200226 Highways England Response to Image Tampering

26/02/2020 From: Alex Bingham @ highwaysengland.co.uk 

Subject: Response to your complaint – Image tampering & Further Intimidation – your ref X01A304 our ref: HE112/009/SG1119

I refer to your email dated 8th February concerning your suspicions of image tampering and the conduct of our appointed Solicitors, Knights, which you find to be aggressive. I understand that you have presented this complaint to various people within Highways England. Please regard this correspondence as our reply to all such complaints. The contents of this reply have been approved by our General Counsel, Mr Tim Reardon.

By way of background, I understand that a claim for damage repair costs was made following an incident on 2nd June 2018. Your company, CMA, were appointed in the capacity of loss adjusters. Whilst liability is admitted, you have expressed concerns on quantum and this is currently disputed between the parties. You feel that our contractors may have taken the opportunity to repair damage which was caused in previous incidents at the same location, thereby increasing the costs of the claim you are instructed in.

Photographs, taken by our contractor, detailing the damage and showing evidence of repair have been supplied to you, but you are concerned the images may have been tampered with.

I have contacted our contractors in order to establish their version of events. They have confirmed that the repair costs being sought relate only to damage caused on 2nd June 2018 (this being the matter in which you are instructed). A previous accident did occur at the same location on 4th April 2018, but this damage was repaired on 9th April 2018. There were then no further incidents until 2nd June. The damage caused here was fully repaired on 21st June, and no further accidents occurred at the location during the intervening period.

I asked our contractor to comment on your suspicions of image tampering and received the following reply;

‘I categorically deny that there has been any altering or tampering of images for incident TR43953, as suggested. These allegations are unfounded and untrue’.

Members of staff within our Green Claims team have also denied making any alterations to these images. With this in mind, we are unable to accept your complaint on this point.

I have been informed that you put your suggestions of image tampering to our appointed Solicitors, Knights, and this prompted a response from their Ms Emily Scanlon on 7th February which included the comments;

‘Again, you have provided no evidence in support of this. Our client reserves all rights against you in relation to these unfounded and defamatory comments.’

I have reviewed the full contents of the correspondence sent to you by Knights on 7th February, and I cannot see anything within here which would ordinarily be deemed aggressive. I feel that Knights (through Ms Scanlon) were simply stating our position on this particular claim and highlighting the perceived weaknesses of your opposition to it. Nevertheless, I am sorry if you found anything here to be distressing.

Regards,

Mr Alex Bingham
Lawyer | Operations and Legislation Team | General Counsel’s Office


However, the above is all smoke and mirrors, a distraction.  Having pointed out the errors in the consideration by the Authority, Knights and Kier Highways, we received the following email:

Thank you for your email and for the points of clarification that you have provided.

I will consider the comments you make on image tampering in more detail, and trust you accept that I can’t make any further immediate reply on this today.

However, I would like to address the correspondence you received from Knights on 7th February. You correctly identify that they state;

‘Our client reserves all rights against you in relation to these unfounded and defamatory comments.’

This statement should not have been made. For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to confirm that Highways England has no intention of bringing defamation proceedings against you in relation to the points you have made on these issues.

Regards,

Mr Alex Bingham


26/02/2020 to Highways England

Dear Mr Bingham,

Thank you for your time this morning. It is distressing to be subjected to blatantly false allegations/intimidation, to be accused of ‘unfounded and defamatory comments’. Simply put, I present facts – corroborated (occasionally excessively), supported statements. I am at the point whereby I freely refer to the conduct of Highways England and some of your contractors as ‘state-enabled exaggeration and fraud on an industrial scale’. I also suspect your Authority is ‘so compromised as to be ineffective’. If you need further explanation of this, please see:

https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/summary-of-exaggeration-and-fraud/
https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/state-enabled-exaggeration-and-fraud-on-an-industrial-scale/

Today’s post has associated links:

https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/millions-owed-to-third-parties-drivers-fleets-hauliers-or-their-insurers/

The above links to the issues associated with stayed matters at S Wales courts: https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/200226-kier-claims-update/ and in turn, to brief comment about a matter my Third Party claims manager has recently raised – https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/kier-example/

I remain, as stated, willing to assist Highways England to resolve DCP issues but it appears you are unable to correct your contractor’s conduct; that, by permitting contract non-compliance, embellishment and deception for years, the profiteering is so rooted in contractor processes as to be unstoppable. As a party to the conduct, how are Highways England not implicated? I suspect there was a time when some in your management recognised and were concerned about the issues but receiving and accepting false assurances, they are now inextricably party to the misrepresentations.

It appears I need to escalate this complaint to the next stage and ask that whoever is associated addresses the matter I complained about.

  • I have not complained about images associated with incident TR43953
  • I am concerned that you have conveyed to your contractor I have raised issues about images associated with incident TR43953
  • I have complained about Highways England’s conduct, your reference to defamation (apparently).
  • I have not complained about Knights who I appreciate are simply acting upon your instructions
  • It now appears, due to Highways England’s misrepresentation, I am subjected to unwarranted attacks on my integrity; that you have conveyed false, irrelevant information to Knights and inappropriately caused my conduct to be brought into question. The demeaning statements about me to Knights are ‘unfounded and untrue’, used to bully me (again).

I have never suggested there has been any altering or tampering of images for incident TR43953. I have made no such allegation. Incident TR43953 relates to our ref X01A304 our ref: HE112/009/SG1119, an event 02/06/2018. I again refer you to https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/image-tampering/ and the images for:

A. 22/11/2016 (25677)
B. 09/03/2017 (29199)
C. 20/03/2017 (29640)

‘A’ has been altered, tampered with. Do you agree?

I await the correspondence associated with A, B & C above.

I also await the images/information associated with the events both side of the subject incident.


20/03/3020:

  • Further consideration has not been received
  • the Authority have failed to address the FoIA request within the statutory 20 working days i.e. they are in reach of the legislation (again).  The FoIA can be read here.

Alex Bingham @ highwaysengland.co.uk
RE: Response to your complaint – Image tampering & Further Intimidation – your ref X01A304 our ref: HE112/009/SG1119

Having received no update in respect of this complaint, please escalate to stage 2.


 27/03/2020 form Highways England 

We are unable to escalate this complaint to stage 2 as we have not yet provided our final response under stage 1. We will send our stage 1 reply to you once our enquiries into the points you have raised have been completed.

Later that day, the Authority  wrote:

We need to make further enquiries with the contractor from where these photographs originated before we can provide our stage 1 response


27/03/2020 to Alex Bingham @ Highways England

Dear Sir,

I refer you to my email of 26/02/2020. And my question:

‘A’ has been altered, tampered with. Do you agree?

Had you conducted reasonable, straightforward enquiries promptly, the matter would have been long concluded. Upon our receipt of the images they were so obviously awry we were quickly able to conclude as at https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/image-tampering/ . It should not have been necessary for me to make a complaint. 04/09/2019, I wrote:

Any information available for this one – the matter in which it appears images have been tampered with
What have HE’s investigations of the attached revealed?

Why was the matter not acted upon immediately? I asked the matter be escalated to a manager, did this occur?

Have you made further enquiries with the contractor from where these photographs originated if so, when and by when do you expect a reply i.e. I again ask by when I can expect a response?

Once again this is Kier and a common theme appears to be misrepresentation, delay and / or an inability to obtain information from them – that the tail wags the dog.

In this instance it appears likely either Highways England or Third Parties have been duped, dual-charged. In my experience neither causes your Authority any concern.

The claim, for some £22,000 we recalculated using your own rates (the NSoRC) and believe to be valued just under £5,000. We understand Highway England rubber-stamped the invoice for payment without any checks, paid in full. Indeed, Highways England’s responses are accurate, which I doubt, your contractors are aware you ‘overlooked’ a price schedule, that you possess nothing against which to reconcile the figures. This is just one of 1,000’s of such matters arising each year.


04/05/2020 From: Alex Bingham @ highwaysengland.co.uk 
Subject: RE: Response to your complaint – Image tampering & Further Intimidation – your ref X01A304 our ref: HE112/009/SG1119

Dear Mr Swift,

I have now received a further response from Kier Highways Ltd regarding the concerns you have raised on image tampering.

I have been informed that all photographs submitted by Kier as proof of damage and rectification works are original images. They state that they would not, nor have the ability to, alter any photographic images relating to damage or repair work.

Should legal proceedings be issued in this mater, you have recourse through the Court to contend liability or quantum. A Judge will be best positioned to determine any disputes on the evidence provided in connection with the claim.

Please consider this to be our response under the first stage of Highways England’s complaints process. For further details, please see here.

Regards,

AlexAlex Bingham
Lawyer | Operations and Legislation Team | General Counsel’s Office
Highways England | Bridge House | 1 Walnut Tree Close | Guildford | Surrey | GU1 4LZ
T: 0300 470 4416 M: 07707 649 965

04/05/2020 to Highways England 

Dear Sir,

The images are not original. You need not ask Kier, you are capable of discovering this yourself by reference to the files and the views; they purport to be from differing months but are the same.

As for not having the ability to alter any photographic images relating to damage or repair work, this is frankly absurd. Someone has cropped an image removing the date stamp.

  • Do you understand this?

Once again, it appears you have given this little consideration and elected to ignore the obvious and the basis of my complaint.

You state ‘I have been informed that all photographs submitted by Kier as proof of damage and rectification works are original images’. You also appear to be relying upon semantics.

Kindly:

1. Identify the images to which you are referring
2. Provide all information in relation to the incidents:

a. 22/11/2016 (25677)
b. 09/03/2017 (29199)
c. 20/03/2017 (29640)

3. Escalate the complaint

The request at 2a to 2c inclusive should be considered as made in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

The evidence of tampering can be found here: – https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/image-tampering/

Given the obvious nature of the tampering, I believe the complaint should extend to your failure to address the obvious and your use of lawyers to bully.


To Highways England 24/07/2020

Dear Sirs,

Please advise the present position with regard to this complaint concerning image alteration; Mr Bingham’s inability to comprehend the issue, the simplicity of image tampering, the cropping that appears to have occurred.

Whilst the motive for this conduct cannot, as of yet, be determined, it appears the intention as to convince someone that the repair was separate to two others whereas it was undertaken at the same time. This behaviour would enable Kier of your Authority to bill a party twice for the same works – or for HE to be billed twice for the works.