County council paid £4million to unsuccessful highways contract bidder

Roadworks sign
Roadworks sign

A £4million settlement was paid to a company after it narrowly failed to win a lucrative highways contract from West Sussex County Council.

In early 2018, the council was ready to make Ringway Infrastructure Services Ltd responsible for the upkeep of the county’s roads following what was described as ‘a successful procurement process’.

But a High Court challenge from rival bidder Amey brought the process to a grinding halt and led to Balfour Beatty being given an interim contract.

Since then the council has decided to split the highways contract into a number of lots held by range of different companies, with the new arrangements set to go live at the start of April.

It has now been revealed Amey was paid £4million, which the county council has taken from its reserves, to settle the outstanding legal claim.

The figure has been revealed within draft budget papers for 2020/21 being discussed this month.

A spokesman for the county council said: “The budget report also identifies that money from reserves has been used to settle an outstanding claim and associated costs of the contested procurement process for highways maintenance. A sum of £4m has been paid to the claimant Amey after it instigated legal proceedings.”