Our work with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead – one year in.
It has been just over a year since the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) awarded us their five year long Highways and Transport Professional Services contract. We’ve developed a very successful and mutually beneficial partnership in just 12 months. Below is a look at some of the work we’ve done with RBWM so far:
In December 2017, it was announced that we had secured a contribution of £3.75m from the Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver a major access improvement scheme at Maidenhead Station. The scheme is intended to improve access and interchange at the station, improve links to the town centre, and support passenger changes associated with Crossrail.
Under the coordination of our Road Safety Education Consultant, Imogen Leonard, we have helped teach road safety lessons to over 1,600 Year 3 pupils in the borough. Additionally, over 700 cycle safety lessons have been delivered to pupils, with 90% achieving Levels 1, 2 or 3 Bikeability, the national standard for cycle training.
Ways we have improved customer service include:
- responding to over 500 enquiries from customers, stakeholders and Councillors regarding traffic and road safety issues
- providing technical support at over 100 meetings; representing the highways partnership in council and parish meetings, and meeting customers onsite
- responding to all enquiries within 15 working days, achieving 100% against the Council’s target for customer service
- delivering nearly three times more responses to customers than we were expecting, a 140% increase overall
- Our public transport service has dealt with over 700 enquiries and has responded to 100% of those enquiries within the Council’s target of 15 working days
We were instrumental in securing a trial extension to bus services into the Ockwells estate, and are working to deliver innovative public transport solutions. We are hosting a workshop in early 2018/19 to bring together a wide range of stakeholders to agree a future public transport strategy for the Borough.
Overall, we are providing more than three times the level of day to day customer support that was expected at the outset of the contract, but have been able to deliver this support at no additional cost to the Council, whilst maintaining a 100% level of service. We have achieved this by providing targeted, expert resources to deliver the various service elements. We have reduced the level of day to day work conflicts that detract from service delivery, enabling individuals to concentrate on specific customer service areas, which significantly increases their outputs.
We have also worked with the Council to implement their customer experience management system. This has helped considerably to increase customer self-service and reduce the need for repeat interaction, i.e. enabling us to “get it right first time”. Our tendered fees for Lot 3 transportation services have increased by 2.6% in-year to cover minor TUPE related costs. We have therefore been able to deliver nearly three times as much work as was envisaged in 2017/18 within budget.
After completion of the design and implementation of the Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Garden, Sookyoung Im, Landscape Architect at Project Centre, worked with the Royal Borough to design the planting in the garden, from concept through to detailed design. Meaningful planting design can complement and play a key role to a memorial garden. We wanted to use plants that symbolise not only the journey Sir Nicholas took but also his beliefs. Plants have been selected to provide long seasonal interest and promote low maintenance and sustainability. The garden was opened by the Prime Minister in November 2017.
We were also asked to look at designs and locations for a new hotel at Legoland in Windsor. This work involved advising the council over sustainable drainage systems and traffic impacts.
We have received 40% more planning enquiries than expected at contract commencement (an additional 230 applications). We have responded to 91% of those enquiries within 15 working days. Given the notable increase in volumes of work, we are proud of this achievement, but we do wish to improve our performance next year. We are therefore proposing to increase our resources in this service area.
We also propose to monitor our performance against delivery of minor applications and major applications separately, acknowledging the significant differences in technical input and timescales required to review and comment on small development proposals and large schemes such as The Landings or Legoland developments.
Our team also manages Section 278 highway agreements with developers. We expected to receive around five such agreements this year, but have actually managed nearly 30 agreements, a six-fold increase in workload over what was expected.
We have commented on the sustainable drainage implications of 210 major planning applications, providing expert technical resource for this specialist service function. We have responded to 94% of those enquiries within 28 working days. However, the statutory target for SUDs planning responses is 21 days, and we have delivered 88% of our responses within this timeframe. We are actively recruiting to increase the level of resource available for this specialist work. We aim to improve this indicator during 2018-19.
As part of the contract we designed and delivered more than 20 highway improvement and road safety schemes, including a trial one-way system near Windsor Castle. The trial proved to be a huge success and the scheme was made permanent.
It has been an incredible first year and we have loved the varied work and interesting challenges each presents. Looking forward to next year, we are holding discussions over the significant volumes of highways development control applications that we are dealing with. We are also looking at where we can add more value to the borough, including a further LEP major scheme bid, and our continuation of the innovative project we’re developing for public transport services across the borough.