UKPMS, the national Pavement Management System for non-Trunk Roads in the UK, is now an established tool in the Maintenance Engineer’s armoury. An important new initiative, set up in July 2000, was the establishment of an open technical forum on UKPMS, called the 'Owners Forum'. This group, which has now attracted over 110 member organisations, is directed by a national Technical Steering Group (TSG) representing a cross-section of industry experts, and co-funds activities of mutual interest through a modest annual subscription. UKPMS technical developments are put forward by the TSG to the over-seeing Roads Board which was established in late-2001. The Roads Board in turn answers to the Roads Liaison Group, which is a collaborative venture between central and local government, and also includes all the Devolved Administrations. The Roads Board are also responsible for managing the local roads research programme from 2003 onwards, which is expected to include

UKPMS therefore sits alongside other key national initiatives in the Highways sector, and serves the needs of Best Value at both local and national level.

The survey, consultancy and software supply industry is also now geared up to support UKPMS and provide the additional technical back-up and resources to assist Local Authorities in the implementation process, and it is worth noting that all sectors of the industry, both public and private sector, are represented on the 'Owners Forum'. UKPMS, while actively supported by DfT in England and DRD in Northern Ireland, is also open to Local Authorities in Wales and Scotland. An important step in the implementation of UKPMS was the publication of the new Code of Good Practice in July 2001 (which makes important reference to UKPMS and its Rules & Parameters). It is also stated in DfT Guidance as the standard system to be used in England for producing Best Value Performance Indicators for road condition, and is identified as key to the future direction of NRMCS. UKPMS allows a flexible approach, which supports national benchmarks but also local Best Value standards to be developed.

The UKPMS Owners Forum provides a way of ensuring that

  • Owners all have a say in the future direction of UKPMS
  • Owners have access to high-quality technical support
  • Owners can participate in approved training and receive documentation updates as and when required
  • Owners are kept informed of UKPMS events and developments, through the Owners Forum web site and other mediums.

Immediate benefits of being an Owners Forum member include;

  • Invitations to free or subsidised technical meetings and seminars of common interest, including the Annaul Owners Forum Seminar
  • Access to UKPMS documentation (including a free copy of the UKPMS Visual Survey Manual)
  • Access to free technical advice concerning the generic development, implementation and use of UKPMS.
  • Access to restricted information through the password-protected areas of the Owners Forum web site, including access to the discussion and consultation forums and the ability to search within the site.

Membership of the Forum is open to all, and may be taken up either by payment of small annually renewable fee.

Produced by Chris Britton Consultancy Ltd on behalf of the UKPMS Owners Forum