170606 To Highways England re Inability to Price Claims & Exaggerating Every Invoice

06/06/2017 17:35
Colin Matthews @ highwaysengland.co.uk
Jim O’Sullivan @ highwaysengland.co.uk

Subject: FW: COMPLAINT FW: Your Ref: HE112/009/SG753 Our Ref: U04B286/PBS

Dear Mr Matthews,

Please can you advise the present position with regard to the matters I have raised. Your General Counsel is part of the problem:

1. He does not know what you are charged by Kier Highways – I question his integrity and competence
2. His audits have failed to identify Kier Highways failure to comply with the contract from inception

I believe the attached further demonstrates the farcical situation that exists; neither Kier Highway nor Highways England can correctly invoice a claim. Even with both parties privy to documentation we do not have sight of (the defined costs) they are substantially apart when calculating an invoice. How on earth are we expected to reconcile a claim, ensure the correct sum is paid when kept from the very schedule of costs (apparently) being used? It is evident the invoices need to be carefully scrutinised by us … clearly no one else is doing this!

• How are Highways England able to reconcile a claim and make payment to Kier when unable to calculate the invoice value?
• Are Kier Highways and Highways England working from the same cost documentation?
• Which party has calculated the correct sum and why is the other incorrect?
• Why are we not provided the schedule of defined costs to enable an informed decision to be made?

We see few of these claims, but I am mindful of another from early this year where Highways England blindly overpaid several £1000’s … and when I asked about recovering the funds from Kier I was effectively told it was none of my business.

In addition to Kier Highways Ltd having ignored the contract from inception, having used (to this day) their own pricing methodology, exaggerating every invoice presented to a Third Party (which runs into £millions) the invoices presented to Highways England cannot be accepted at face value. The invoices raised by Kier Highways contain an element for pricing (ironic). These invoices then pass to Highways England who presumably (?) examine them before making payment. After payment is made, the correspondence passes to Highways England’s Green Claims team who clearly do not consider the merits of the claim or the charges but demand payment of the full sum and when this is not forthcoming, intimate legal proceedings. Three ‘sets of eyes’ review the claim without noticing glaring errors.

Highways England claim to ‘protect the public purse’ yet they are squandering funds by making excessive payments and failing to recover sums (it appears). Highways England is enabling Kier Highways to make drivers, fleets and insurers victims of a charging methodology which is contrary to the contracted process and rates. The protection for Third parties contained within the ASC has been ignored and Highways England have failed to identify this or are permitting it. Highways England and Kier are misrepresenting facts to enable an excessive profit to be made.

I / we have a few hundred such claims of the 1000’s being presented each year by Kier. To an extent we can protect our clients from the above conduct, but why should we have to, why should we be the subject of attack and what of the others who, believing the Public Authority has acted in the best interests of all, are making excessive payments?

Why are you enabling / permitting what appears to be fraudulent conduct to progress on a daily basis; what do you intend to do to put a stop to the practices?

I would appreciate your urgent response.