200605 FoIA re Area 10 Schedule of Rates Contradcictions

05/06/2020FoIA via WDTK to Highways England:

ASC Rates ARE & ARE NOT to Cost Third Party Claims. Which is it?

Dear Mr Drysdale,

  1. Please can you explain and provide supportive information in relation to your responses below of 02/08/2019 and 04/02/2020:

I refer you to ‘further clarification’ in respect of IR 100236 in which you stated ASC tendered contract rates ARE used to estimate if Third-Party claims work reaches the threshold (£10,000). Specifically, you wrote:

‘In Asset Support Contract (ASC) the tendered contract rates are contained in the Pricing Schedule and used to set Target Prices for schemes and estimate third party claims work to establish if they are above or below the threshold.’

https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/200204-asc-rates-are-used-to-work-out-the-defined-cost/

This directly contradicts other responses I have received, such as your reference 770,722 (02/08/2019):

‘The schedules of rates specified in the ASCs ARE NOT used to work out the Defined Cost, or for assessing the reasonable cost of repair in respect of third party claims, whether above or below £10,000.’

https://www.englandhighways.co.uk/190802-asc-rates-are-not-used-to-work-out-the-defined-cost/

Both statements cannot be correct.

  1. Please clarify the distinction between ‘estimating’ costs by reference to a pricing schedule and ‘assessing’ costs for the purposes of a defined cost calculation in accordance with a schedule of rates.

Additionally, 04/02/2020, you wrote:

‘There is no schedule of rates for third party claim costs in ASCs. Neither the third party nor Highways England are billed on the basis of the tendered schedule of rates.’

If this is correct, please provide all information explaining

  1. upon what basis are HE billed and
  1. how a claim can be initially estimated as falling within HE threshold, if the pricing schedule you have identified is not used?

Further, whilst HE has responded to a FoIA request that ‘DCP Rates’ and ‘ASC Rates’ are not the same, in Area 10, I am informed that the schedule of rates used to bill HE comprises the scheme rates under the Area 10 ASC contract – at least for Traffic Management and barrier repairs.

  1. Please confirm whether this is the case, or if I have been misinformed by Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald (BBMM).

Another anomaly is that whilst Highways England tell me the Area 10 rates used by BBMM to bill you (over £10,000) were/are not subsidised, BBMM says they offer you preferential rates for repairs that fall at their risk, in recognition of the amount they receive under the contract as a whole.

  1. Please confirm, definitively whether:
    1. the rates charged by BBMM to HE for above threshold claims are subsidized or discounted in any way and
    2. the discount is applied to any prices tendered by BBMM and applied during the term of the ASC contract.

If there is a reduction of any description, for example, ‘discount’, ‘subsidy’, rebate etc. Please:

  1. identify exactly how it is calculated and applied, or if it has been varied by agreement and
  1. explain why it is applied.