In 06/2016, we met with and presented several concerns to Transport for London’s internal audit manager:
Fraud Team Internal Audit
8th Floor, Windsor House
50 Victoria Street
LONDON SW1H 0TL
A concern related to a claim for a claim being made by their contractor for damage to a lamp post on the A2. The contractor and their lawyers were ignoring our requests for information. The vehicle driver admitted striking a concrete barrier, damaging their car, but they stated they did not hit the lamp post. A Google Street image view suggested the damage was present BEFORE the incident.
- A Freedom of Information Act application indicated that the lamp post had not been repaired since the Google Street view image was taken
It therefore appeared the damage was pre-existing and had been added to the more recent incident. We provided TfL with the relevant information and awaited the outcome of their enquiries. However, the issue was ignored. the brief response from Mr Brooker was:
I have now concluded my investigation along with our legal team into your allegations of fraud in relation to Kier’s conduct under the LOHAC contract. The use by Kier of different rates for recovery for claims of less than £10,000 and claims for more than £10,000 does not evidence fraud. The rates for claims greater than £10,000 are part of the overall LOHAC arrangements between Kier and TfL. If CMS wish to challenge the basis for the rate used by Kier for claims of less than £10,000 with Kier then you are entitled to do so in court.
The contractor concerned is Kier Highways Ltd., a company that ‘confessed’ to us that they were aware of staff (albeit in another area) who conducted themselves in an inappropriate manner. Kier Highways Ltd explained that they had to “retrain and re-culture” staff, that a lot of them were told that if you couldn’t do certain things turn a blind eye. But it was also apparent that the staff were not adverse to exaggerating claims, of adding damage in. We were advised by Kier Highways ltd:
we had some scenarios where Area (X) had been taught if they can quite clearly see accident damage on this side of the road, for argument’s sake, and there were defects relating to a crash, and you can tell what defects are related to, on the other side of the road but you’ve got no culprit there, but you’ve got a culprit for this one, roll that into there.
Mr Brooker (TfL) responding in 10/2016, made no reference to the A2 claim. Indeed, he made no comment about many of the issues raised. But then to quote Kier Highways Ltd.:
“ … the issue that we have had more problems I think would be the London claims, TFL I think are the ones that’s, which aren’t right”.
Indeed, when we spoke with Kier Highways Ltd., they left us in no doubt that London (TfL area) was problematic. We were advised:
“…. London at one point was absolutely ridiculous. Well it’s not like that now, so London again, the spillage, we’re not charging the initial incident at all, we’re actually just sending out maintenance crews.”
One of our concerns is Kier Highways use of 1153 until late 2015 – the figures can be obtained by clicking here. If you were presented a claim between 2014 and 2015 you could expect the starting cost to be £4,700. However, after 1153 was abandoned, the cost in one claim (which we have raised with TfL) plummeted to about £750. There are likely 100’s of driver’s, fleets and insurers who have been and are being overcharged for damage they allegedly caused to London’s thoroughfares.
It appears TfL intend to ignore the issues we have raised:
- Historical over-claiming using 1153
- Use of dual charging rates that have not been explained, justified
- Application of multipliers to drivers, a process not used when charging TFL and a process that appears intended to profiteer
- The process of charging a driver for damage they have not caused – of including a charge for nearby pre-existing damage.
On 28/12/2016 we wrote to:
Head of Commercial Disputes Resolution
Transport for London
7th Floor, Windsor House
42-50 Victoria Street,
London SW1H 0TL
We await a response.