PFI critic joins roads assessor team

By a County Press reporter

Thursday, January 30, 2014


A FIERCE critic of the Island’s multi-million pound highways PFI has signed up to be a 'mystery shopper’, assessing roadworks across the Isle of Wight.

Mike Starke is one of 15 newly-appointed 'lay assessors’ whose role it is to examine roadworks and assess them from the perspective of a member of the public.

They look at various aspects of work, including pedestrian and highway user safety, access around the site for residents, information supplied to residents, the work being done and the finished result, and report their findings to Island Roads and the Isle of Wight Council.

Mr Starke, who was a vocal opponent of the PFI, said: "I was happy to volunteer as a lay assessor as it offers an opportunity for Islanders to monitor first-hand the quality of work in progress and contractors’ handling of the inevitable disruption to traffic.

"There are vital elements in delivering on the pledge to give value for the public money committed to the repair and maintenance of the Island’s roads throughout the 25-year PFI project.

"After a series of comprehensive training sessions, I now feel equipped to provide an informed layman’s view of what can be seen as good practice on work sites, as well as where it is perceived improvements might be made.

"I hope this will contribute to the fulfilment of that promise of seeing we get the most out of the project in return for our major cash investment."

Paul Herbert, Island Roads service director, said lay assessors represented all ages and backgrounds, including drivers, cyclists, mobility impaired, pedestrians and public transport users.

He said: "As well as providing an independent view on how we are carrying out our work, the lay assessors will be an important link between Island Roads and residents."


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Displaying the last 10 of 18 comments - Show All Comments

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by John Lovell

31st January 2014, at 10:10:19

Alan, I suspect that most readers on here have been excusing your spelling for ages.
However, don't assume that "everyone else" uses a spell checker. Some of us went to school and learned to write correct English.

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by alan naylor

30th January 2014, at 19:07:39

Thank you David I must engage my spelling enabler like everyone else

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by roger mazillius

30th January 2014, at 16:23:18

Jack - absolutely correct! It is astounding how posters can be so deluded or apparently so!
I suppose also it shows how confident Island Roads are about their work that they initiate another level of scrutineering, particularly from Starke who must be itching to find faults.
What I still want to know is, is he doing it for love or money? I think we should be told!

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by David Blackford

30th January 2014, at 15:15:18

Alan - Chartered Surveyors

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by alan naylor

30th January 2014, at 14:08:27

Good question Mr Mazillius I should just like to add that everything is now going to be wonderful now we have several layman walking about with letters behind their name doing Quanterty Servayers work excuse the spelling folks

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by Jack Woodford

30th January 2014, at 14:05:57

should have read 'indeed administrations'
I blame the hangover....

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by Jack Woodford

30th January 2014, at 13:41:32

@Mat Thomas
Wrong again Mat, dude. The council has a fully dedicated team to ensure the contract is carried out to the letter. There are also independent professional people to verify the quality of work. Lay assessors add another new tier to scrutiny while there are dedicated cabinet members responsible for the PFI to add extra democratic accountability. None of these safeguards were in place in respect of road schemes carried out prior to PFI.
Furthermore, the PFI process was carried out over many years - and needed administrations - and frequently debated and voted upon in the council chamber. Hardly pushed through!

Al the above is information freely available if you spend five minutes looking at the facts rather than rushing to the keyboard to spill out your political dogma. You really need to take a chill pill, fella.
And don't forget, dude - the whole concept of the Highways PFI and its award to the IW was courtesy of your friends in the Labour Party.

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by Mat Thomas

30th January 2014, at 13:28:33

Not only did the roads get put over to PFI by the previous Conservative administration but engineering went over, pushed through by Stuart Love. So no Clerk of the works or scrutiny by the Council, only Island Roads themselves. Now we have to revert back to some form of scrutiny. Well done Tories. Good luck Mike.

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by Steve Williams

30th January 2014, at 12:11:44

I'm no road expert but he used the term "30 mil which I assumed was 30mm etc, just to clarify

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by Steve Williams

30th January 2014, at 12:05:25

One of the road workers told me the other day, that when they dig the road down to resurface, on the island they are allowed to get away with digging as little as 30mm or a max of 110mm.
On the mainland some local councils insist that A roads and M roads are dug down between 40mm and 300mm.

What safety measures are in place to ensure the build quality is as good if not better than the mainland, if they are only required to dig just over a 3rd of the maximum depth they do on the mainland?

The road surface they dig up is sent back to the mainland, graded and then sent back to be reused in the road building here.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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