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Risk based approach to highway maintenance – face the future with confidence

24 July 2018

The date for highway authorities to adopt the risk based approach that underpins the Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice (Code) is fast approaching. With authorities working towards an end date for implementation of October 2018 there remains a degree of trepidation and uncertainty for many: is the revised policy ready to ‘go live’; will the processes put in place stand up to scrutiny; and how will the courts approach the revised code when faced with civil claims under the new regime?

There is no doubt that authorities can expect ever greater scrutiny of any policy adopted and also of the decision making of highway inspectors. However, the flip side of the challenges that come with a move away from the prescribed nature of many previous policies is real opportunity for authorities to move towards a dynamic approach to highway maintenance that is envisaged under the new code. If authorities get it right there is the potential to develop a regime that genuinely works for them and, as specified in the code, develop “their approach in accordance with local needs, priorities and affordability”.

Whatever direction is taken there will be an expectation that highway authorities will undertake a comprehensive review of their policy and collaborate with their neighbours and partners during the process. If that is done authorities should face the future with confidence.

How we can help

Browne Jacobson is pleased to be able to offer our specialist legal advice and expertise to review and test the effectiveness of proposed revised highways risk management and maintenance arrangements.

Review of policy

  • The review will provide you with assurance on the adequacy of your proposed revised highway policy and to identify any areas for improvement in advance of the new highway policy being published.
  • There would be a focus on the approach to the adoption of the guidance contained within the new Code and the effectiveness of your proposed new highway policy and its defensibility.
  • The review would encompass several different service areas, including highways management, highways maintenance (including maintenance partners), the in-house risk and insurance team, training and development, finance and senior leadership (including elected members).


The review would constructively assess and challenge:

  • your proposed new highway policy, the appropriateness of investigatory levels and your highway repair arrangements
  • your proposals to collaborate with other highway authorities (neighbouring authorities or otherwise)
  • your proposed training to be provided to your highways inspectors/maintenance teams in order for them to implement and follow a risk based approach when undertaking their respective roles
  • the effectiveness of the technology to be used to implement the new highways policy
  • your partnership/contractual arrangements in inspecting/repairing the highway.

If you would like to know more, or simply wish to call one of our experts for a discussion, we look forward to hearing from you.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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