Senior Directors of Ringway have been hauled over the coals about their failure to deliver an adequate Highways service since they took over the majority of Highways work in Hertfordshire on 1st Oct last year.
Liberal Democrat councillors have been highly critical of the performance by Ringway since November, by which time problems were already coming to light. In an open letter dated 13th January Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst detailed 15 areas of poor performance saying that the service was not good enough.
Two days later Ringway were issued with a formal “Early Warning Notice” by the County Council telling them to address many of these concerns.
At a meeting of the Highways and Transport Panel on Tuesday (5th Feb) afternoon Liberal Democrat councillors questioned and detailed their concerns direct to Ringway Directors. Ringway have now admitted they have failed the deliver the service they have should. They told councillors that they now have 50% more people on the ground, with an additional 80 staff doing repairs than in the middle of December and an additional 5 gangs dealing with street lighting problems.
Even with this extra resource it may take till June, admitted Ringway, to get the service level up the expected contract standard. They have now put in place an “Action Plan” to address their weakness.
Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst said,“Frankly I am saddened, dismayed but also angry that Hertfordshire residents have been so badly let down by a major multi-national company that could earn £220m over the term of this contract from our Council Tax. Their failures to fix basic road faults, communicate with councillors and residents, clear our drains or fix our lights is not good enough.
“Now it seems only after Lib Dem pressure something is being done. Some county officers it seems knew of major problems months ago. Residents and the Liberal Democrats want our faults fixed now not in June and we certainly want Ringway to pick up the bill for extra work because they could not do the job they were being paid for. At last the Conservatives at county hall are looking at bringing in default charges against Ringway and I will demand them to impose these” said Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst.
Ringway are due to attend the Full County Council meeting on February 26th to hear more criticism of their performance.