Green Claims Procedures manual

Yet another contradiction … 

07/10/2015 Highways England ref: 727830

Thank you for your email of 16 September 2015 requesting information regarding a Green Claims Procedures Manual. The manual you refer to has not been in use for some time but I’m afraid I don’t have an exact date when its use was discontinued. It was replaced by an internal Green Claims handbook. However, I regret to inform you of my decision not to release a copy of the handbook to you.

However, I regret to inform you of my decision not to release a copy of the handbook to you.

The information you requested is being withheld in reliance on the exemptions in Section 43: Commercial interests of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 because release of the document would, we feel, prejudice our position when negotiating with insurers and loss adjusters.

In applying this exemption we have had to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosure. The key public interest factors for and against disclosure are attached.

Tim Reardon @ hiqhwaysenqland.co.uk

(the full exchange can be found here)

PIT:

The document is primarily a training guide for new Green Claims case officers and is not intended to be used as a prescriptive procedures manual. Release of the document would undermine the Green Claims ability to negotiate with insurers/loss adjusters.

Release of the document could prejudice our position if we were to be held to account by insurers/loss adjuster if they felt we had veered away from the ‘guidance’. Leading to difficult and protracted negotiations.

To reveal the details of the document would seriously undermine our ability to negotiate the best value for money for the public purse on claims. We always aim to recover appropriate amounts and there is never any intention to maximise recovery by over inflating amounts that we seek to recover. Sections of the document contain advice from the Government Legal Department and are therefore held under client/lawyer privilege.


From:  Tim Reardon @ highwaysengland.co.uk 
Sent: 10 February 2016 17:14

‘With regard to the Green Claims Handling Manual, this is an internal Highways England document, and while a previous version may have been provided to you, this latest version contains legally privileged and commercially sensitive information.  Accordingly, we would not wish to release, nor would we expect to have to release, such information.’


23/02/2020 Highways England ref: IR 100593

Internal Review

Further to your email dated 24 February 2020 regarding an internal review of our response to
your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, it has been passed to me to conduct an
internal review of the way in which your request (FOI 100593) was handled.
In your e-mail on 3 December 2019 you made the following request –

Please provide me with a copy of the process document(s) which Highways
England use to manage claims against Third Party drivers, legal representatives
and Insurers.

On the 8 February 2020 Highways England received notification that a complaint had been made
to the ICO as a response to your request had not been received (FS50908734). On the 13
February 2020 Highways England issued a response under 100593 stating that the information
you had requested was not held by Highways England. I acknowledge that this is outside of the
statutory 20 working day deadline for which I apologise and that this is in breach of Section 10 of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

On the 25 February you contacted Highways England requesting an internal review stating –
I am seeking an Internal Review. I am seeking the Green Claims Procedures Manual, or
similarly named document, the internal green claims handbook or similar used by your
claims handlers when considering Damage to Crown property claims.

I have now had the opportunity to review the request and the response provided, and discuss the
response with the team who provided it. The team indicated that a Green Claims Procedures
Manual had been provided to Claims Management & Adjusting Ltd in the past, however this
manual is no longer used by claims handlers when considering green claims. Currently there is
no written green claims procedure that the claims handlers use as such the information you have requested is not held by Highways England.

Jonathan Drysdale
Freedom of Information Officer


On the one hand, it appears the green Claims Team possess a manual which te Authority wishes to keep secret.  On the other, the Green Claims handlers have no manual, no working/training guide?

On what basis do they make decisions?