The Mythical ‘Schedules of DCP Rates’ Exist

Highways England has previously stated that a schedule of ‘Defined Costs’ (base rates, actual costs) does not exist.  Following 175 FoIA requests and reviews the Authority collated between 2013 and 2018, repeatedly stating ‘held’ but commercially sensitive’ when required to provide the rates following a Tribunal decision the rates … were mythical.

But schedules of Damage to Crown Property (DCP) rates exist, contrary to previous responses, this is now admitted by the Authority.  But obtaining them remains difficult … 

28/08/2020 Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

I refer to my (full) request at DCP rates & Their Description.  You state:

‘In compliance with a Court order for disclosure, the information released by Kier and their representatives in relation to these cases is the Pricing Schedules to the Area 3 contract in an unredacted form.’

You explain this is the ‘confidential’ information, also referred to as ‘ASC Rates’. I am not seeking and have never sought this schedule of rates.

Your General Counsel has more recently acknowledged that, contrary to previous statements the ASC schedule is the only schedule of costs, there exists at least one other schedule of rates, a price list that has thus far been withheld and is claimed to be unavailable. This schedule of DCP rates features in claims before the South Wales Court yet, by reference to your response, was not disclosed to the Court and/or legal representatives for the defendant.

Your General Counsel acknowledged that the reference I presented was, in fact, a schedule of rates, within 2 days of my disclosure – http://www.englandhighways.co.uk/200430-… .
I then presented further similar examples of schedules of rates utilised by Kier These further references were from the same source as the first and therefore also likely to be accurate.

Your General Counsel wrote 08/07/2020 ‘ We are looking into the existence or otherwise of the document Area 9 DCP 35010.’ I did not receive an update as promptly (within 2 days) and despite this assurance enquiries were in hand and an FOIA request for information relating to said references, I have yet to receive further comment or information about same.

Please:

A. list all schedules of rates relating to DCP works held by Highways England or Kier Highways Ltd since 01/07/2014 and
Ai. which are still held
Aii. which were disposed of and on what date
Aiii. why they were disposed of and why copies cannot be recovered.
B. explain why these were not disclosed to the S. Wales Court
C. provide the exchanges between HE and Kier to locate the various schedules and
D. provide the explanation supplied for the disposal of all or any when:

1. you are aware of the interest in rates and have been since 2013
2. matters involving said schedules were and are before the Court
3. there is a need to retain such information, if only for accounting purposes
4. the schedules were being used in or after 2019 i.e. recently (you have failed to state when the acknowledged schedule was said to have been deleted)
5. the schedules are electronic i.e. it is reasonable for them to be retained or be recoverable
6. in accordance with a Tribunal Ruling, these rates were to be disclosed – 13/12/2018 – APPEAL: EA/2018/0088 04/10/2019

E. if and schedules have been disposed, please describe all attempts to recover a copy

With regard to the 04/10/2019 finding, dismissing your appeal (EA/2018/0088), I again ask to be provided the rates that were to be released i.e. that you comply with the Tribunal finding.

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift

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