IT’S good to see Herefordshire Council announce that they will be dropping Balfour Beatty, though sadly not until 2026.

But it is disconcerting to see that the intention is for another contract with another private company. The state of our roads shows that the policy of selling off works to the private sector has been a failure.

The problem is that private companies will seek to maximise profit for the least cost. This leads not only to the increasing backlog of unfilled potholes, but to the bizarre situation we have all seen where one pothole is fixed, because it has been reported, but another a few metres away is left unfixed because it hasn’t.


The Public Realm Services Report of April 25 says: “It is anticipated that the future operating model will include the insourcing of technical roles to the council and a new contractor to deliver the operational annual plan works.”

One definition of madness is to repeat the same experiment and expect different results. We’ve tried using private contractors for many years and they have failed us miserably.

What are your thoughts?

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It’s time to end the Tory obsession with their atavistic mantra “Private good, public bad” and bring the control and operations of road maintenance back in-house.

It’s also noteworthy that Construction News on March 1 says, “The report [discussed in cabinet on March 2] says the historic arrangement fails to provide the council with adequate levels of control and assurance for services .. .delivered...”, adding that it may be “too friendly, with [a] lack of contractual control.”

What can this mean? Who was too friendly with whom and who allowed the lack of contractual control?