Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

CQC Highways Benchmarking

Cost, Quality and Customer. Public satisfaction with roads.

The CQC Efficiency Network is a joint venture between the National Highways & Transport Network (NHT) and the University of Leeds. Both partners worked successfully together in two pilot studies of this approach funded by the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP).

Local Authorities and Highways Agencies in Britain are under pressure to do more with less. At the same time public satisfaction with roads has been falling.

Two national initiatives are in place to support the improvement of roads and services. Firstly, HMEP is working with organisations to achieve greater savings and efficiencies to help fund road improvements. Secondly, the Department for Transport is moving to make some highways funding conditional on demonstrated processes and outcomes.

The CQC Efficiency Network (Cost, Quality, Customer) is an offering to local authorities throughout Britain to enable them to quantify the scope for cost savings in delivery of highway services and to identify better practices. Importantly the analysis recognises the important interplay between the Cost of work done, the Quality of the work and the Customer perception of the highway service.

The CQC Efficiency Network provides opportunities for us to apply our cost and efficiency analysis experience, developed primarily in the rail sector, to the local highways sector. The current DfT policy direction will ensure that our work will have real impact and value to stakeholders. Our statistical benchmarking work allows authorities to translate ‘the numbers’ into real ‘on the ground’ actions.

The CQC Efficiency Network will also underpin new research in cost and efficiency analysis at Leeds. The work raises several methodological questions such as:

  • How should public satisfaction data be used in cost benchmarking given its subjective nature?
  • How can we deal with backlogs in investment in assets when measuring efficiency?

This analysis is supported by case studies and working groups enabling local authorities to understand how to realise potential cost savings. Participation by local authorities in the CQC Efficiency Network is recognised by the DfT and an incentive for enhanced funding.  As of September 2015 the Network has 55 participating authorities including County and Unitary Authorities as well as London Boroughs.

Project facts

Funding: Subscription contributions from local authorities

Dates: April 2015 onwards

For further information, please contact: Dr Phill Wheat