22/03/2018 Threat from Highways England

22/03/2018
From:  tim.reardon @ highwaysengland.
Sent: 22 March 2018 16:30
To: Philip Swift
Subject: Future contact with Highways England

Dear Mr Swift

We are investigating your allegations in relation to Kier charges for sub-threshold green claims. This takes time, and we are not yet in a position to come back to you in relation to the issues you raise. When we are able to, we will.

In the meantime you have been contacting Sarah Green, Divisional Director for Claims, constantly on this subject since the Autumn. Over the past month alone you have emailed Sarah Green 58 times on this subject. You appear to put tracers on all of your emails so that even if your email is not formally acknowledged as having been read, you are able to send a receipt saying “I know you read my email”. We also suspect you use other names and email accounts when contacting Highways England.

You are also telephoning Sarah Green very frequently, up to 6 times in one day. It is also apparent that you record telephone calls without seeking the permission of the other person on the call. You are also calling Sarah Green from a private number so that she does not know until she picks up the phone that the call is from you.

You are causing Sarah Green significant distress. You are invading her personal space, causing her to worry every time her phone rings. You are affecting her personal health and well-being.

You are starting to adopt similar behaviour in relation to Sharon McCarthy, the Corporate Assurance Director.

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, it is a criminal offence for a person to pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of an individual, and they know our ought to know amounts to harassment. “Harassment” is defined as behaviour which causes alarm or distress. Your behaviour either already crosses the line into harassment within the meaning of the 1997 Act or is close to crossing the line. Unless it stops immediately we will view it as harassment for the purpose of the 1997 Act, entitling us to contact the police.

Yours sincerely

Tim Reardon
General Counsel
Highways England
Tel: 0300 470 1224 
Tim.reardon@highwaysengland.co.uk


The allegations can be broken down as follows:

  1. Over the past month alone you have emailed Sarah Green 58 times on this subject.
  2. You appear to put tracers on all of your emails so that even if your email is not formally acknowledged as having been read, you are able to send a receipt saying “I know you read my email”.
  3. We also suspect you use other names and email accounts when contacting Highways England.
  4. You are also telephoning Sarah Green very frequently, up to 6 times in one day.You are also calling Sarah Green from a private number so that she does not know until she picks up the phone that the call is from you.
  5. It is also apparent that you record telephone calls without seeking the permission of the other person on the call.

The allegations are ludicrous, infantile and a distasteful attempt at bullying.

  • why would a Public Authority act in such a manner unless troubled by the issue, aware they are in severe difficulty‘?

The allegations are addressed, briefly as follows:


  1. Over the past month (March) alone you have emailed Sarah Green 58 times on this subject.

This is possible; I had a caseload of about 100 Kier-related claims. I met Sarah Green 21/03/2017 and she appeared sincere; understanding and prepared to address the issues. I was informed all Kier matters would be placed on hold, Court action ‘stayed’. What I did not realise was that Mrs Green had no control over Highways England’s own lawyers, that they would not comply with their client’s (HE’s) instruction – apparently.  When Highways England’s (HE) lawyers Corclaim (Shakespeare Martineau) failed to comply with Highway England’s instruction and commenced issuing proceedings, I was required to act on everyone.  The Public Authority appears t have overlooked the considerable resources  they had to address the issues and my correspondence and that I alone was handling matters – it was a significantly greater burden on me.

KPMG made it clear I was to write HE:

From: Damian.Byrne @ KPMG.co.uk 
Sent: 13 December 2017 12:30
Subject: Contact

Further to our recent telephone conversation I understand that you have been trying to get in touch. We have received the information you have sent and have shared this with HE accordingly. As discussed it would be best if you could send any information or correspondence directly to HE. If for any reason you should need to copy us on any correspondence then it should be me that should be copied (although as I say it is best you deal directly with HE should the need arise).

I acted appropriately. I conveyed concerns to KPMG, the appointed auditor, I supplied a great deal of information and I informed my clients that the issues were in hand, there would be no activity on the files. However, by (about) December 2017 it was evident the matters were not stayed, they were not on hold – whilst I acted in the belief Mrs Green could be relied upon, that what she conveyed was accurate, behind the scenes Kier / Shakespeare Martineau progressed. Mrs Green apparently had no control.

I found myself having to explain to clients, to act on all the files. I sent a standard letter on many mindful that I must treat each individually, on its own merits and may well be required to account to my clients and the Courts given Kier / Shakespeare Martineau were apparently ignoring Highways England.  Many files required review and specific letter.  Examples can be found here.

58 letters in a month is entirely possible. Many of the questions raised, in template / standard letters could have been addressed by replying to one as i explained 28/02/2018 ‘I have no responses from HE, I am forced to repeat questions whereas it would be so simple to address one request and assist me to understand, make any future identical request seem (and be) unreasonable‘. Mrs Green did not respond.

My resurrected inquiries and activity revealed further concerns and I wrote to Mrs Green about each. The issues were not addressed.

It should also be noted:

  • Mr Reardon produces no evidence in support of his statement, no indication where this data came from
  • Mrs Green was my ‘SPoC’ (single point of contact) for HE; I had agreed to be the SPoC at CMA and Mrs Green at HE.  In this way we kept the exchanges ‘tight’; there was no confusion.
  • At ‘4’ below, on 12/02/2018, I reiterated that I would be sending information on every file; Mrs Green was aware and raised no issue about this

Indeed, Mrs Green never complained about my conduct during our conversations.  It appears Mrs Green is incapable of speaking for herself which has led me to believe she was the wrong person to undertake the inquiry and likely this was why she was appointed. On at least one occasions I prepared Mrs Green for the emails:

12/02/2018 10:36
To: Green, Sarah
Subject: RE: Call

Good morning
As ever, I am in and out of the office – Friday I attended all day anticipating a call.
I set some emails to be sent at 5pm or after – further evidence.
I am currently away – half term week here – but will stop by the office intermittently
Are you available this afternoon ?

I spoke with Sarah that day.  I was assured Mrs Green would visit me, that we would meet, with Mrs Green adding ‘even if it’s to buy you a cup of tea and a cake. I will come and see you.’.  I explained:

I will be sending stuff on each file in the meantime.

To which Mrs green replied:

 Yeah, I know, I know you’ve got to, and that’s fine

To this day I am unsure whether Time Reardon’s complaint was of his own concoction or if Mrs Green was being insincere.   The fact is, I had a SpOC (a single point of contact), Mrs Green.  I had claims to oversee, progress and keep clients advised about.  On the one hand, I had put the matters on hold (late 2017) believing Mrs Green; that the Authority’s lawyers would be taking no action, on the other Corclaim (Shakespeare Martineau) ignored the instructions of their client.

Where has Mrs Green raised a concern about the volume of emails / contact?

Examples of the emails can be found here

28/02/2018, I wrote to Mrs Green:

‘you will receive a  fair amount of correspondence from me as you have agreed to be the ‘SPOC’, my single point of contact and because I have many of these claims backing up’

Just how many of the March 2018 emails did Mrs Green respond to?  NONE!  They were hardly taking up Sarah’s time.


2. You appear to put tracers on all of your emails so that even if your email is not formally acknowledged as having been read, you are able to send a receipt saying “I know you read my email”.


Firstly, either I do or I do not; what is it to be?  Why does it only ‘appear’ that I do so?

It is the case that my emails were set to include a ‘delivery-receipt’ and a ‘read-receipt’ as standard.  I have never been criticized for this, no one has ever taken issue and I fail to understand why this Microsoft Outlook  feature would cause alarm.  However, upon receipt of the email, I removed it.  Apparently it troubled HE.

Secondly, the allegation that I am able to send a receipt saying “I know you read my email” is odd, baffling. It is true (obvious), if I were to receive a notification saying ‘read’ I could say ‘I know you read my mail’ but:

  • I would know – this is the purpose of the read-receipt
  • I could do so and it would have purpose, if the recipient did not reply within a reasonable time
  • It could be important for me to demonstrate to a Court that an email I sent was received

However, what Tim fails to convey / acknowledge is that I have never acted in this fashion.  I have never emailed anyone at HE writing ‘I know you read my email’ or similar.

It is a non-allegation, ‘puff’, pitiful.


3. We also suspect you use other names and email accounts when contacting Highways England.


I have a number of email accounts that I use, a number of domains. These include UKcollsions.com, SwiftClaims, IliveCliams being examples. I also use Gmail and have personal email accounts. I do not believe I have used any of these when emailing Highways England. Highways England have not provided examples of the email addresses I am said to have used.

In part my SAR was intended to enable me to address and refute this. It is possible I used my Gmail account inadvertently – this has a variation on my name not obviously identifiable. However, the information disclosed revealed no information that would identify the email addresses I am suspected of using and I have never received an email from Highways England on any account other than my work address.

I continue to await the evidence in support of this allegation.


4. You are also telephoning Sarah Green very frequently, up to 6 times in one day. You are also calling Sarah Green from a private number so that she does not know until she picks up the phone that the call is from you.


This is another allegation which on the face of it appears to warrant raising with me but when you consider the logic, it is a further example of HE trying to make case by tenuous means; no evidence, so create some or embellish what you have.

  • The obvious query about the statement / allegation is ‘if you receive a call from a ‘private number’ (caller identity withheld) how do you know who is calling you unless you answer?

The answer is ‘you cannot’.  The allegation is groundless.

One day, I may have attempted to call Mrs Green on several occasions. The only instance that comes to mind is when Mrs Green failed to phone me as agreed – see 28/02/2018. Therefore, possibly Mrs Green had some missed calls but:

  • These related to a planned call
  • Mrs Green had at no times indicated she did not want to hear form me, that I was causing her distress.
  • We were on good, relaxed terms

Easy for me to say but, unlike HE, I evidence my statements, support them:

Mr Reardon’s email being 22/03/2018, I have checked my phone records my last 2 conversations with Mrs Green were:

  • 12/02/2018
  • 28/02/2018

The 12/02/2018 conversation conveys the good humored, relaxed nature of our conversations with my words ‘PS’ and Mrs Green’s (SG):

PS Yeah. So do you think, hopefully meet up in March?
SG Yes.
PS Brilliant. Um, what shall I do? Diary it forward for 1st March to touch base?
SG Err, give me three weeks… Err, err, yeah, ’cause the 5th of March I’m up in Penrith in Cumbria doing something up there, so it’ll be the following week, but um, I’ll come and see you… … even, even if it’s to buy you a cup of tea and a cake. [Laugh] I will come and see you.
PS [Laugh] Don’t tell Sophie you’ve offered to do that.
SG [Laugh] Yes, I know.
PS So shall I just diary it in for the 1st of, 1st of March to touch base by email just about a meeting?
SG Yeah, yeah that’s perfect.
PS Um, Okay. I will be sending stuff on each file in the meantime.
SG Yeah, I know, I know you’ve got to, and that’s fine.
PS Alright, lovely.
SG Alright, take care then, thanks very much for your patience.
PS Pleasure.
SG Cheers.
PS And don’t forget, Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, okay?
SG [Laugh]
PS Don’t get too busy.
PS I’ll warn, I’ll warn all my… No, I just warn all my staff not to forget, it’s a very
PS I’ll warn, I’ll warn all my… No, I just warn all my staff not to forget, it’s a very dangerous day to forget. So, you take care. [Laugh]
SG [Laugh] Alright, and you. See you later. Bye.
PS Cheers, all the best, bye.

In what respect does the above appears ‘harassing’ or anything other than good natured, friendly?

The conversation of 22/02/2018 concluded:

PS … hear from you late, late Friday?
SG Yeah, and that’ll be [inaudible 0:10:58]. If, if not I’ll drop you a note and let you know when it will be. Let me just make a few calls.
PS Bless you. I, I am still worried for you.
SG [Laugh] Okay, thank you.
PS I, I… Honestly, I… Part of the reason that I send so much is that I, I do fear that in the background there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. There’s an awful lot of money involved. But fingers crossed, we’ll get there.
SG Okay, thanks a lot. Cheers.
PS All the best, bye.
SG Bye.

The above was another friendly exchange giving no reason to believe Mrs green was troubled (‘harassed’) because she was not.

Mrs Green did not phone me, nor did she ‘drop me a note’.  I therefore attempted to call Mrs Green – likely giving rise to this allegation (‘4’).

My SAR has returned no information that would suggest Mrs Green raised ‘harassment’ with anyone in connection with my conduct.

5. It is also apparent that you record telephone calls without seeking the permission of the other person on the call.

This is simply addressed. Whilst I would expect a professional such as Mrs Green to be mindful calls are likely to be recorded, should this make any difference, why would Mrs Green be concerned? However, I err on the side of caution and each of my emails contains a clear notification:

Note: calls to or from CMA may be recorded and or monitored, pursuant to LBP Regulations 2000, to establish the existence of facts and / or to prevent and / or detect crime.

Mrs Green has apparently conveyed concern about the many emails I send, each would have displayed the above. Has she not read any of them?

However, I also specifically informed Mrs Green all calls were recorded because she asked:

28/09/2017:
SG Um, one hundred percent and… Are you recording this call?
PS All my calls are recorded, all of them, it’s on my emails.

It appears whoever is making the allegation has done so without the involvement of Mrs Green or been misinformed.


Mrs Green’s disposal of evidence 


It should also be noted that despite the seriousness of the allegations, Mrs Green has apparently disposed of all the evidence I sent numerous emails!

In 06/2017, Mrs Green was to manage the investigation of allegations that Highways England and Kier Highways Ltd were acting in concert to systematically exaggerate claims on an industrial scale, amounting to £millions. The allegations extended to ‘fraud’; that statements to us, Third Parties and the Courts, were false, intended to enable profiteering.
Despite this, all my emails were deleted, not one remains! In support of this, when I made a Subject Access Request (SAR) of HE, I received no one email from Mrs Green, the reason:

28/08/2018
From Graham Woodhouse @highwaysengland in response to my SAR:

‘With regards to items from Sarah Green I have been informed that due to the number of e-mails she receives and the restrictions on mailbox sizes that she only keeps sent emails for 3 months and deleted emails for 2 months. Hence any emails from Sarah have come from other parties.’

There you have it … my SAR resulted in no emails from Mrs Green because, despite the seriousness of my allegations and those against me … she deleted them all!

Based upon the response to my SAR, no one has any evidence of this alleged harassment, not Mr Reardon, Sharon McCarthy, Sarah Green, Jim O ‘Sullivan etc.. It appears the proof in support of the allegations was not retained, not put to one side but automatically destroyed – along with the evidence I provided … within 3 months of me providing it.


Kier Allegations & Corclaim Conduct


While Mrs Green did not raise concerns about my conduct with me, she was able to raise the issue of Kier and Shakespeare Martineau (Corclaim) acting inappropriately.  Mrs Green asked if my conversations were recorded (see above) and I replied that they were. I was then informed by Mrs Green:

Sophie (Granville) at Kier had learned of the audit and made the ‘most abusive phone call to Mrs Green’. To quote Mrs Green ‘the stupid girl then follows it up with abusive text messages’.

Additionally, I was informed Corclaim / Shakespeare Martineau had not been corresponding with Mrs Green but, seemingly after learning of the audit, were now trying to get her attention. However, Mrs Green apparently informed the lawyers (acting for Highways England*) that they had ample opportunity to speak and resolve some issues but, having not done that, Highways England would go through the audit.

It appears the public purse, the costs to the tax payer arise from Highways England’s own lawyers actions!

*
12/02/2018:
Mrs Green stated that Shakespeare Martineau / Corclaim act for Kier, not for Highways England.

28/12/2018:

Mrs Green’s account (above) changed; I was informed Corclaim were acting Highways England’s agent for claims under £10,000, that the 12/02/2018 response was ‘wrong’, Mrs Green had ‘ legal check it out’.

  • Corclaim act for Kier Highways Ltd.
  • Highways England have no control over Corclaim.
  • Corclaim have not charged Highways England for services