On 26/07/2017, Highways England were asked using the Freedom of Information Act:
Q: is the contractor to who you have given Areas 6 and 8 involved in your investigation about corruption raised in Parliament?
A: We are currently looking into allegations in relation to the costing of Kier’s claims in Area 9
Area 9 is managed by Kier Highways Ltd who were ‘gifted’ Areas 6 & 8 as of 01/04/2017. The full response can be found on the 26/07/2017 post in the WhatDoTheyKnow exchange – click here.
More information about the allegations can be found by clicking here. The concerns relate to the amounts Third Parties are charged by Kier Highways, the exaggeration that occurs and the associated misrepresentations. With regard to Area 9, it appears from the outset Kier Highways ignored the limits Highways England put in place to ensure Third Parties such as drivers, fleets and insurers, were not charged unreasonably. However, once appointed Kier Highways ignored this protection and engaged their own process, a methodology that whilst obviously flawed, it took them over a year to abandon. So embarrassing was the process that Kier would rather not hear mention of it again, of ‘1153‘. However, the charges, whilst likely exaggerated, not only provide us with an insight into the real costs, they were freely provided by Kier and can be seen here.
Since 10/2015, whilst Kier claim to be contract-complaint, they are not. The charges are not as conveyed to us and why would they be … Kier have also stated to a Judge that the process is one agreed with two insurers. Really? This is denied by one of the two insurers and irrespective, it is the contract that dictates the charging process, not an agreement with one or two insurers, a methodology which is then forced upon others.
Since 10/2015, if a Third Party asks to see the schedule of costs that are being used to make up the sum demanded, gone are the days of 1153 when Kier trotted out a schedule to convince a subject their demand was valid, correct and appropriate (see 1153 costs above). Bizarrely(?) now, when apparently employing the correct process, one consistent with the contract, the figures are ‘commercially sensitive’, kept secret. The very costs Kier use to compile an invoice they expect a Third Party to pay are kept from the Third Party.