Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme

The Strategic Review is part of the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) offer to support sector-led improvement. Delivered by the LGA it is a peer-led review of a council’s performance to help identify radical transformational opportunities and potential for improvements in operating efficiency.

HMEP was funded and supported by the Department for Transport (DfT) from 2012. The Programme’s vision focused on supporting and embedding change across the highways sector. It outlined three strategic objectives which were:

  • Encourage leadership: This was a focus on providing a more compelling case for change by working to secure the support and buy-in from elected members, senior officers and practitioners
  • Build capacity: This was a focus on helping the sector to help itself by connecting a broader range of people, organisations and networks
  • Engage and enable: This focused on offering targeted support which would enable and embed change helping the sector to measure its progress towards improved efficiency and effectiveness so that services are sustained long into the future.

The HMEP Strategic Review delivered by the LGA was an integral part of the ‘Engage and Enable’ stream in particular.


The review is based on the tried, tested and trusted local government peer challenge model. This emerged as a response to a desire within local government for councils to informally test their effectiveness and learn from others. It was traditionally applied on a corporate basis but many service-based models have emerged over a number of years.

It is a voluntary and flexible process commissioned by a council (as highway authority) to aid their improvement and learning and brings together a team of local government officers, an elected member and other relevant expertise connected to the sector.

The team will spend three days on site at a council. During this time they use a themed framework of questions, prompts and activities. These are designed to enable strategic conversations between the team and a range of participants and stakeholders connected with the authority commissioning the review. And it is founded upon the principle that peers are at the heart of a process managed and delivered by the sector for the sector. The Strategic Guidance for the Reviews provides more information on what councils can expect from a Review. This includes the core themes and approach of these Reviews.


  • Encourages engagement, collaboration and commitment to action.
  • Provides a critical friend challenge to the council’s delivery of its Highways function.
  • Informs decision-making and priority setting.
Key principles and features
  • They are sector-led.
  • They provide critical friend challenge.
  • They are voluntary.
  • The feedback is to an authority not about it.
  • There is a clear strategic focus.
  • Reviews are flexible and proportionate.
Outputs of the Strategic Review

Stage 1: The initial output from the review a summary of the key findings and conclusions from which is produced by the team while on site. These messages are delivered before the team leaves site via a feedback presentation to the receiving authority.

Stage 2: The next phase is an action planning day which takes place within weeks of the feedback presentation from Stage 1 being delivered.

The total cost of the two stages is £13,450.00. This includes all expenses and costs associated with running the review

Council participation

Since 2012 the HMEP programme has delivered in excess of 30 and bespoke support projects at the following councils:

  1. Surrey County Council - November 2012
  2. Blackpool Council - January 2013. Action Planning Day February 2013
  3. Cambridgeshire County Council - July 2013
  4. Oxfordshire County Council - July 2013
  5. Kent County Council - January 2014
  6. Bristol City Council - March 2014
  7. Devon County Council - April 2014
  8. Hertfordshire County Council - June 2014
  9. Dorset County Council - September 2014
  10. Thurrock Council - October 2014
  11. Hull City Council - December 2014
  12. Hampshire County Council - January 2015
  13. Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council - January 2015
  14. Wokingham Borough Council - February 2015
  15. Suffolk County Council - February 2015
  16. Lincolnshire County Council - March 2015
  17. Middlesbrough Council - July 2015
  18. Northumberland Council - September 2015
  19. North Yorkshire County Council - November 2015
  20. Wigan Council - February 2016
  21. Wiltshire Council - February 2016
  22. St Helens Council - March 2016
  23. Telford and Wrekin Council - March 2016
  24. Gloucestershire County Council - September 2016
  25. Kent County Council - September 2016
  26. West Sussex County Council - October 2016
  27. Wakefield Council - November 2016
  28. Staffordshire County Council - March 2017
  29. Buckinghamshire County Council - December 2017
  30. East Riding of Yorkshire Council - June 2018
  31. Southend on Sea Council - October 2018


Background reading
The Evaluation Report

Further information
If you are interested in your local authority commissioning a HMEP Strategic Review or any other support please contact:
Ernest Opuni (Peer Support Officer LGA)
Email [email protected]
Telephone: 02076643336 / 07920061193