Is this so difficult to comprehend …. there is a contract, the relevant section is ‘good’* but it is not complied with. Kier know this, Highways England know this but the conduct continues causing Third Parties (drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers) to be fleeced …
A few years ago EM Highways Services Ltd, Now Kier Highways Ltd (Company # 05606089) were appointed to manage Area 9 which included attending incidents (collisions, fires and spills) and undertaking restoration; addressing Damage to Crown Property (DCP) incidents on the Strategic Road Network (SRN). Simplifying the charging process, if the bill was:
- over £10,000 the contractor sent the invoice to Highways England (the ‘Authority’) who paid and then approached the at-fault Third Party for payment.
- under £10,000, the contractor gets nothing from the Authority and must pursue the Third Party themselves.
The contract contains protection for Third Parties that SHOULD prevent exploitation, Appendix A to Annex 23. The process, again simply put, is:
- over £10,000 Highways England are charged DEFINED COST (£) + FEE (%)
- under £10,000, Third Parties are charged DEFINED COST (£) + OVERHEAD (%)
The simplicity is staggering; ‘defined cost’ is to be common to both the Authority and the Third Parties, the difference in charging is the difference in percentage uplift … and we know these:
- over £10,000, to Highways England 7.4%
- under £10,000, to a Third Party, 25.29%
Therefore, a Third Party should be charged 17.89% more than Highways England. Simple!
But Third Parties have never been charged in accordance with the contract. From day one Highways England kept the process (Appendix A) secret from those it should serve and Kier Highways did not comply with the methodology but commenced their profiteering processes.
- An example of the overcharging & fraud can be found here
- An overview of the exaggeration & fraud can be found here
Highway England is aware of this but stands by and does nothing seemingly expecting the Courts to address their mess.
24/06/2019, the Authority introduced the NSoRC, a national pricing process which failed – blamed on insurers but likely due to contactor objection; the inability to exaggerate claims to previous levels.
31/10/2019, after the NSoRc collapsed, Kier introduced a new method of exaggeration and provide even less information to support their claims. Instead, if their demands are not met, with the support of and in the name of Highway England, Kier will issue proceedings. It appears the contractor and Authority believe Third Parties will capitulate rather than engage in what may be no more than a pyrrhic victory – assuming the driver, fleet, haulier or their insurer can overcome the misrepresentations proffered by Kier Highways, explain the facts and convey the niceties of ‘reasonable rates’. How could they without years of experience and information?
We do not wish to cut the throat of contractors. We understand profit is a necessary component of a business. We are content to comply with the contract to which we were not a party. Why is Kier Highways unwilling to comply and assisted by the Authority.
Kier Highways are handling well over 5,000 of these incidents every year … more than 13 / day.
For an example of the current profiteering process – read more here
*Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England’s CEO