We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Mr P Swift please sign in and let everyone know.

Kier Schedules of DCP Rates Held &/or Deleted

We're waiting for Mr P Swift to read a recent response and update the status.

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

I refer to my request at DCP rates & Their Description https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d... in respect of which I await the outcome of the IR in respect of the14/08/2020 response.

The following results form the response and mindful your Authority has a habit of considering such clarification or explanation a new request, I have commenced this new submission / thread as to not confuse. With regard to ‘DCP rates & Their Description’, you state

‘In compliance with a Court order for disclosure, the information released by Kier and their representatives in relation to these cases is the Pricing Schedules to the Area 3 contract in an unredacted form.’

You explain this is the 'confidential' information, also referred to as 'ASC Rates'. I am not seeking and have never sought this schedule of rates. The following should be addressed by my IR request:

Your General Counsel has more recently acknowledged that, contrary to previous statements the ASC schedule is the only schedule of costs, there exists at least one other schedule of rates, a price list that has thus far been withheld and is claimed to be unavailable. This schedule of DCP rates features in claims before the S Wales Court yet, by reference to your response, was not disclosed to the Court and/or legal representatives for the defendant.

Your General Counsel acknowledged that the reference I presented was, in fact, a schedule of rates, within 2 days of my disclosure - http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/200430-... .
I then presented further similar examples of schedules of rates utilised by Kier These further references were from the same source as the first and therefore also likely to be accurate.

Your General Counsel wrote 08/07/2020 ' We are looking into the existence or otherwise of the document Area 9 DCP 35010.' I did not receive an update as promptly (within 2 days) and despite this assurance enquiries were in hand and an FOIA request for information relating to said references, I have yet to receive further comment or information about same.

Please:

A. list all schedules of rates relating to DCP works held by Highways England or Kier Highways Ltd since 01/07/2014 and
Ai. which are still held
Aii. which were disposed of and on what date
Aiii. why they were disposed of and why copies cannot be recovered.
B. explain why these were not disclosed to the S. Wales Court
C. provide the exchanges between HE and Kier to locate the various schedules and
D. provide the explanation supplied for the disposal of all or any when:

1. you are aware of the interest in rates and have been since 2013
2. matters involving said schedules were and are before the Court
3. there is a need to retain such information, if only for accounting purposes
4. the schedules were being used in or after 2019 i.e. recently (you have failed to state when the acknowledged schedule was said to have been deleted)
5. the schedules are electronic i.e. it is reasonable for them to be retained or be recoverable
6. in accordance with a Tribunal Ruling, these rates were to be disclosed - 13/12/2018 – APPEAL: EA/2018/0088 04/10/2019

E. if and schedules have been disposed, please describe all attempts to recover a copy

With regard to the 04/10/2019 finding, dismissing your appeal (EA/2018/0088), I again ask to be provided the rates that were to be released i.e. that you comply with the Tribunal finding.

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.

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]

Bingham, Alex, Highways England Company Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Swift,

 

Please find attached our reply to your request made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 referenced FOI 101380.

 

 

 

Alex Bingham

Lawyer | Operations and Legislation Team | General Counsel’s Office

 

Highways England | Bridge House | 1 Walnut Tree Close | Guildford | Surrey
| GU1 4LZ

 

[1]cid:image002.jpg@01D52B6C.EE7205D0

 

Bridge House is currently closed.  Please send all correspondence
electronically to my email address.

 

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 |
[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[3][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
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

28th September 2020

From Highways England

We are writing regarding your request for information dated 28th August 2020.

Highways England has considered your request under the terms of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 and we have concluded that the request is vexatious pursuant to Section 14(1).

Your request concerns the provision of schedules of rates held for damage repair work (which
you refer to in your request as DCP works) since 1st July 2014. We have repeatedly addressed
these issues previously. You will also be aware that an Information Rights Tribunal decision dated
12th December 2019 found that no such schedule of rates was held.

In addition to this, your previous request dated 27th April (FOI 101068) concerned information
disclosed to Cardiff County Court and the reasons for this. We have provided you with a full
response to this. As such, we consider your request to be unreasonably persistent under Section
14(1). Please take this response as a refusal of your request.

The decision to refuse this request under Section 14(1) has been made in consideration of your
past and frequent ongoing dealings with other areas of Highways England about the alleged
wrongdoing by Highways England and Kier in relation to third party claims, which have either
been considered and addressed by Highways England or by an independent authority such as
the ICA or Ombudsman. Therefore, Highways England will be treating any further requests made
by yourself on the subject of schedules or rates and the third-party claims process, made by
yourself, as vexatious under Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act.

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, and
those noted above, that are received following the issue of this response.

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you may ask for an internal review.
Our internal review process is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

If you require a print copy, please phone the Information Line on 0300 123 5000; or e-mail
xxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xx.xx. You should contact our team if you wish to complain.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal 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

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact our team. Please remember to quote
reference number FOI 101380 in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Alex Bingham
Lawyer
General Counsel’s Directorate

Dear Mr Bingham,

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

My request concerns the provision of schedules of rates held for damage repair work (which
you refer to in your request as DCP works) since 1st July 2014.

You have not repeatedly addressed these issues. The Information Rights Tribunal decision dated 12th December 2019 found that no such schedule of rates was held but, as I have raised, this is because the original CBD (cost breakdown document) appears to have been tampered with. Specifically, the CBD usually provided to Third Parties in pdf format, is actually an Excel spreadsheet, a file that is populated by other linked/reference workbooks. But the CBD presented for the claim about which the 12/11/2019 Tribunal hearing was centred, had no such references, it appears they had been removed. I am assuming this was by the Kier ‘author’ or the HE employee who ‘last saved’ the document.

The first schedule of linked DCP rates I raised with your General counsel was:

Area_3_equipment_Defined_Cost_latest_15.xls (‘Area 3’)

Your General Counsel has confirmed this file is a schedule of rates. Odd, according to your Authority there is only one set of rates for an ASC (contract)

Your General Counsel promptly replied (in 3 days, without the use of FoIA or the suggestion of vexatious) that it did exist but had been deleted(?).

You will therefore appreciate that I am concerned Highways England has stated there has only ever been one schedule of rates in an ASC (contract) and no other. It is difficult to conclude I was not provided false information. Furthermore, your contractor was also aware of my request and therefore I am concerned to understand when and why they deleted such information. Possibly you can shed some light on the conduct encountered. It appears your latest response is a form of ''taking the fifth'.

In responses between 2013 and 2018 (as evidenced by HE’s statement http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/sian-jo...) the schedules were held but said to be sensitive. The statement maker is clear – I was after DCP rates, this was understood by HE It appears the schedules referred to were those I have more recently uncovered 'Area 3' and 'Area 9'.

The ‘Area 3’ schedule was never provided in response to a FoIA. It has been used in claims that have proceeded to Court as recently as 2020 yet is said to have been ‘deleted’, is old. It has not been explained when it was deleted, why, how (I suspect it could be identified, reinstated) and when it was last used.

I also learned of another schedule of rates:

‘Area 9 DCP 35010 costs.xlsx’ (Area 9)

Your General Counsel possesses a similar request for information about this from me, comparable to that about ‘Area 3’. He assured me this was being looked into. However, whilst not expecting another 3-day turnaround, without a response it appeared necessary to engage FoIA. Now, your Authority has completed a U-turn with regard to that matter; you will not address the FoIA request but cite the same excuse.

My request of 27/04/2020 27th April (FOI 101068) concerned information disclosed to Cardiff County Court (D98YM582 I believe to be a reference) and the reasons for this. You have provided a response to this; you have stated (and I precis) that there is only one schedule of rates (ASC for planned works) and this has been supplied to the Court. But clearly, there were other sets of rates, I have identified and disclosed two thus far. The two schedules were being utilised in 2018 and many of the Cardiff matters pre-date this. Yet despite numerous requests for the information (between 2013 and 2018) and the Court seeking rate information, you have not supplied the two schedules I have referred to.

Additionally, you have said that the Cardiff matters were priced using Appendix A to Annex 23. But they were not:
1. Firstly, Appendix A requires you to have a common schedule of rates for HE and TP’s – this was not utilised in any of the claims in which we have an involvement (20), being considered by Cardiff County Court.
Secondly, I have been informed by a party privy to the proceedings that ‘Kier have not said in proceedings they have issued claims in accordance with Section A. It is clear they have not.’

My request is therefore far from persistent. It is a natural progression of responses and information obtained ‘like pulling teeth’ from HE, to understand the contradictions of your making.

The alleged wrongdoing by Highways England and Kier in relation to third party claims has not been addressed by Highways England; you enabled the conduct to continue. The fraud was ignored and continued. For more information, please see:

http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/200402-...
http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/example...

You have assisted your contractors and /or your authority to profit from claims at the expense of those you serve.

http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/highway...

Neither the ICA nor the Ombudsman has considered the issues relating to fraud and the schedules of rates to which I am referring above. If you believe to the contrary, please evidence this.

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

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.

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]

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Swift,

 

Please find attached the internal review ref. IR 101380 of your freedom of
information request ref. FOI 101380.

 

Kind Regards

 

Jonathan Drysdale

Freedom of Information Officer (HE)

Information & Technology

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

Web: [1]http://highwaysengland.co.uk

 

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 |
[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[3][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. http://highwaysengland.co.uk/
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. mailto:[Highways England request email]

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Mr P Swift please sign in and let everyone know.