Sub-£25,000 Bills Rubber-Stamped for Payment by Highways England
Having yet to receive an accurately priced over-threshold (£10,000) contractor bill from Highways England, despite the Public Authority having paid the invoice and demanding payment of same, we sought an explanation of the process. The initial response was that to reconcile charges pre-payment would be too expensive!
We obtained some further clarification:
- Before the final costs come through to HE, Kier check the packs themselves
- Claims arrives in NDD* Midlands Inbox.
- A Green Claims Handler may check the quality of the pack to make sure the pages are readable and the dates are correct as of the incident, time line.
- Due to how many final costs HE receive a Green Claims handler may do a sample check of the under £25,000
- The Green Claims handler may check the relevant information required is in the pack
- If the handler finds anything incorrect they will return to Kier and copy the TR430 inbox
- Over £25,000 claims are all checked by HE’s Quantity Surveyor (QS). These are not sent to the green claims team until the area team are happy with them.
A handler may keep a spreadsheet showing how many times they go back and forward to the service provider before they are sent to the green claims team to send to the loss adjuster.
Apparently, within area 9, in some cases have reduced the costs.
*NDD – Network delivery & Development (cost Center)
It will be noted that, between steps 1 and 3 there is no suggestion the invoice is reviewed pre-payment by Highways England. Instead, the bill is paid and sent to Green Claims who are tasked with recovering the outlay … a sum that is unchecked, rubber-stamped for payment.
More about this process can be found here: it’s too Expensive to Reconcile Costs
This is all the more concerning given Highways England appear to have difficulty obtaining information from their own provider, Kier Highways.