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Revealed: The questions councils will have to answer to maximise road upkeep funding

Details of how councils will earn road repair cash have been unveiled by the government.

Transport minister Andrew Jones revealed that a self-assessment questionnaire had been distributed to local authorities.

Councils will increasingly be awarded highways maintenance funding on the basis of performance rather than need as the government looks to improve the efficiency of road works.

Jones said: “The questionnaire being issued asks about asset management – whether authorities take a long-term view of road repair or wait for problems to develop before taking action.

“It asks about customer satisfaction – and whether authorities are listening to road users and responding to their views.

“And it asks about collaboration – whether authorities are working together, to share practice and resources.”

Mouchel director of public services Matthew Lugg has been working with the government to design the questionnaire. This has been distributed to councils for a practice run.

The final version of the form will be released in the autumn, with a completion deadline later this year, and will affect funding allocations for the 2016-17 financial year.

Jones said at a conference in London last week: “We have moved on from an approach in which money is handed out purely on the basis of where the need is greatest.

“Frankly, sometimes the need is greatest because a local authority has not used the funds it has received as efficiently as it could.

“We have learnt that if you hand out money while ignoring why local roads are in a bad state, you create a system of perverse incentives, and unintended consequences.

“The risk is that the more public money the government hands out, the less efficient local authorities become at mending the roads.”

There will now be a gradual increase in the amount of money available on a performance basis, according to Jones.

“Authorities that spend money on roads efficiently will be rewarded with extra funds to keep up the good work,” he said.

“By the financial year 2018-19, over a quarter of funding will be allocated on the basis of either competition or performance.”

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