Headlines: January 5th, 2005

The woman charged with the job of improving the quality of information provided to drivers to help them beat traffic congestion will join the Highways Agency this month. Denise Plumpton who is to become the Agency’s first Director of Information, has extensive experience in developing information technology strategies in the public and private sectors.The appointment is part of the Highways Agency’s changing and broadening remit, which means that as well as building and maintaining trunk roads, it also manages traffic to keep drivers moving on the network. The new role has been developed to make maximum use of the existing strategic network as well as delivering direct services such as incident management and better route information.

Denise Plumpton’s task is to develop the role and formulate an information strategy and then, with her directorate, to roll it out with the support of the Agency. The strategy will act as a framework for the traffic operations directorate to deliver user-friendly information for motorists. As director of information she will manage around 150 staff and a direct budget of 25 million pounds as well as having a say in the spending of a further hundred million. The existing business information services and IT development teams within the Agency will form the core of the new directorate.

She is joining the Highways Agency from mobile phone company Sendo, where she has been IT Director since early last year. She formerly worked for the distribution business, TNT, as group IT Director for the UK and Ireland. She chairs the Corporate IT Forum which has over 140 member companies. She has also worked for the Rover Group, ISTEL, and Powergen where she was responsible for IT and was the company’s first female director.

The appointment was announced by Archie Robertson, the Highways Agency’s Chief Executive who said it was an important step forward in tackling congestion on England’s strategic roads. Technological developments, he said, were opening up new possibilities for delivering information as a central objective for the Agency.