Tail Wags the Dog

Highways England’s contractor, Kier Highways Ltd. (KHL), fails to provide information to them.  In one instance (S09C034), the Public Authority having paid KHL over £14,000, sought information from KHL to enable the recovery of the payment.  Highways England apparently approached KHL regularly, the updates we received were as follows: 

  • 08/2015‘Apologies for the delay on this. My contact in Area 1 has been on an extended period of sick leave, and while she is now back at work…’
  • 10/2015 –  ‘EM Highways allocate one member of administrative staff to work on queries such as this. It may not suit you very well, and it certainly doesn’t match my expectations either, but that is the situation. This particular person has recently had extended sick leave and I believe she was very ill indeed. It is only this week that she has returned to full time hours and I am assured that this query now has her full attention. I expect something soon but it won’t be ready until it is ready’
  • 12/2015 – ‘Sorry for the continued delay. I am hoping for something before the end of the month but it is still a case of how long is a piece of string’
  • 07/2017 ‘I will continue to chase Kier and will respond fully as soon as possible.’
  • 01/2016 – ‘I have the bulk of the response ready but I am still awaiting comments from their commercial team and they are being chased regularly.’
  • 10/2016 ‘I have reviewed the case and have instructed the case officer (redacted) to request a police report and to seek further information from Kier’.
  • 12/2016‘I continue to chase.’
  • 01/2017‘I think there might be sick absence in Area 1, I’ve not heard anything from them in a while but I continue to chase.’
  • 04/2017 –  ‘I did chase Kier at the start of the month to no response. I have chased again this morning’
  • 07/2017 ‘I will continue to chase Kier and will respond fully as soon as possible.’

Most recently, Highways England wrote:

  • 01/2018 – ‘Unfortunately Kier are no longer in contract in Area 1 and the requested cost revision was never completed.’

Our reply (22/01/2018) remains unanswered:

Please advise the:
A. present position with regard to this matter – the one in which it appears Kier have refused to answer your questions, to support the claim.
B. outcome of your review
C. whether you are pursing the matter or have withdrawn the claim
I remain amazed and concerned Highways England are unable to elicit information from their own contractor. This conduct does not bode well for any Kier related matter; will they provide information to assist you, will they provide accurate information?
D. what does your contract say about Kier’s requirement to assist you with regard to recovery and the assistance to be provided?
On the one hand we understand the contract is being used by Kier to enable them to run roughshod over HE and pursue claims in your name, on the other they appear unwilling to assist HE to secure payments.

This is not the only matter in respect of which KHL have failed to provide information. Furthermore, whilst Highways England have apparently instructed Kier’s lawyers, issuing proceedings in the name of Highways England, to place all matters on hold, the request is ignored.

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