What Pubic Authority would (or would be permitted to) enter into contract after contract since 2012 but fail to put into place a schedule of rates they are to be charged for damage repairs? But this is Highways England’s stance, they have nailed their colours to the mast; DCP Rates do not exist. If this lack of a schedule were not sufficiently unlikely (embarrassing or indicative of incompetence) there would have been knock-on issues, for example, the Authority:
- has apparently spent hours attending to FoI requests & reviews, considering a schedule that they now claim does not exist. Not a handful of approaches but 175! 118 from others.
- overlooked the absence of a schedule when auditing the various Areas year on year
- presented information to to the National Audit Office who presumably took no issue with what had been presented?
- had to rubber-stamped every claim invoice without any reconciliation – 1,000’s of them
The situation with regard to the Authority’s contracts is as follows:
Highways England have two main maintenance contract models in use:
- the original Asset Support Contract (ASC), which is in the process of being phased out and replaced with
- the Asset Delivery model (AD).
In the former contract model, a schedule of rates is included.
This should be used as the basis for the calculation of costs for claims above and below the £10,000 threshold. As we have long explained, these ‘base rates’, DCP Rates or ‘defied costs’ are to be common to all claims in ASC Areas. But they are not. Below threshold claims are presented to drivers, fleets, hauliers and insurers but they are compiled using a much higher set of rates. In Area 9, Kier Highways have not complied with the contract since day-one, 07/2014 as a cost of £millions to those unfortunate to receive one of their state-supported demands.
Individual claims may differ due to differences in each incident, and due to differences in the schedule of rates specified in contracts between areas. But this is logical:
- differences in incident will affect the time it takes to address the immediate issues arising and resources to complete the repair. They do not affects the base rate of an item, just how much of the item is required.
- different Areas will have different prices agreed with differing contractors
But a schedule of rates exists. This flies in the face of what Highway England have conveyed post-11/2018, ‘post-Carney’; when Patrick Carney told a Tribunal ‘the rates are not commercially sensitive’. 175 previous FoI request and reviews to withhold the rates, to keep them secret
The matter is with the ICO who appears to understand an obvious conflict and which is conveyed here – DCP Rates Exists; the Basic Law of Logic
The Area 9 time line provides the chronology of problem and after problem with the contractor and Highways England. We (and others) would not have been seeking the rates save that, by chance, we fell over the protection built into the contract; the ‘shield’ which Highway England kept secret and Kier Highways ‘coincidentally’ failed to comply with from the ‘off’. How simple should it be to price an Area 9 claim; ‘Base Rates’ (defined cost) + uplift(%) = MAXIMUM. But this ‘Appendix A‘ process returns less than 25.29% (stated uplift) profit … using your their own schedule enables serious profiteering.
- How have Highways England fail to identify the contract non-compliance … or did they?
- Is the contract, Appendix A good i.e. applicable? We asked Highways England’s CEO and Jim’s response was ‘yes, it’s the contract‘.
2017 – Highways England had th eissues brought to their attenion, in person. Project Verde & KPMG