201026 HE Comment Upon the NSoRC

26/10/2020 response to FOI 101450

I am writing to confirm that we have now completed our search for the information, which
you requested on the 28 September 2020. You asked for information relating to our
National Schedule of Repair Costs (NSoRC). You raised the following questions:

Why did the National Schedule cease?
What understanding do you have?
What are the benefits to all?
What developments have there been?
What contractors have been engaged and their feedback.
When is it anticipated a National Schedule will be implemented?

FOIA only applies to information which is physically held and, in accordance with Section
1(1) (a) we confirm the information is not held by Highways England.

Irrespective of this, we can offer an explanation as to the current position with NSoRC.
We assessed the benefits of utilising a National Schedule Of Repair Costs (NSoRC) for
claims against drivers or owners of vehicles who are liable for causing damage to our
roads. Our intention was to introduce a more consistent methodology for assessing
claims, to create an environment where there was greater trust between Highways
England and the insurance industry, and to reduce the number of claims being disputed.
This would have improved the rate of recovery and made the whole claims process less
burdensome to all parties.

We engaged with the insurance industry through the Association of British Insurers, but
despite our best efforts we were unable to reach a consensus for NSoRC. Its use was
therefore suspended. Please note that NSoRC was only trialled as a pilot in limited areas,
and was not adopted nationally. In areas where NSoRC was not trialled, there were no
changes to existing practices and we generally continued to pursue claims on the defined
costs (in effect actual costs) of carrying out the repairs.

Since the suspension of the NSoRC pilot, Highways England has reverted to pursuing
claims on the defined costs basis. Any claims that were priced under NSoRC and not
settled either have been, or will be, repriced using the defined costs and will be
resubmitted. Where a claim may have reached the point of litigation, the claim will not be
litigated under NSoRC and legal proceedings already issued have been, or will be,
amended to reflect this.

The exception to the above on current contracts is in Areas 3 and 9. These Asset Support
Contracts (ASCs) were amended on 4th February 2020 and the contractor (Kier Highways
Ltd) seek to recover the reasonable cost for below threshold repair or replacement of the
damaged asset using national standards.