The Highways Agency works closely with partners and contractors to ensure their road network is safe, efficient and meets the needs of road users. Find out about the aims, objectives and values of the Highways Agency.
The Highways Agency has a procurement strategy setting out their approach to procurement of goods, services and construction expertise. The strategy is structured around value for money, delivery and sustainability and sets out a prioritised plan of actions.
What the Highways Agency buys
The Highways Agency buys goods and services in six main areas:
- consultancy - both technical and civil engineering
- highways improvement
- highways maintenance
- traffic technology
- audit - such as audit assurance and advice
- vehicles and uniforms eg for the traffic officer service
The many areas of the traffic officer service are provided through different agreements and contracts:
- a framework agreement - uniforms, training
- a bespoke contract - the maintenance and washing of uniforms
- recruitment contracts - for both the recruitment of permanent members of the traffic officer service and temporary operators for the regional control centres
- fixed contract, following Official Journal of the European Union procedure - an audio magazine and translation service
The majority of the Highways Agency spending on maintaining the road network is controlled by long term contracts. There may also be opportunities for suppliers to provide services as subcontractors to the principal suppliers.
The Highway Agency uses many types of contract. Past contracts have included:
- Early Contractor Involvement contracts, for projects which benefit from input by a contractor prior to submission to the planning process
- design and build contracts
- Managing Agent Contractor (MAC) contracts and Asset Support contracts – these are used for maintaining, operating and improving the Highways Agency network
- TechMACs – used to cover the maintenance of technology
- private finance contracts (known as Design, Build, Finance, Operate or DBFO)
- frameworks contracts
Consultancy services are provided to the Highways Agency through framework arrangements, such as:
- the Project Support Framework - for civil engineering consultancy advice, specialist surveys, contract facilitation, statistical analysis and contract development
- the National Technical Consultancy Framework - for geotechnics, pavement engineering, environmental operations, traffic appraisal and quantity surveying
- the Technology Consultancy Framework - for advice and support to the Highways Agency traffic technology team
If you are awarded a consultancy contract, there are various restrictions on what related contracts you can apply for.
- a supplier engaged in collecting data for a proposed contract is excluded from tendering for that contract, except when providing information on a current maintenance contract
- a supplier assisting with the compilation of contract documents, or in any part of the tender assessment process, is excluded from tendering for that contract
- a supplier with exclusive access to material that would give them an unfair advantage in tendering for other contracts is excluded from tendering for any contract
- a supplier not tendering for a contract, but who assists in any way with the tender assessment process, will operate under the control of the procurement officer and is not permitted access to sensitive information from any tender submission
- direct employees or associates from a tendering supplier, engaged on short-term assignments, are excluded from work which requires judgment to be exercised in cases that could potentially be of advantage to their employer
Supply Chain Portal
The Highways Agency has set up a Supply Chain Portal so we can share project information and work collaboratively with our current supply chain and partners. If you are an existing supplier and require access you can request this via your Highways Agency manager.
The Supply Chain Portal is for suppliers only. It does not provide information on procurement or contract opportunities.
Highways Agency supplier payment policy
It is the Highways Agency’s policy to use project bank accounts for all contracts awarded post October 2011 unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. This is in line with the government’s fair payment agenda. Exceptions for NEC contracts exceeding £5 million will be extremely unusual and will need to be supported by a business case.
The main contractor is responsible for ensuring that these procedures are reflected in contracts across their supply chain. They must also ensure that assessment periods are aligned with that of the head (client) contract. A non-compliance (whistle blowing) reporting process has been set up by the Cabinet Office.
All Highways Agency suppliers are required to sign the
The Highways Agency runs a supplier recognition scheme to highlight the important contribution made by their suppliers. In 2014 the award categories were:
- customer experience
- managing down cost, improving value
- supply chain management
- building and sustaining capability
- safety, health and wellbeing
- promoting diversity and inclusion
- delivering sustainable value and solutions
The Highways Agency encourages project leaders to consider projects or suppliers for entry for existing awards run by external organisations. This can include second and third tier suppliers as well as our primary contractors. If you work on behalf of the Highways Agency and want to put your project forward for an award, contact your Agency project leader. The Highways Agency will highlight successes through the media and other channels.
If you work for the Highways Agency, you will need to comply with their visual identity guidelines to stay consistent with the corporate brand. This includes use of logos, colours, co-branding and vehicle branding.
Enterprise architecture in the Highways Agency
The Highways Agency is increasingly reliant on efficient and effective ICT across all its work. This has led the Highways Agency to adopt an enterprise architecture approach. Documentation and analysis has been gathered into a framework to provide a structure and toolset for Highways Agency users and those who supply ICT to the Highways Agency. Find out more on the National Archive about the Highways Agency approach to enterprise architecture.
Industry Advisory Group (IAG)
The Industry Advisory Group (IAG) acts as a liaison point between the Highways Agency and their suppliers. It provides ad hoc consultation and advice and comprises representatives from the Highways Agency, members of their supplier base and independent consultants. Four sub-groups examine specific areas in more detail:
- sustainable development
- performance measurement
Other sub-groups can be set up as needed. For further information contact the Strategic Supplier Development (SSD) team
Become a Highways Agency supplier
Highways Agency Information Line
0300 123 5000