It seemed a simple request; to be provided a copy of KPMG’s ‘Project Verde’ report about Kier Highways profiteering from the privileged position in which Highways England had placed them; the overcharging of drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers (Third Parties). After all, it was our concerns that gave rise to the investigation, were of sufficient standing to warrant an enquiry, it appeared only reasonable to be informed of the findings. But the issue of DCP (damage to Crown property) rates’ is shrouded in secrecy, misinformation and obstruction seemingly to enable contractors to abuse those who cause damage to the SRN (strategic road network) and prevent the true extent of this (and potential liability / recovery?) being uncovered.
Initially, in response to the request, the Authority would ‘neither confirm nor deny’ the KPMG report existed – somewhat bizarre given we were informed by an Authority manger a draft had been received. But, 08/04/2021, once again, the Information Commissioner’s (ICO) Decision Notice IC-40443-T6L2, supported Highways England; they were ‘entitled to rely on neither confirming nor denying whether it holds the requested information relating to Area 9‘.
But 20/07//2021, Highways England changed its tune … it holds information namely (i) a draft report prepared by KPMG dated 31 January 2018 and (ii) correspondence between HE, KPMG and the
contractor Kier Group in relation to this. However, the Authority now relies upon the information being ‘commercially sensitive’, there is not a ‘commercially embarrassing’ exemption that would otherwise protect the many senior managers at Highways England associated with this scandal involving £millions.