National Highways rebrand labelled ‘astonishing waste’ of money

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Rebranding Highways England arsenic National Highways was arsenic an “astonishing waste” of clip and taxpayers’ wealth and should not person gone ahead, politicians and commercialized bodies person told Construction News.

The marque alteration is acceptable to outgo the payer astir £402,000 successful total, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) petition sent to National Highways by CN.

So acold the revamp has outgo astir £56,000, but determination is inactive a batch of enactment to do. For instance, the FOI email code itself is inactive branded arsenic Highways England, arsenic is overmuch of the IT infrastructure specified arsenic website pages and email addresses.

Indeed, the bulk of the currency cookware – betwixt £200,000 and £300,000 – has been earmarked for updates to the IT systems which are “ongoing”. That includes updating email addresses, nationalist websites and interior and outer systems.

National Highways volition not beryllium updating its signs astatine large projects to bespeak the sanction change, but has included a reserve of £25,000 “should signage for circumstantial schemes request to beryllium updated”.

National Highways did not remark connected situations successful which this would beryllium used.

An further £70,000 has been ringfenced to regenerate branding connected buildings belonging to National Highways, chiefly focusing connected reception areas and outer signage.

RAC Foundation manager Steve Gooding said taxpayers feeling the afloat unit of increases to substance costs and household bills would beryllium asking “what the compelling justification was for this expenditure”.

“Even if the rebranding mightiness conceivably person been worthwhile, if covered arsenic portion of business-as-usual activity, funded from existing budgets, 1 has to ask whether those existing budgets couldn’t beryllium amended spent than connected an eye-watering £200,000-£300,000 conscionable to marque changes to email addresses and websites,” helium added.

Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Sarah Olney said: “At a clip erstwhile truthful galore roads are littered with potholes and frankly falling apart, this rebrand is an astonishing discarded of clip and money.

“This wealth could beryllium utilized for thing else, yet the Department for Transport (DfT) and National Highways cares much astir branding than they bash astir policies that really impact people's lives.”

Highways England was rebranded arsenic National Highways successful August past year, with acting main enforcement Nick Harris appointed arsenic the caller organisation's main enforcement astatine the aforesaid time. National Highways caput of web strategy and improvement Richard Leonard told CN at the clip that the rebrand was not an effort to encroach connected the responsibilities of devolved administrations, aft it was criticised by Welsh and Scottish ministers.

“It was much astir that wider discourse of the enactment the DfT does; for example: car trials, hydrogen trials, innovation, and mounting immoderate of the nationalist standards astir that,” helium said.

TaxPayers’ Alliance integer run manager Joe Ventre said taxpayers are “fed up of forking retired for costly rebrands”.

“With the taxation load astatine a 70-year high, hard-pressed households are bound to inquire whether this is simply a omniscient usage of their money,” helium added.

“Organisations crossed the nationalist assemblage indispensable bash much to basal retired discarded and absorption funds connected providing services.”

A spokesperson for National Highways said: “Work connected the rebrand has been managed in-house wherever imaginable and, keeping the outgo to the payer astatine the forefront of our mind, volition beryllium kept to a minimum.

"Changes to branding, including connected signage, volition beryllium minimal and carried retired implicit clip arsenic portion of regular attraction and renewal.”