Dear Mr Drysdale,

1. Please can you explain and provide supportive information in relation to your responses below of 02/08/2019 and 04/02/2020:

I refer you to ‘further clarification’ in respect of IR 100236 in which you stated ASC tendered contract rates ARE used to estimate if Third-Party claims work reaches the threshold (£10,000). Specifically, you wrote:

‘In Asset Support Contract (ASC) the tendered contract rates are contained in the Pricing Schedule and used to set Target Prices for schemes and estimate third party claims work to establish if they are above or below the threshold.’

http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/200204-...

This directly contradicts other responses I have received, such as your reference 770,722 (02/08/2019):

‘The schedules of rates specified in the ASCs ARE NOT used to work out the Defined Cost,
or for assessing the reasonable cost of repair in respect of third party claims, whether
above or below £10,000.’

http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/190802-...

Both statements cannot be correct.

2. Please clarify the distinction between ‘estimating’ costs by reference to a pricing schedule and ‘assessing' costs for the purposes of a defined cost calculation in accordance with a schedule of rates.

Additionally, 04/02/2020, you wrote:

‘There is no schedule of rates for third party claim costs in ASCs. Neither the third party nor Highways England are billed on the basis of the tendered schedule of rates.’

If this is correct, please provide all information explaining

3. upon what basis are HE billed and

4. how a claim can be initially estimated as falling within HE threshold, if the pricing schedule you have identified is not used?

Further, whilst HE has responded to a FoIA request that ‘DCP Rates’ and ‘ASC Rates’ are not the same, in Area 10, I am informed that the schedule of rates used to bill HE comprises the scheme rates under the Area 10 ASC contract – at least for Traffic Management and barrier repairs.

5. Please confirm whether this is the case, or if I have been misinformed by Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald (BBMM).

Another anomaly is that whilst Highways England tell me the Area 10 rates used by BBMM to bill you (over £10,000) were/are not subsidised, BBMM says they offer you preferential rates for repairs that fall at their risk, in recognition of the amount they receive under the contract as a whole.

6. Please confirm, definitively whether:
a. the rates charged by BBMM to HE for above threshold claims are subsidized or discounted in any way and
b. the discount is applied to any prices tendered by BBMM and applied during the term of the ASC contract.

If there is a reduction of any description, for example, ‘discount’, ‘subsidy’, rebate etc. Please:

7. identify exactly how it is calculated and applied, or if it has been varied by agreement and

8. explain why it is applied.

Yours faithfully,

Mr P Swift

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

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6. mailto:[Highways England request email]

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

Dear Mr Swift

 

Thank you for your request for information about ASC Rates ARE & ARE NOT
to Cost Third Party Claims. Which is it? dated 5 June 2020. We are dealing
with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act
2000/Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

The due date for issuing a response is 3 July 2020.

 

If you have any queries about this e-mail, please contact us. Please
remember to quote reference number 101159 in any future communications.

 

Kind regards

Highways England FOI Team 
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3. 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 'ASC Rates ARE & ARE NOT to Cost Third Party Claims. Which is it?'.

You have failed to address my request within 20 working days or provide an update.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Mr P Swift

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

04/03/2020 to ICO

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
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Kind regards

 

Highways England Customer Contact Centre

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
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[6][Highways England request email]

 

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FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Swift,

 

Please find attached the internal review ref. IR 101159 of your freedom of
information request ref. FOI 101159.

 

Kind Regards

 

Jonathan Drysdale

Freedom of Information Officer (HE)

Information & Technology

Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD

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|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
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[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[3][Highways England request email]

 

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Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

I understand from your email you are requesting an internal review into the handling of your Freedom of Information request reference (FOI 101159), submitted on 5 June 2020, was handled.

You requested an internal review based on no response to your request being received. I can confirm that no response was issued nor will any response to your request be issued going forward. The reasoning for this is that your request was received following a previous response from Highways England explaining that future requests, made by yourself, on the subject of rates would be viewed as vexatious under Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and that under Section 17(6) of the Act Highways England reserved the right not issue a response.

As such I find that, Highways England rights under Section 17(6) of the Freedom of Information Act has been engaged here and no further response will be issued.

Dear Mr Drysdale

This is request is designed to clarify contradictory responses you have provided. Taking refuge behind an exemption when you are the cause of the issue raised is highly odd.

It is your conduct that is clearly vexatious - as evidenced by a Tribunal http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/release....

please provide a copy of the 'previous response from Highways England explaining that future requests, made by yourself, on the subject of rates would be viewed as vexatious under Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and that under Section 17(6) of the Act Highways England reserved the right not issue a response.'

I am aware of this being raised some while ago but since that date, requests have been entertained. It appears you are applying the exemption selectively, as and when suits you i.e. in the absence of a reasonable explanation.

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift