Innovation Exchange

Roads Collaboration Programme


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


The Roads Collaboration Programme is supported by COSLA, SOLACE, SCOTS and Scottish Government. It has run since mid 2013 and is overseen by a board with workstreams supported by Improvement Service and led by LA officers.


Senior Roads Officers from 8 Local Authorities across the North of Scotland have, for the past year, been discussing and developing opportunities to work more collaboratively across a range of road-related activities. This work has emanated from the National Road Maintenance Review and through the Roads Collaboration Programme (RCP) Governance First initiative seeks to enable collaborative activity under a legitimate governance arrangement involving Elected Members. This mechanism allows participating local authorities to develop a strategy and approach to sharing of roads-related services to meet their local needs within a legally sound and secure environment of clear accountability.


Elected members have met twice over the last 6 months and have agreed to form a joint committee, most likely from autumn 2016.


Theme: Partnership and Collaboration

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Considerable sharing is already underway within some of the participating authorities, with a variety of ad-hoc and some formal agreements in place to ensure the successful delivery of the following initiatives on a collaborative basis:


  • Procurement of road maintenance materials
  • Training
  • Standardised roads maintenance specification and contract documentation
  • Maintenance of traffic signals
  • Road Safety Audits
  • Weather forecasting service
  • Provision of rock salt and winter gritting equipment
  • Professional services and advice in relation to Flood Risk Management
  • Proprietary road surfacing equipment leases

Work has been advanced by the officer group on rapid business cases on a set of initial activities where collaboration would help to protect the authority from future service delivery failure through lack of resilience, whilst also identifying opportunities to make savings.  These initial papers are being worked up for presentation to Members at the next meeting and will cover Sharing of Front Line Resources, Training/Health and Safety, Harbours Management and Signage.


Whilst these rapid business cases may not answer all detailed issues in the first instance, the approach developed with the Improvement Service has been signed off as the most appropriate one by SOLACE and COSLA.  This approval was given on the basis of the previous experiences of shared service discussions where full business cases were worked on first and ultimately led to no progress being made as the focus was then on the conflicts rather than the collaboration.


Key lessons learned so far on the programme would be;


  1. Getting a governance model discussed up front is the top priority. Without that in place the work on detailed business cases is irrelevant.
  2. Identify a key lead officer and support on a collaborative basis.
  3. Collaboration only works if there is an understanding that it may involve some loss of control.
  4. Elected members will support reform if presented simply, honestly and with a shared set of goals.


Initiatives will sit within three categories. National, Regional and Local. A successful Local initiative may then become Regional and National. National support may often be the catalyst for all areas of work.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Ewan Wallace

Head of Service

Aberdeenshire Council

01224 664580

Case study added to site: June 2016

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