14 April 2022 | Our Work
Time waits for no man, and when the time is right you’ll know. My friend, our President, Will Britain has decided to call time on his devoted career to Blackpool Council after some 43 years – I can hear you say ‘he doesn’t look old enough’ and that’s the truth.
Will progressed through the ranks after joining Blackpool Council as a junior Technician in 1979 all the way up to becoming the Head of Highways and Traffic Management Services. He has remained loyal to his employer, not for the lack of other opportunities, but because Will has always wanted to improve the lives of those who live and work in Blackpool.
Working for a relatively small local authority it can be difficult to have your voice heard at a national level as the larger councils generally have the greatest influence when it comes to national initiatives such as the Pothole Review or such things as the annual condition survey. However, Will is not a defeatist and with an unwavering determination he set about creating a ‘Blackpool voice’ at the national level by promoting an approach to highway maintenance that was in the best interest of the public and also the council as the funder.
He created an approach known as Project 30 which saw the council secure additional funds for highways maintenance purposes through prudential borrowing that would allow Blackpool’s road network (including footways) to be improved to a level that would minimise investment needs in the medium to longer term. This concept is now proven and other councils are following this same path. Since then Will has gone on to establish new approaches to engaging SMEs who are now delivering innovations to Blackpool Council and numerous other local highway authorities through Project Amber.
Other achievements in his working life are too numerous to mention but I must remind you how Will created the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) in 2013 from very humble beginnings. He was allowed time due to Blackpool Council’s principles of ‘’being a fair place, where aspiration and ambition are encouraged’’ to build LCRIG which he had high aspirations for. He wanted to create a body that would bring together all local highway authorities in England to share innovations and best practice to generate efficiency savings and create greater commonality across the highways function. Having known Will all of these years I know just how hard this journey was for him – one knockback after another. However, his tenacity persevered.
As it stands today LCRIG is one of the most influential bodies in the highways sector acting as the conduit between the Department for Transport and local councils. It currently has well over half of all English councils as members and is well supported by over 100 private sector partners – he truly has brought the whole market together. I was delighted to witness the culmination of all of these efforts when Will was given an award at Strictly Highways by the much respected, late, Steve Berry at Strictly Highways in 2019 for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Highways Sector’. Just two years ago Will achieved the Community Interest Company status for LCRIG which will allow LCRIG to act on behalf of al of its members by procuring national frameworks for highways maintenance services that will simply save millions of pounds to the taxpayer in the coming years.
Those of you who know Will, will be familiar with his exceptional presentation style and the use of his somewhat risqué images, all in the best possible taste of course, his wicked sense of humour and the way he describes how the sun is always cracking the flags in Blackpool – even in darkest winter! But more so, you will know him for his honesty, fairness and decency in all of his dealings – the type of reputation we all aspire to.
I’m sure he will share his plans with us all in due course, as I know he still has so much more to give.
So, Will, my friend, enjoy your retirement from Blackpool and look out towards that new horizon.
I’m sure you will all want to join me in wishing Will well in all he is yet to do.
Please click here to read the announcement.