22/05/2020 INTERNAL REVIEW Highways England & Contractor Exchanges

Waiting for an internal review by Highways England Company Limited of their handling of this request.

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

with regard to your email of today, your ref. FOI 100994, I am seeking an internal review.

Further detail to follow

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

 

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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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6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Highways England Company Limited's handling of my FOI request '22/05/2020 INTERNAL REVIEW Highways England & Contractor Exchanges'.

Whilst I thank you for your email of today in respect of my 16/03/2020 request (below), you are clearly substantially out of time, in breach of the Act yet proffer no explanation for this.

The 16/03/2020 request is clearly not a vexatious act on my part but arises from the vexatious conduct of your Authority, behaviour reinforced by your reply of today.

I should not be forced to make FoIA request for claim-related information however, it appears Highways England:

• lack control over your contractors, are unable to elicit information from them
• do not make the approaches to contractors you state
• complaints system is ineffective
• intend to withhold information and obstruct

Referring me to your ‘business as usual’ process is pointless as you fail to address requests within the 15 working days assured. Complaints are treated dismissively and have no effect upon your conduct.
I am therefore left to engage FoIA.

This of 16/03/2020 mirrors my ‘12/12/2019 INTERNAL REVIEW Highways England & Kier Highways Exchanges’ submission which can be found here:

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

This saw your Authority fail to respond to requests for information during the claims handling process, in respect of 5 claims. Having exhausted the claims route, I turned to FoIA in respect of

1. HE112/003/SG148 My ref: X07B860
2. HE/112/006/SG337 My ref: X02A607
3. HE112/009/SG1119 My ref:X01A304 please also supply all information relating to the application of NSoRC rates and consideration of same in this matter
4. HE 112/010/SG504 My ref: W10D000
5. HE112/009/SG830 My Ref: W11D370

Writing ‘Despite requests/assurances, I have been unable to elicit information for Highways England in the course of usual business regarding the below matters. Indeed, in at least one instance I have been assured you were approaching the contractor for information whereas a recent enquiry suggests not. This is obviously concerning given that Highways England seemingly seeks interest on claim values.’

Your ref FOI100642, your response to the above … ‘vexatious’

‘In reference to the above, you are undoubtedly aware that the information requested will require a review of a vast amount of documentation. The information requested is going to contain a lot of commercially sensitive, legally privileged and personal information that will need to be located in and redacted from the documents under the relevant exemptions. Therefore, Highways England is treating this request as vexatious pursuant of Section 14(1) whereby it would impose a grossly oppressive burden on the Company to review and prepare the information for disclosure.

Therefore, please take this response as a refusal of your request under Section 14(1). Please note that Highways England reserves the right under Section 17(6) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to not issue further refusal notices for requests on this subject matter that are received following the issue of this response.’

I explained the absurd and unbelievable nature of your stance, writing in no uncertain terms:

It is preposterous to state the information requested will 'require a review of a vast amount of documentation' or that it will 'contain a lot of commercially sensitive, legally privileged and personal information'.

The information is the exchanges between your Green Claims Department and your contractor. These are exchanges I am told have occurred and in respect of which you are awaiting responses. However, with regard to one matter, I was advised by a handler the information had been sought, by another that it had not. More information can be found here
http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/who-is-...
I trust my clarification results in prompt disclosure of the information

You subsequently supplied the information as can be seen here:

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

Whilst not all information was provided, to an extent FOIA was successful, more so that dealing directly with your Green Claims department who I suspect are struggling with contractors.

Faced with the same situation in respect of:

A. W08C368 HE 112/010/SG501
B. Y04B119 HE112/010. BBMM DCP 60700 Parapet costs
M66 southbound, parker post 9/0 – 9/1 BBMM incident number 60700 – no HE references supplied.
C. X01A118 Your Ref: HE 112/008/SG269
D. U10D233 Your Ref HE112/010?SG307

I was forced again to turn to the FoIA. You have engaged the same exemption using much the same phraseology.

You have not sought a narrowing of the request but for the sake of clarity, I am seeking the exchanges between Kier and your Area team and kier and your Green Claims team. I doubt there are any others who have had a hand in the matter but should I be mistaken, please advise what other departments have been affected

With regard to ‘commercially sensitive’ information, these are all claims matters, they will result in the disclosures of DCP related costs/rates. The rates are not commercially sensitive as I believe Highway England understands.

When supplying the information, please provide all correspondence/information in its original, uncompressed / converted form:

Images should be originals
Costs in spreadsheet format with resource/reference schedules included

My thanks in anticipation

Please reply at: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

Yours faithfully,

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.

For more information on how we use your data please check our privacy
notice at: [3]https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy

 

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:
[4]https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

 

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

 

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
3. https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/privacy
4. https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

22/05/2020 from Highways England

Thank you for your e-mail on 16 March 2020. Please accept out apologies for the delay in providing this response.

Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 where you requested –

Despite requests/assurances, I have been unable to elicit information from Highways England or your legal representatives, in the course of usual business regarding the below matters.

* Please explain why not.

I am therefore left with no alternative but to seek all correspondence between Highway England and Kier highways by use of FoIA in respect of the following:

1. W08C368 HE 112/010/SG501
1. Y04B119 HE112/010. BBMM DCP 60700 Parapet costs
M66 south bound, parker post 9/0 – 9/1 BBMM incident number 60700 – no HE reference supplied.
1. X01A118 Your Ref: HE 112/008/SG269
1. U10D233 Your Ref HE112/010?SG307

please provide

1. any and all correspondence in respect of these matters to and from your contractor and or other parties associated with the claims

1. the sums paid to the contractor and date of said payment

1. the pre-payment reviews – a copy of the claim audit.

In reference to the above, you are undoubtedly aware that using the term ‘all correspondence’ is a catch-all and ensures that request covers a wide range of information. This means that there is vast amount of documentation that will need to be reviewed and that the information is likely to contain a lot of commercially sensitive, legally privileged and personal information that will need to be located in and redacted from the documents under the relevant exemptions. Therefore, Highways England is treating this request as vexatious pursuant of Section 14(1) whereby it would impose a grossly oppressive burden on the Company to review and prepare the information for disclosure.

Therefore, please take this response as a refusal of your request under Section 14(1). Please note that Highways England reserves the right under Section 17(6) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to not issue further refusal notices for requests on this subject matter that are received following the issue of this response.