Covid-19: Highways England gives ITS a boost, with increased cash reserves for suppliers, and new £3.6bn procurement framework


Road-building projects, including the procurement and deployment of intelligent transport systems, continue at full capacity on the Strategic Road Network in the UK, with operator Highways England now promising to further accelerate supplier payments in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK government has given a clear and consistent message that, despite the country-wide lockdown, construction must continue while following Public Health England guidance, and Highways England have taken this opportunity to look to bringing projects forward to take advantage of the reduction in traffic levels.

Malcolm Dare, executive director, Commercial & Procurement, Highways England

“Once again I would like to highlight that we are looking at opportunities to accelerate work in the Operations and Major Project areas in order to support the supply base. Should you have any suggestions please contact us via,” says Highways England’s executive director for commercial and procurement, Malcolm Dare, in a statement.

“We are continuing to accelerate supplier payments for work completed and correctly invoiced. We currently pay 74% of invoices within five working days from the receipt of the invoice for all suppliers and we are looking to improve this further, especially for SME’s,” continues Dare. “We are also ensuring that we have increased cash reserves available to support further accelerated payments. I would also like to remind suppliers that we operate the Project Bank Account approach for construction based activities down to Tier 3 levels. Should this capability be of interest please contact us via”

“I would also like to stress that all planned and ongoing procurement activities are continuing and they will be published via normal channels. For instance this week we released the PIN for the £3.6bn, six year Operations Scheme Delivery Framework. C-19 related challenges might result in delays to our normal approval times but I would like to re-emphasise that we are continuing to operate as close to business as usual as possible.”

Highways England’s £3.6bn framework covers new projects, improvements and repair works. The framework is for strategic roads across the country and is made up of 13 lots. Bidders will compete for work in civil engineering, traffic management, drainage, structural and concrete repairs, landscape and ecology and traffic management.

The framework notice can be found here. Interested contractors should send an email with full names and contact details to by 30 April.


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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).