10/05/2019 to Highways England

Dear Mr Drysdale

Thank you for your response. To address the non-question:

The date of incident / attendance would involve one set of calculations

To present this as a question, or request:

Please explain the calculation that is undertaken which results in the defined cost, or DCP Rates, charged to Highways England and Third parties; set it out for me so I can understand how the figure is arrived at, how ‘providers’ establish on any given date / time the rate to apply.

I am at a loss to understand how a contractor recalculates their figures daily, weekly … whenever such that these are not fixed, in a schedule either agreed by you, held by you or held for you by the contractor – they are after all using he rates to invoice you too.

Recent responses only confirm ‘defined cost is in effect the actual costs of an individual repair.’ This is unhelpful save that it confirms the DCP rates / defined costs are pre-profit figures, the cost before revenue. I am also not satisfied that it is entirely correct as Defined Costs’ deal with specific aspects of a repair, the TPCO addresses items such as ‘planning’ which are also a costs associated with repair, distinct from profit. I doubt anyone is suggesting Kier Highways are demanding 26% profit.

Other statements made are unnecessary, irrelevant. Reference to ASC Rates for example should cease. 175 FoI requests and reviews for ‘rates’ related to damage are clearly not requests for ASC Rates i.e. pre-planned charges.

I understand each case is treated on its own merits. This is obvious.

The costs will be in relation to emergency reactive response by contractors and their sub-contractors, for unplanned, unpredictable incidents that may occur at any time, in any location on the network and with varying impact. This is correct and applies to above and below threshold, it has not effect on the hourly rate, simply the number of hours they are engaged.

Similarly, conveying ‘The work and cost involved in an emergency response is determined by the nature scale and urgency of the incident and repair’ is an unnecessary distraction; this again applies to above and below threshold works and has no bearing upon the rates, it affects the total of these.

It is also claimed ‘this work is thereby far less efficient than planned repair work in the contract and hence more costly’. Again, I am not taking issue with this, what I wish to know is ‘how much more costly?’; give me the figures. The impression received is that these response are provide to add quantity not quality to responses, that they are ill-conceived (as they are not relevant) and intended to dissuade and distract.

Every incident is different requiring different resources which are engaged for differing periods. But the issue is ‘rates’ and these are unaffected by the magnitude or difficulty of the incident, it is the total that is affected.

The only relevant comment is ‘a’ ‘Defined cost is in effect the actual costs of an individual repair’. The ‘in effect’ appears less than certain, it either is or it is not. But how are the actual costs arrived at, who holds these, how are they calculated?

Charges are presented for DCP to a Third Party by use of a CBD (cost breakdown document) that displays rates and hours. There is no breakdown of:

Defined costs / DCP Rates
TPCO (uplift percentage)

Charges are presented for DCP to a Highways England on occasions by use of a CBD (cost breakdown document) that displays rates, ‘fee’ (percentage uplift) and hours.

The DCP Rate for an item, or ‘defined cost’ is the base rate i.e. pre-profit. It is to be the same to Highways England and a Third Party. The difference in final charge to a TP or HE results from the difference in uplift; to HE, about 7.5%, to a TP about 26% (max.). The difference should, therefore, be approx. 19.5%.

I have asked for the

The rates you are charged for above threshold DCP works, the schedule of rates used for above and below works

I have written in respect of specific incident, in an Area on a specific date / time. I am seeking the charges presented to you on the dates. I believed my reference to ‘above threshold’ rates conveyed this.

Please supply these. For your ease of reference, they are, as per my original request: 20/11/201621/12/2016

I am not asking you to comment upon any allegation, I am seeking information. I have asked your General Counsel twice which exemption(s) are being applied to my request as, to date, I have received a blanket refusal to address requests due to an ongoing enquiry. I anticipate the relevant exemption being conveyed

Please cite the exemption upon which HE is relying

I asked:

Unless there was a schedule of rates to review and consider, what was he commentating upon and how could he reach such a conclusion? It appears I will require all information to which Mr. Reardon was referring, what he reviewed.

Where is the information Mr Reardon reviewed

I asked that the review consider how the process (whatever this is) applies to charging on a case by case basis, without a pricing schedule The reply is ‘An assessment is made based on each individual claim’ . This is unhelpful:

How is an assessment made?

I asked ‘To what was the contractor objecting unless a schedule exists’. He responded:

The contract contains a Pricing Schedule which the contractors and Highways England consider is exempt from disclosure under section 43 of the FOIA as it contains commercially sensitive information.
The Pricing Schedule contains information that contractors use to prepare their tender submissions. The rates in the Pricing Schedule are then used throughout the duration of the contract but not in relation to third party claims.

The DCP Rate schedule is not ‘commercially sensitive’. Requests have been presented clearly, unequivocally, in respect of DCP Rates. You and your contractor have deemed these DCP Rates to be commercially sensitive ergo they exist. It is these I am seeking. As above, I do not want, nor have I ever sought, ASC rates for pre-planned works – as HE is aware from the statement they made, supported by exhibits, identifying 57 requests/reviews.

Yours sincerely,

P. Swift

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000. 

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk....
If the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority.  You can find details of local
authorities using the search facility on the gov.uk website
at: [2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

If your email does relate to an issue on Highways England's network it
will be passed to the relevant team within Highways England and they will
respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
respond to you within a maximum of 20 working days. Your request will be
dealt with in line with government guidelines:
[3]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

Please be advised that emails may be monitored for training and quality
assurance purposes.

 

To help us improve our service please click [4]here to complete a short
survey.

 

Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre.

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

 

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ 

 

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
3. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
4. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HECCC
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

11/06/2019 to Highway England

Dear Mr Drysdale,

I refer to my email of 10/05/2019 in respect of which I cannot trace a response. Please can you advise the present position with regard to this.

I sought information about a specific claim we / I handled. It is sub-£10,000, Area 9 i.e. Kier[1]. The reasons will become evident (see ‘1’ below)

My interests are:

The gross exaggeration of claims between 07/2014 and 10/2015 by use of the contract non-complaint 1153 process which HE failed to note and prevent.

The subsequent exaggeration, to this date, in another guise that HE failed to note and address, a process that claims to follow the contractual ‘defined costs + TP uplift’ methodology but does not

Commonplace inclusion of costs not incurred

Duplication of charges on virtually every claim – assuming there is an Appendix A process being followed

The misrepresentation of facts by Highway England

Misrepresentation by your witnesses to Third Parties and the Courts

I have been reporting issues to HE since 2015 (reports, letters, claims, audit, meeting, KPMG) and only recently Highways England:

Noted the absence of DCP Rates

Advised Kier has stopped issuing invoices in Area 9 in 2019 – I question who (department if not individual) ‘ordered’ this and why.

Stated a new set of rates would be issued 04/2019 – as yet to be seen (and why are they required?)

I understand there is a pain / gain threshold associated with claim costs, invoicing and recoveries.

It was to this end that I made the FoIA for information pertaining to this claim, my reference U05B457. The claim interested me because:

It is Area 9 There are ‘multipliers charged
’I possess the cost breakdown document (CBD)I know the costs presented and the sum paid
The matter proceeded to your / Kier’s lawyers, Corclaim

I make the following observations based upon your response and the information I possess:

Kier are Misrepresenting Figures to Highways England

Defined cost (£4,369.62)
TPC Overhead (£1150)*
Total (£5,474.70)
Amount invoiced (£5,474.70)
Amount recovered (£4,454.79)
Comment

The figure at ‘A’ is false and therefore, at ‘B’ wrong. ‘A’ being too high, ‘B’ is similarly exaggerated.

It appears this misrepresentation is to prevent Kier having their monthly lump-sum payment reduced. However, there may be other reasons to convey a loss, rather the demonstrate a profit.

As Kier are to account to you at least annually, it appears 1,000’s of false figures are likely presented.

Defined Costs
Kier are not using these when billing Third Parties. They claim to be but are not. I informed HE of this and provided evidence of same at the 21/06/2017 meeting
Kier are Misrepresenting Information to Courts

Claims being progressed in the name of Highway England are being supported by false statements.

With regard to the claim costs & recoveries, please can you explain the relationship between ‘defined costs’ and recoveries, provide all information about the association.

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000. 

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk....
If the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority.  You can find details of local
authorities using the search facility on the gov.uk website
at: [2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

If your email does relate to an issue on Highways England's network it
will be passed to the relevant team within Highways England and they will
respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
respond to you within a maximum of 20 working days. Your request will be
dealt with in line with government guidelines:
[3]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

Please be advised that emails may be monitored for training and quality
assurance purposes.

 

To help us improve our service please click [4]here to complete a short
survey.

 

Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre.

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

 

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ 

 

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
3. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
4. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HECCC
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

12/06/2019 From: FOI Advice

Dear Mr Swift,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Your e-mail on 10 May 2019 was raised as a new request and allocated to the appropriate team to respond. The response was due on the 10 June 2019, which I gather from your e-mail below has not been met. Please accept my apologies for this and I will chase up with the team about providing a response as soon as possiblle.

1. Please advise your reference.

With regard to your e-mail below (11 June 2019) there appear to be new questions, aside from those in 10 May e-mail, which I have highlighted.

2.
Your highlights have not transmitted
Please can you clarify if you wish these, highlighted questions, to be raised as a new request. Also please confirm if I have missed anything from your 11 June e-mail which you believe is a question that requires a response. This is because I would like to ensure that any new request is clear as to what points require an answer and reduce the chance of an Internal Review based around potential missing answers where it has been unclear as to whether they are questions or statements, the latter of which may provide insight into why you have made the request but do not require responding to unless they are caveated with a question of is the statement correct etc.

Therefore, as mentioned please confirm if there are any other questions within your 11 June e-mail which I may have missed.

Again, please accept my apologies regarding the missed 10 June response due date for your 10 May e-mail, I will chase as a matter of urgency.

Yours Sincerely

Jonathan Drysdale
Freedom of Information Officer (HE)
Information & Technology
Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

From: FOI Advice
10 May reference is 770,541.

The highlighted points were as follows

Advised Kier has stopped issuing invoices in Area 9 in 2019 – I question who (department if not individual) ‘ordered’ this and why.Stated a new set of rates would be issued 04/2019 – as yet to be seen (and why are they required?) – the bracketed section at the end

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

With regard to the claim costs & recoveries, please can you explain the relationship between ‘defined costs’ and recoveries, provide all information about the association.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/1...

Dear Mr Drysdale,

I refer to our conversation of yesterday and that I have yet to receive the information following my 10/05/2019 request. I refer you to your replies of:

• 12/06/2019 - 'Again, please accept my apologies regarding the missed 10 June response due date for your 10 May e-mail, I will chase as a matter of urgency.' and:

• 25/07/ 2019 - 'Please accept my apologies for this. I will chase this up with the team in order to obtain a response as soon as possible.'

Whilst I thank you for your further apology yesterday and assurance you would chase the matter up with the relevant team (Green Claims), I would appreciate being advised when this will occur, by when I can expect to receive the information.

You appear to believe that an ongoing Tribunal matter means no request need be addressed. I again ask you to explain the exemption upon which you are relying to withhold information - conduct that now appears to be intentional.

Please consider this a request for an internal review.

Yours sincerely

P. Swift

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000. 

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk....
If the road you’re interested in isn’t on this map it will fall under the
jurisdiction of the local authority.  You can find details of local
authorities using the search facility on the gov.uk website
at: [2]https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

 

If your email does relate to an issue on Highways England's network it
will be passed to the relevant team within Highways England and they will
respond to you within a maximum of 15 working days.

 

If you’ve made a request under the Freedom of Information Act we will
respond to you within a maximum of 20 working days. Your request will be
dealt with in line with government guidelines:
[3]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

Please be advised that emails may be monitored for training and quality
assurance purposes.

 

To help us improve our service please click [4]here to complete a short
survey.

 

Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre.

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
disclosure, reliance upon or other use of the contents of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

 

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[6][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ 

 

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...
2. https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
3. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
4. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HECCC
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Swift,

Please find attached Highways England's response to your Freedom of Information request and please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in providing this response.

Yours Sincerely

Highways England FOI Team 
Web: http://highwaysengland.co.uk

show quoted sections

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Swift,

Please find attached internal review reference IR 100081 of your Freedom of Information request 770,541.

Yours Sincerely

Jonathan Drysdale
Freedom of Information Officer (HE)
Information & Technology
Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD
Web: http://highwaysengland.co.uk

show quoted sections

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

20 September 2019
Dear Mr Swift
Our ref: IR 100081
Internal Review

Thank you for your email dated 11 June 2019.

I understand from your email you are requesting an internal review into the handling of your Freedom of Information request reference (ref 770,541) was handled.

I note you initially submitted this request on 10 May 2019 as such the response was due by 10 June 2019.

I note the final response to this request was provided to you on 20 September 2019. This is outside of the statutory 20 working day deadline for which I apologise, and I acknowledge that this is in breach of Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this review you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Drysdale
Freedom of Information Officer

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

From: Philip Swift
Sent: 08 October 2019 17:45
To: 'FOI Advice (FOIAdvice@highwaysengland.co.uk)' <FOIAdvice@highwaysengland.co.uk>; Jonathan Drysdale @ highwaysengland.co.uk
Subject: RE: FoI 770541 - Internal review request

Dear Sir

I refer to my email of 30/09/2019. Please confirm that your response of 20/09/2019, your ref: 770,541,is the subject of an internal review and that I will receive the outcome of this on or before 29/10/2019.

Yours faithfully,

P. Swift

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

From: FOI Advice <FOIAdvice@highwaysengland.co.uk>
Sent: 11 October 2019 15:48
Subject: RE: FoI 770541 - Internal review request

Dear Mr Swift,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Yes I can confirm that your e-mail dated 20 September 2019 was logged as a request for internal review for 770,541, which will be provided to you in due course.

Kind Regards

Jonathan Drysdale
Freedom of Information Officer (HE)
Information & Technology
Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD
Web: http://highwaysengland.co.uk

Dear FOI Advice,

Please advise by when I can received the internal review for 770,541

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift

Dear FOI Advice,

when I can I expect to receive the internal review for 770,541?

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Swift,

Please find attached the internal review ref. 100081 of your Freedom of Information request 770,541. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding on this.

Kind Regards

Jonathan Drysdale
Freedom of Information Officer (HE)
Information & Technology
Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD
Web: http://highwaysengland.co.uk

show quoted sections

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

On the 20 September 2019 Highways England responded under ref. 770,541. I have not repeated the response here but have included as attachment alongside this review.

Also on the 20 September 2019 following a request for an internal review on 11 June 2019 because no response had been received, I provided a response accepting that response ref. 770,541 had been provided outside of the statutory 20-working day deadline and apologising for this. Therefore, having already covered this issue I will not be addressing it again in this review.

On the 30 September 2019 you e-mailed Highways England asking for an internal review of the response provided on 20 September 2019.

I have now taken the opportunity to review the request and the response provided, and to discuss this with team who provided the response. Following my review of the response and my discussions with the team, I am satisfied that the original response to 770,541 addressed the questions in your request correctly and that there is nothing further to add to those responses.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this review you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Drysdale
Freedom of Information Officer