This plan is a DfT requirement which states the need for an approved and publicised highways communications plan in order to apply for DfT Incentive Funds funding. It is in line with the criteria set out by DfT to obtain up to £1m in funding. Once published on the Council’s website it will become the framework for all future communications regarding major works and large scale event as well as planned and unplanned works with will disrupt the network and members of the public who use it.
Section 1 Plan Management
The Highways Network Management Team who have produced this plan are responsible for its continued development and maintenance. The Communications and Engagement Team will also provide assistance in maintaining the plan.
Evaluation, Review and Acceptance
This plan will be reviewed every two years by the plan authors, plan authors and include input from the major stakeholders. The review will include adopting examples of good practise and embedding lessons learned. This will ensure that the aim and objectives are still relevant and achieving them provide betterment and improvements within Doncaster.
If the plan is activated during a major weather incident, major events or major scheme, for example the Tour de Yorkshire, the review process will follow, even it has been less than two years since the previous scheduled review.
Section 2 Key Partners and Key Stakeholders
A hierarchy is listed below which is comprised of key partners, stakeholders and impacted groups. This is based on impacts to business continuity, the impacts on safety and significant actions that may needed by them.
- Highways, Street Scene and Trading Services Portfolio Holder
- Assistant Director for Environment
- Head of Service for Waste and Highways Infrastructure
- Head of Service for Major Projects and Investment
- Network Manager
- Doncaster Council Communications Team
- Emergency Services
- Highways England
- Utility Companies
- Public Transport Providers
- Doncaster Council Elected Members
- Doncaster Council Senior Management Teams
- Doncaster Council Staff
- Doncaster Council Customer Contact Centre
- Doncaster Residents
- Doncaster Businesses
- Doncaster Commuters
- Media Outlets
- Local Communities and Community Groups
- Schools and Colleges
- Interested groups such as freight associations, pedestrian groups, cycling and motoring groups and mobility groups
Section 3 Introduction and Background
This plan identifies how Doncaster Council Highways Network Management will disseminate information to the public through the Council’s numerous communications channels. The impact that council highways services can have on members of the public is why a plan such as this is required.
The aim of this plan is to provide transparent and practical communication with stakeholders, council staff and members of the public about the various schemes, works and events that impact on the Doncaster highways.
This plan supports the following objectives:
- The development of a clear and transparent communications plan for residents, commuters and businesses as well as all who use the Doncaster Highways Network.
- Ensure stakeholders easily understand the key areas of the service delivery.
- Create a standardised approach of information dissemination to all key partners and stakeholders.
- Raise awareness of the services provided by the highway authority
- Increase stakeholder satisfaction with the services provided
- Improve the level of trust and confidence in the decisions made
- Support elected members in their roles as community representatives
- Use modern technology to reach and inform as many people as possible
Information can be static, in the sense that there is no need for constant updates following the initial publishing, conversely information can also be dynamic with the available information and its accuracy constantly changing as a situation may develop.
The following are lists are examples of static and dynamic information:
· Planned Highway Maintenance Programmes
· Capital Investments Projects
· Events on the Highway
· Policies and Strategies
· Customer Satisfaction
· Service Delivery and Performance Measures
· The Resilient Network
· Unplanned or Emergency Works
· Road Traffic Collisions
· Weather Related Impacts on the Network
· Winter Maintenance
Section 4 Sharing of Information
The Network Management team shares a roadworks report every Friday with emergency services, key internal staff and other relevant partners. The report details the location of road closures in Doncaster, information about roadworks, and key contact details.
In Doncaster most of the major works, large events and other schemes affecting the network added to one.network allowing key partners, stakeholders and the public to view the location and background information. Information about schemes and events that may affect access to the Highways England network (motorways) are also added onto one.network.
The Council’s Communications team will share on social media information about road traffic collisions, weather impacts and emergency closures; once informed by the appropriate highways team or officer. This will allow for a more singular approach to sharing information, especially with the public and provide a uniform appearance to the information.
Section 5 Roles and Responsibilities
The Highways Service and the Communications and Engagement team will work closely to identify major schemes, works and events on the Doncaster network. Communications team will assist Highways with identifying where communications messages, communications support is required and in some cases, if media and social media campaigns are a viable option.
The Communications and Engagement team will take advice from the Highways teams for content of communications messages and will style the messages in the corporate format. The two teams will review the communications channels and messages as well as identifying what additionally may be required and what has deemed to be good practise. This will occur at meeting once every six months.
In the instance of a Major Capital Scheme and Major Schemes, which have far-reaching impacts, the project manager / scheme developer of these projects will utilise the Scheme Specific Communications Plan Template, located in Appendix 1.
Section 6 Communication Channels
The plans stakeholders will receive relevant key messages via the following channels:
- Traditional Media
- Doncaster Council’s website
- Doncaster Council’s official social media pages
- one.network (formally roadworks.org)
- Council internal email
- Correspondence with local residents and businesses
- Informing Elected Members
- Advanced Signage
Traditional Media includes mediums such as television, radio and print. News releases will inform and publicise major planned works and major events on the Doncaster Network as well other impactful projects and schemes. Traditional media, used in conjunction with the council’s website and social media platforms, will help to inform the largest catchment of people.
Traditional Media is still a key way to inform members of the public who may not necessarily use social media or who struggle to obtain information via the internet. Television, radio and print are useful for major announcements and key updates, especially for long-term projects however, for quicker paced and more dynamic updates they can be unhelpful rather than beneficial.
Doncaster Council’s website remains a major point of contact for numerous residents and businesses within Doncaster with numerous pages dedicated to the Highways Networks and the services it provides. Residents can report any highway defects, view performance data and the Council’s highway policies and strategies.
The main page “Transport, Streets & Parking” will direct users to sub-pages such as Current Roadworks which will display a one.network imbedded map and details of the current and future major schemes in the borough.
There are additional sub-pages such as Programmes of Works, which details works on the carriageway, footways, bridges and information about flood risk. Further pages for stakeholder access include Gritting and Snow Clearance, which contains links to requests and information about being prepared for winter. There is also the Highway Regulation page, which is a communication channel for reporting problems as well as viewing other related services offered.
The main pages and the sub-pages are subject to regular checks and updates to keep the information up to date.
Promoting the Council’s website via traditional and social media, correspondence with elected members and personal contact with residents and businesses to ensure that stakeholders can obtain the information, which they require.
Monitoring the hit counter on the available website pages will highlight the types of information stakeholders are most interested in and concerned about which in turn can be used to tailor messages and communications to mirror this.
The Council’s social media pages will inform the public of future schemes and events, which will affect the network; additional status updates will be shared periodically as well as specific updates when required. Requests by the public for specific information or information that is more detailed will still need to go through the relevant online forms or by speaking with the contact centre.
Social media will also update the public of incidents or unplanned works on the network. The main social media platforms used by Doncaster Council are Facebook and Twitter, due to the simplicity of warning and informing such a vast number of Doncaster residents; social media platforms allow for quick and easy interactions and updates when appropriate. Members of the public can also choose to like and follow the Councils social media accounts; this will allow them to receive automatic updates.
A website dedicated to providing information about disruptions on the network, allowing stakeholders to forward plan and inform. The information, displayed on a map, has a dedicated page on the council website.
Social media messages and other forms of communication will highlight access to the website, allowing stakeholders to forward plan when using the Doncaster Network. one.network displays various traffic information such as:
- Live traffic congestions
- Incidents and accidents
- Current and planned works
- Closures and diversions
- Future events
There are numerous ways to inform and update Doncaster Council staff of highways schemes, incidents and events via numerous methods.
Internal group emails allow for the dissemination of detailed and large amounts of information, as well as information that may be of a sensitive nature. This method provides a controlled way of informing Doncaster Council staff and Ward Members. Information can also be cascaded to staff through numerous ways such as messages from the Chief Executive and the Directors and Assistant Directors, Economy & Environment staff briefings and the Economy & Environment Newsletter.
Local Residents and Businesses Correspondence
Planned works, schemes and events that will affect residents and businesses in a specific or isolated location will be contacted through flyers and letter drops to ensure that they are kept well informed of the situation and any potential issues. The scheme developer inform local residents and businesses of future schemes and works.
Informing Ward Members
The scheme developer will inform Doncaster Council Ward Members in areas soon to be impacted by upcoming major schemes. The scheme developer will also inform the portfolio holder for Highways, Street Scene and Trading Services. The Highway Network Management team will inform Ward Members of adverse weather impacts, dynamic closures and major events on the network.
In addition to media and social media messages, and signposting to one.network, the placement of physical advanced signage in areas where works and closures will occur, prior to their commencement. This will provide residents and businesses near the affected area, who use the affected road or roads, with ample warning of planned works, closures or events that will have impacts for their regular usage of the road.
The principal designer or contracts traffic management company should ensure that all road closures have advanced warning signs present for a minimum of seven days prior to the first day of works. Major schemes should have a scheme board present with suitable contact information well displayed.
- Doncaster Council Highway Communication Plan V1
- Download (789KB - DOCX)