19/01/2021

England Highways

Damage to Crown Property [DCP] Claim Costs

The Great British Rake-Off from Drivers, Fleets, Hauliers or their Insurers?

Kier Highways appear unable to justify uplifts they have been charging those unfortunate enough to cause damage to the highways. 

We have been informing the contractor, their lawyers (Shakespeare Martineau / Corclaim) and Highways England that the contract was not being complied with from day one (07/2014).  However, our evidenced concerns were ignored or dismissed and a KPMG ‘audit’ (project Verde) appears to have been a sham.  The DfT was made aware, along with the NAO, but the abuses continued. 

But in a startling turn-around, Kier, represented by Shakespeare Martineau, issued Court proceedings against multiple parties in the Authority’s name.  Who would have expected  the contractor’s own witness would cause the Judge to write:

‘Furthermore, for the purposes of assessing the extent of Kier’s authority within Area 9 (Area 6/8) the court cannot ignore the evidence given on behalf of the claimant by Mr Cairns. In summary, on this issue his evidence was to the effect that the costs calculated for the purposes of the claim did include uplifts for which he was unable to find authority within the contract’.  Full Judgement here.

The uplifts cannot be found because Kier implemented their own process as of 01/07/2014, then, caught out, utilised another as of 10/2015 (which included uplifts not incurred).  Rumbled again, another change had to be implemented.

But it appears the Authority have no control over Kier Highways; rather than insist their contractor comply with the contract, Highways England amended the contract to assist Kier to maintain its excessive rates.

Drivers, fleets, hauliers and their insurers should have been charged by use of cost (£) plus an uplift (%).  Instead, on the sub-£10,000 claims they handle, the contractor charged whatever they could get away with and was prepared to misrepresent all to strong-arm excessive payments.

And what did Highways England, a ‘serve the people’ Authority do?  They enabled and assisted the conduct by taking no action and similarly provided misleading information.  It appears the Authority is so compromised as to be ineffective.

How much are you owed by Highways England or their contractor? 

04/11/2020, we asked the Authority about the reimbursement of unauthorised payments.  So far … no comment!

And how much is the public purse owed?  Please watch this space for uplifts about the pain/gain share, the effect of Kier’s recoveries on how much they received each month and the false data the contractor supplied to the Authority – for what reason?