Highways England Breach FoIA Again!
For 5 years of the Public Authority took a firm line when DCP (Damage to Crown Property) rates were sought; they were withheld as ‘commercially sensitive’ subsequently, the requests were considered ‘vexatious’.
Then, 11/2018, Highways England stated to a Tribunal DCP Rates are NOT commercially sensitive. We again asked for the schedule.
The response this time was that the rates the Authority fought to keep secret, conducted reviews about, undertook ‘Public Interest Tests’, defended with the ICO, are progressing to Tribunal … do not exist … the schedule they have fought to protect is mythical.
According to Highways England, for 5 years, they have struggled to address 170+ requests and reviews related to these costs or rates, it has caused staff to be harassed, it is a burden on the 5,000 strong company yet they have been protecting … nothing!
But is was not just Highways England who refused to provide the information. In Area 10 Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald (BBMM) has declined to supply the rates. However, rather than say they do not exist, their response is straightforward:
I am not refusing to give you any rates at all. As I have stated, you have visibility of over threshold cost as you have dealt with the claims via Highways England.
Clearly there is a schedule, they just will not release it.
BBMM also wrote ‘we will not be sending you our contractual rates that are not specific to a particular claim.’ When pressed, they responded that they will not issue ‘this pricing schedule’.
On the one hand, Highways England states the schedule does not exist, on the other, BBMM are withholding it.
02/2019, a further request was made. This time Highways England simply did not respond – FoIA The Schedule of Damage to Crown Property Rates – Area 10. A response was due by 25/03/2019, but nothing.
Evidence that the rates exist appears here. So who is misleading us … and why?
Could this be one reason … ‘plundering the Public Purse‘
27/03/2018 update … there is s schedule and information from this can be found here.