Although the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and subsequent Codes of Practice as well as the recently produced DfT Best Practice booklet all draw attention to the importance of the co-ordination of all works on the highway they do not provide specific advice as to how the data should be collected, distributed and used nor the format in which it should be kept. Authorities and Utilities have been left to develop their own regional, county and in some cases district/borough procedures and formats.
What is evident is that both Utilities and Authorities face ever-increasing difficulties in achieving the requirements of Sections 59 and 60 of the Act. It is acknowledged by all concerned that the standardisation in which co-ordination data is presented to users would be of a major benefit enabling co-ordination to be carried out with greater ease. In addition as the Government requirement for E-government approaches and the use of the electronic means of transferring large amounts of data becomes increasingly easy, it is almost essential that a standard format is adopted at least on a Regional basis.
EMHAUC have now discussed this matter in detail and have tried to take account of the requirements of all those involved in the co-ordination process both at present and in the future in formalising a suggested format. In an attempt to avoid 'reinventing the wheel', attention was paid to the format of the N Notice format a well as the NSG and the Excel file that can be downloaded from the link at the top of this pageillustrates the accepted format.
There are obviously some fields that at present may not be mandatory but may be so in light of changes in legislation and procedures. Examples are the columns for the OS Grid Reference and NSG Reference. However it would be very useful to users of the data if these were indeed populated by those supplying data and this should be encouraged. If all the fields are accurately populated then those involved in the co-ordination process would be much better informed when making decisions.
What must be remembered is that the vary nature of co-ordination has changed and that the process of co-ordination cannot be limited to a quarterly meeting. It is an evolving and living process and the use of available and future technology is essential in ensuring that all those with responsibilities under the Act meet these.
EMHAUC have agreed that: -
1. the attached data format should be adopted on a regional basis by all members of EMHAUC
2. where possible the data should be electronically transferred and made available on the EMHAUC or Authoritys' own website
3. all those involved in the co-ordination process should be encouraged to take ownership of the accuracy of the data and ensure that updated information is passed onto those responsible for the relevant Co-ordination Database who in turn should ensure that it is updated as necessary