We have found the obtaining of pricing information about claims following damage to BCC property akin to pulling teeth … the ICO clearly encountered similar problems writing:
‘The Commissioner would like to place on record that during his investigation, the Council repeatedly failed to engage properly with the questions put to it and the actions it was asked to take.
He also notes with concern that the Council failed to comply with the information notice (which is published on his website) within the specified timescale’.
It appears BCC are another Authority that is far from keen to be open about what they allow their contractors to charge at-fault parties – is this because they are acting contrary to His Honour Judge Godsmark’s 2018 finding? The judgement* effectively says, pricing used to bill the council for attendance and repairs following damage to their ‘street furniture’ (generally caused by collisions, spills or fires) should be utilised when billing Third Parties – drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers.
But some Authorities ignore this allowing their contractors are permitted to profit handsomely from the plight of Third parties …. seemingly ‘recovering such [inflated] losses has become palatable’.
We have sought information about the conduct from National Highways and more recently, BCC – 28/07/2022, the ICO found BCC to be in breach of the FoIA
*the actual statement can be found at para 25 of judgement C08YP765 in the County Court at Derby:
‘It would be odd if a tortfeasor (TP) was liable to Highways England for diminution in value of a damaged chattel in one sum if sued by Highways England itself and in a different sum if sued by Highways England via BBMM (contractor)’
The situation in Birmingham appears to be ‘odd’ … as it does with other contracts involving Kier Highways Ltd.
The 28/07/2022, ICO’s Decision Notice (DN) relating to BCC’s FoIA breach can be read in full here. The council have 35 days in which to address the DN i.e. on or before 01/09/2022