Highways England is the highway, traffic and street authority for England’s motorways and certain major A-roads known as the strategic road network (SRN). We’re a government-owned, arm’s-length company delivering and contributing to the government’s long-term plan for the SRN.
We were established under the Infrastructure Act 2015, and appointed and licensed as a strategic highways company by the Secretary of State for Transport on 1 April 2015.
Our performance is monitored by the Office of Rail and Road, and Transport Focus, the consumer watchdog. Both organisations provide advice to the Secretary of State for Transport on our activities.
Our governance framework
Under the Licence, the Secretary of State sets directions and guidance for us about how we must act, and defines the process for setting and changing the RIS.
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) Framework Document sets out our roles and accountabilities, along with those for the Secretary of State for Transport and DfT. The Framework Document provides clarity of purpose as we work to achieve the shared objective of delivering a network that provides the best possible service for customers and stakeholders, and supports broader economic, environmental and safety goals.
The Framework Document also recognises our functional and day-to-day operational independence, sets out how financial control and accountability is achieved, and recognises the governance and decision-making arrangements of our Board.
Our Delivery Plan explains how we will meet the specific requirements of the first road period. The Board reviews the plan annually and agrees refinements in line with our annual objectives and other strategies, including our approach to safety – our first imperative. We publish an annual Delivery Plan Update, describing the programme for the current year ahead.
Our Board and Executive
There is a clear division of responsibilities between the Chairman, Chief Executive, and members of the Board and Executive Teams.
Our Board governs our work and is expected to ensure the long-term success of Highways England, and is responsible to the Secretary of State for doing so. Its activities include setting strategy, overseeing performance, reviewing risks and appointing senior leaders.
The Board delegates responsibility of the day-to-day running of the company to our Chief Executive.
A team of Executive Directors support the Chief Executive in leading us to deliver our strategic objectives, as set out in our Strategic Business Plan. They implement the Board’s strategic decisions and are committed to doing this responsibly.
Further details about these roles are set out in our Governance Report.