Highways England’s generosity with public monies was explained by Sophie Granville, Kier Highways former claims manager. Ms. Granville explained, 27/10/2015 when at our offices, in company with Neil Pendlebury-Green, with regard to Area 9:
“… well we shouldn’t really bad mouth other contractors, but unfortunately taking on Area 9 in particular has been a massive eye opener, because that came from Amey … and to be completely frank, Philip, I was even finding that there was untraced claims, and if they couldn’t trace it they didn’t even repair the damage.
You know, I’m having to go, ’cause there’s obviously, there is a TR430 for over 10k claims, well I’ve had to go to them cap in hand and said, ‘I can actually trace this damage, and the damage as it was, to 2012, I can get as far back as that with the lovely images you get and whatever else, you know, but it should have been repaired, and I do not feel that I can sleep safely and soundly knowing that that could cause somebody a severe injury, ’cause it could.’
And to be fair, Highways England have been very… They’ve actually been very, very forthcoming with it.
The other problem we had is we had a lot of crossover claims where Amey had billed insurers for damage they’ve not repaired and we were ending up having to repair it.
So I’ve seen, and I can see from the staff that we’ve had to retrain and re-culture that a lot of them were told that if you couldn’t do certain things turn a blind eye.
So again unfortunately, you haven’t had any of these incidences, I‘ve checked, but we had some scenarios where Area 9 had been taught if they can quite clearly see accident damage on this side of the road, for argument’s sake, and there were defects relating to a crash, and you can tell what defects are related to, on the other side of the road but you’ve got no culprit there, but you’ve got a culprit for this one, roll that into there.
But since we’ve took over Area 9 the amount of damage that I’ve found where they’ve literally not got… They’ve obviously not had a culprit so they’ve not done anything about it.”
27/02/2016, Ms Granville commented upon why Kier charged more in Area 9:
“Area 9’s is higher and none of us really understand why, to be honest with you, don’t really understand why, we have queried why it was higher. I have a sneaky suspicion that the reason it’s higher is because they knew what a shambles it was. And it is, you know, it was a shambles, it was an absolute sham, to be honest, and it’s cost us an absolute fortune to start rectifying it.”
It appears Kier Highways took over a problematic Area (9) and expected drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers to pay for their error, their lack of due diligence.