robust but has improved and provides reasonable evidence of the KPI having been achieved.

Drilling down into ORR's five-year assessment

Feras Alshaker, Deputy Director, Highways, discusses ORR’s annual assessment of road period 1 at Highways UK.

Annual assessment 2019-20 and supporting documents
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Supporting documents

How we monitor Highways England


Annual assessment 2018-19 and supporting documents
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Supporting documents