190821 FoI 100001a - Kier Stop Issuing Area 9 Invoices

The request was partially successful.

Sent: 11 June 2019 16:59
To: FOI Advice <FOIAdvice @ highwaysengland.co.uk>

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:

a) 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.
b) 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
c) Commonplace inclusion of costs not incurred
d) Duplication of charges on virtually every claim – assuming there is an Appendix A process being followed
e) The misrepresentation of facts by Highway England
f) 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:

1. Kier are Misrepresenting Figures to Highways England

A. Defined cost (£4,369.62)
B. TPC Overhead (£1150)*
C. Total (£5,474.70)
D. Amount invoiced (£5,474.70)
E. Amount recovered (£4,454.79)
F. 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.

2. 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
3. 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,

P. Swift

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

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6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

21/08/2019
To: FOI Advice <FOIAdvice @ highwaysengland.co.uk>

Dear Mr Drysdale,

with regard to this 12/06/2019 matter

It appears you have treated my response as 2 new requests:

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

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

Please advise the present position and reference for each.
Yours sincerely,
P. Swift

From: FOI Advice <FOIAdvice @ highwaysengland.co.uk>
Sent: 21 August 2019 15:49

Dear Mr Swift,
Both points were logged as 1 request and given the reference FOI 100001. The request is still currently sat with the appropriate team for response.
I am aware that the response is over due and I apologise for this, I have raised it with the team and they are working on a response.
Yours Sincerely
Jonathan Drysdale

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.

 

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

 

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6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Dear Mr Drysdale,

This matter was overdue a response by mid-July 2019. It appears to have been ignored.

Your response of 21/08/2019 relates to two aspects:

1. A request I made that was overdue a response 21/08/2019 and in respect of which I have still to receive the response and

2. Two questions I raised and which it appeared would only be addressed if presented as new FoIA requests.

With regard to ‘2’, you have assigned reference FoI 100001 to both. I have separated them, this being 190821 FoI 100001a - Kier Stop Issuing Area 9 Invoices

This conduct, an unwillingness to addresses claim related matters despite aware I consider these matters on a daily basis appears intended to frustrate and obstruct; to force requests and thereby present me as vexatious. In reality, Highways England are selective in their responses and engagement, failing to address some matters but discussing others, for example, an hour long conversation 04/07/2019 about your ‘Introduction of a national schedule of repair costs for network damage (Green Claims)’.

However, when discussing the ‘Introduction of a national schedule of repair costs for network damage (Green Claims)’, I was assured, on more than one occasion, information would be supplied about the source of the stated rates. There was no suggestion I would need to engage FoIA. However, the data has not been supplied and despite my detailed writing on the subject to assist the smooth introduction of the scheme, I remain without the information.

I am forced to make an FoIA request and this can be found here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

This matter has been ignored from the off, it appears there is no intention to respond. The matter is the subject of an Internal review and I anticipate receiving this on or before 20/09/2019.

Yours faithfully,

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 

 

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References

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4. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HECCC
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6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

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

Dear FOI Advice,
Thank you for your response.
With regard to
'claim costs & recoveries, please can you explain the relationship between ‘defined costs’ and recoveries, provide all information about the association'

I acknowledge this overlaps with another however, given the delays associated with your replies, I trust you will understand why this can occur.

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift

Dear FOI Advice,
Dealing with:

Kier has stopped issuing invoices in Area 9 in 2019
'I question who (department if not individual) ‘ordered’ this and why.'
Your answer only addresses 'who' fully. The 'why' reply is a repeat of previous responses and possibly I should have been clearer:

You manage a number of Areas and some of these are ASC (contracts) to which Appendix A to Annex 23 applies, as in Area 9. What I do not understand and the information I am seeking, is why Area 9. No other Area has been singled out for such attention despite, for example, Area 6&8 being subject to a similar contract, Appendix A to Annex 23.

It is apparent I may have to return to you for the exchanges and agreements as my request is prompted by Kier's non-compliance with this arrangement, your response:

'I can confirm that is was Tim Reardon from Highways England General Counsel team who told Kier that they should put a moratorium on pursuing new claims pending the publication of the National Schedule'.

Whilst I note your General Counsel requested Kier to put a freeze on the issuance of invoices, this did not occur. Invoices have been issued. Furthermore, Kier has been issuing demands using the 10/2015, contract non-compliant process. Indeed, it appears the freeze instigated has caused increased demands to be made of Third Parties; through no fault of their own but as a direct result of your instruction, Third Parties (drivers, fleets, hauliers and insurers) now find themselves subject to 'interest' being charged for the months of 2019 said invoices were on hold at your direction.

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift
www.englandhighways.co.uk