181004 to Jim O’Sullivan of Highways England

I am copying this to the Tribunal to reinforce my frustration at Highways England ignoring the obvious and the obstruction I encounter. This claim and related information reinforces my seeking information appropriately, with good cause and being far from ‘vexatious’.  It also highlights some of the anomalies that arise, the serious overstatement that is made possible by your unwillingness to provide figures, keep Third Parties in the dark and  enable contractors to systematically take advantage of their privileged position.

I wish to authorise payments of the correct amount to you and / or your contractor.  You seem bent on keeping me from the information I need, data I must gather piecemeal from claims.

It is hard to conclude your intention from the outset (07/2014) was other than to enable contractors to rip-off drivers, fleets and insurers.  This is an Area 9 claim, Highways England appear to have done the right thing by building into the contact ‘protection’ for Third Parties; you agreed an Appendix that I understand, appreciate the merits of.  You set out a simple formula to ensure Third Parties were not overcharged, the equation agreed established how the maximum to be charged was to be arrived at; Appendix A to Annex 23 https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/appendix-annex-23/

What happened next is perplexing; having set out the process, you either overlooked it or intentionally did not monitor / enforce it.  What makes me suspicious that the latter was the intention is that I can locate the contracts online, I can find the Annexes to them on the web, but nowhere have you published the short Appendix, the ‘rules’ to be applied by Kier and from the outset (07/2014 in Area 9), they did not comply with them.

I have been bullied, threatened, obstructed and fed false information by Highways England and your contractors.  I have suffered this treatment for over 4 years.  The fact is, your contractors are overstating claims and have been for years reaping £millions from motorists and their insurers inappropriately.  As for claims presented to Highways England, it appears these too are exaggerated, rubber-stamped for payment.

And so to this claim … I have commenced looking beyond AIW’s mindful all your claims in S wales Courts have been stayed.  It is fascinating and disconcerting to realise just how many facets of a claim can be overstated.

I remain without information relating to this claim despite having written for some 18 months.  We have also raised a red claim but possess no records relating to litter / debris clearance.

  1. I again ask to be provided this information.

I believe the attached is self-explanatory but in an attempt to simply matters I have attached:

  • IMF       Incident Management Form
  • CBD     Cost Breakdown Document

IMF


This is the initial attendance report compiled by the attending AIW’s.  The document conveys their time associated with the incident on 20/11/2016, a Sunday:

  • 09:00    responded
  • 09:30    arrived
  • 09:45    departed

Of note is that when they were contacted, the AIW’s were on the M47, marker post J11 of the southbound carriageway.  They were at the scene of the incident in 30 minutes. They were able to arrive quickly because they were in a  works van, together, working.  They were not at home, they were not called out.  We have spoken to an AIW; they works shifts, they have a roster for weekends.  Kier would have us believe otherwise and you claim the excessive sum at Court.

If the matter proceeds to Court, the claim will be progressed in the name of Highways England, you are the claimant.  A witness for you, Ms Granville of Kier has stated to a Court:

  • AIW’s work 8am to 5pm (reinforced by Kier’s ‘Insurers Guide’.  This we believe to be untrue.
  • AIW’s are paid the uplift claimed (x2).  This we believe to be untrue.

I will shortly make the transcripts available on-line. I question whether you understand what is being said in your name but I made the information available to you almost a year ago.

Our dealings with AIW’s indicates they are paid a wage (said to be £40,000 / annum) for working shifts and this includes weekends. Indeed, if they work overtime, they are believed to be paid at a flat rate.

If they were paid a multiplier, it would not apply to the full hourly rate of £73.05 as this includes items such as training (charged at £10 / hour!) that is unaffected by working longer hours or out of hours.

We have not been provide the Daily Time Costing Sheets (DTCS – time-sheets) for the AIW’s. This documentation is almost always withheld on sub-threshold matters, kept from Third Parties. The DTCS displays the hours worked, the incidents attended and includes an entry that identifies whether an AIW is working ‘nights’ i.e. the sheet shows the shift worked – they work shifts – possibly why the forms are retained?

Kier have written to us that an AIW costs them £58+ / hour. Yet Highways England are charged £23.71 / hour – see below.  Something is amiss.

Highways England are not charged any uplift if an AIW works after 5pm weekdays or of a weekend.

 This is similarly telling; we are told that after 5pm they cost an extra £29 / hour (1.5x uplift / multiplier) but this is about the rate Highways England pay as standard.


CBD


Insurers have been charged £73.05 / hour at double time i.e. £146.10 / hour.  You pay £23.71.

You are referred to an FoIA response of 05/2018 which can be found here:

https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/aiw-rates-2014-to-2016/

Highways England are charged the ‘defined cost’ of an AIW of £23.71 / hour plus an uplift believed to be 7.38%.

This is an Area 9 claim.  The Area 9 contract sets out, at Appendix A to Annex 23, the formula by which a Third Party, such as our client, is to be charged:

Defined cost (£) + TP Claims Overhead (%)= MAXIMUM

The calculation is therefore:

£23.71 + TP Claims Overhead (%)= MAXIMUM

2. Please advise the TP Claims Overhead in Area 9 as at the date of incident

We understand the TP Claims Overhead is anything between 20.58% and 27%.  However, whilst Kier have conveyed this to a Court, the figures appear excessive.  Even were we to take the higher figure, the calculation would be

£23.71 + 27% (£5.62) = £29.33 / hour

The charge of £73.05 is excessive and not compliant with the contact.

3. Please explain the charge of £73.05 / hour; the make-up of this and

4. Why you pay £23.71 / hour

Please do not try to bamboozle us with references to the lump sum affecting charges.  Others (to include a Judge) may be taken in, but an FoIA response has already addressed this.  The lump-sum payments apply to un-traced matters.

The application of a 2x multiplier appears to be exaggeration on the overstated rates.

Please advise whether the AIW’s

5. worked shifts the month of the incident

6. worked a roster on the day of the incident

7. received the uplift of 100% on their hourly rate.

Please supply:

8. The information Kier provided HE about the incident; all information transferred electronically

In 2016 your General Counsel Tim Reardon wrote to us that as at 12/2015, Kier charged HE £70.32 / hour.  This is false, as evidenced by an FoIA response https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/aiw-rates-2014-to-2016/ .  The misrepresentation has yet to be explained and reconciled by HE.

We are asking you to explain and address what, with regard to the statements made to the Court and the charge of 2x for an AIW, appear to amount to a contempt of the Court and  fraudulent conduct by your contractor, in the name of and assisted by Highways England.


Kier Staff – admin’


Your attention is also drawn to the charges for Kier ‘staff’.  We and the Courts have been informed by your witness that administration staff, as opposed to operatives working the roads, are charged by use of ‘averaging’.  This we believe to be untrue.

Your attention is drawn to the CBD ‘planning charges’ (attached).  For example, the first entry relates to ‘TM programmer.  You are referred to https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/tm-programmer-charges/ which highlights obvious anomalies:

  • Third Parties are being charged excessive rates
  • Averaging is not occurring as claimed

These observations are nothing new; in early 2017 a Judge commented upon the DCP Manager being ‘averaged’ at 1 hour per claim. The Judge could not reconcile this with the claim numbers concluding the DCP manager would need to work 1.4 hours in every 1 hour and do nothing else.  Yet, to this day, the overstatement continues.

It appears either Kier are profiteering or Third Parties are subsidising maintenance of the roads.

9. I again ask to be provided a copy of Mr Reardon’s recent letter to contractors, the outcome to the area 9 investigation and

10. The investigation report

Whilst I am mindful Highways England seek to withhold relevant, required information and prevent us making an informed decision, if the above information is not to be provided in the usual course of business, please consider this a request made in accordance with FoIA.

Yours sincerely,