Keeping the industry on top of the key issues

Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) sector interest groups (SIG) enable the organisation to keep abreast of the key issues facing consultancy and engineering businesses and influence the industry, as James Robertson explains.

James Robertson.

ACE is forever pushing for the continued success of its members across all sectors of our industry. The SIGs provide thought leadership through research, they regularly respond to consultations on relevant topics and provide a platform for the sector to engage constructively with government at every level. Not content simply with lobbying on project pipeline and winning business, the SIGs are also concerned with the sustainability of work programmes, skills, and public perception in their sector.

SIGs meet four times a year to discuss, address and pre-empt issues of strategic importance to their businesses and sectors. Spanning rail, roads, property, major projects, sustainability and water, the groups also engage with key stakeholders at all levels of government and the wider industry sectors they cover.

Outputs from the groups are used to influence key stakeholders and to help to direct ACE’s policy agenda. Current and ongoing activities of the SIG groups are summarised below.

The Rail Group, chaired by Alan Price of Jacobs, has been monitoring the government’s and Network Rail’s planning for the next five-year investment period for the rail sector (Control Period 6) commencing in 2019. As part of this work, the group recently responded to an Office of Rail and Road consultation on improving renewals efficiency at Network Rail.  

The Roads Group, chaired by Dave Beddell from AECOM, is working on publishing a new report on funding roads in the UK. The report will focus on outstanding issues from a similar ACE report in 2013 and more recent topics such as the uptake of technology to improve the productivity of infrastructure. The group has also been involved in the government’s latest consultation on the next five-year investment period for the roads sector (Roads Investment Strategy 2) commencing in 2020.

The recently formed Property Group, chaired by Tom Smith from WSP, will shortly start work developing a housing paper to contribute to the current debate around the housing crisis in the UK. The group also recently supported an ACE response to the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation’s revised local plan for the area, which outlines proposed planning policies for the next 20 years. 

Major Projects
The Major Projects Group recently took the lead in supporting ACE’s response to a National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) consultation on how new technology can improve the productivity of infrastructure.   The group, chaired by Patrick Flaherty from AECOM, will also support ACE’s response to the NIC’s recently released interim National Infrastructure Assessment. This response will highlight the valuable contributions that consultancy and engineering firms provide the infrastructure sector in the UK.

A key current project for the Sustainability Group is the development of a Sustainability Road Map over the next year. The road map will focus on building codes and regulation, sustainability reporting and performance and sustainability projects in a post-Brexit world.  The group is chaired by Natalie Cropp from Tony Gee and Partners.

The Water Group, chaired by Steven Trewhella from Rivelin Bridge, has an exciting work programme over the next 18 months. The recently restructured group will focus on three broad themes: procuring world leading outcomes, future proofing the water policy framework and an economic policy for flood resilience. To support these themes, the group will be developing a Brexit paper on water policy in early 2018.

For further information on ACE’s sector interest groups contact James Roberston at jrobertson@acenet.co.uk 

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email awalker@infrastructure-intelligence.com.