West Northants Highways Bulletin 12th March 2021 from Jason Smithers
Although many teams transferred from KierWSP to NCC last year, I still get emails querying who works where. I thought I would use today’s newsletter with an update about the Community Liaison Officers.
I think many of you will have had dealings with them over the years but as of July 2020, Sarah Barnwell, Ian Boyes, Craig White, Helen Howard, and Matthew Clark, transferred to Northamptonshire County Council from KierWSP.
A hugely important part of Northamptonshire Highways, the Community Liaison Team (CLO) is the key point of contact between the local community and the highways service. For Parish Councils, community groups and resident’s associations, the CLOs provide the first point of contact for services that touch the community such as speeding, parking issues, general highway concerns, and requests for services. The team provides a breadth of advice and expertise on the services and policies of Northamptonshire Highways and serves as a route into the service.
The role means frontline customer interaction, acting as a focal point for communities local highways issues and representing NH in their communications with the public. They liaise with Local Government Officers, District and Borough Councillors and MPs regarding current highways policies, responsibilities, works programmes and work extremely hard to secure additional funding for local repairs, and improvement works.
They are not able to do everything requested but they are very knowledgeable and educate about what we do and why difficult decisions must be made to make the best use of the funds available to us.
Although the CLO team deal with thousands of enquiries every year via the NCC ‘Street Doctor’ reporting service, direct emails and phone calls, they are not just a team of customer service people. They have in-depth knowledge and understanding of many aspects of highway law, policies, engineering methods, best practice etc.
They deal with differing and varied enquiries personally rather than just pass things on to other people. They are able to offer advice on the spot, often in difficult situations, whether that is a phone call, meeting, site visit etc.
They are very good at explaining policy procedure and budgets and regularly attend Parish meetings, site visits, and ‘walkabouts’ to look at issues and develop solutions.
A great part of the teams work is identifying and securing funding. By working with Parish and Borough Councils, we have been able to jointly fund and deliver much needed improvements to areas in the county that would not normally have been part of the highway works programme.
Over the years, they have delivered small projects like signage or road markings, sets of dropped kerbs, and privately funded schemes including footway safety improvements and safer routes to school to improve accessibility and encourage more children to walk or cycle to school, whilst improving the air quality and surrounding environment.
The team does not just wait for, or expect resources to deliver their outcomes, but takes a proactive approach in making things happen and securing extra investment to help them achieve their aims. They help to make public services more sustainable.
The north / west split has now been agreed and will see Sarah and Ian take on Wellingborough as well as Kettering, Corby and East Northants.
Helen, Matt and Craig will take on Daventry along with Northampton and South Northants. There shall be a transition period, but it is intended that we start with the new areas from Vesting Day.
Highway colleagues and services will transfer to West Northamptonshire Council but continue to host all highway functions for both West and North Northamptonshire Councils.
The new email address format for the officers currently at NCC will be first email@example.com
This week we -
- completed 495 carriageway defect repairs
- responded to 482 Street Doctor reports
- inspected 2509 (100% of the target set) and cleansed 2428 gullies. (97% of target as not all were accessible March 5-12)
- repaired defects using the Thermal Road Repair unit based in our Wellingborough depot on Irthlingborough Road, Wellingborough. Next week we will be Gordon Street, Rushden (rest of programme tbc)
- The unit working from our Brixworth depot has been repairing on Kettering Road, Broughton and we are back there next week.
Annual Police Report for South Northants
Sergeant Michaela Simons, the police sergeant for South Northamptonshire, has provided her annual report to all parish and town councils in the district. Please follow the link below:
The report is at: https://www.northantscalc.com/uploads/sn-parish-agm-report-2021.pdf