Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council (BCC) appears unaware of how its current contract with Kier Highways should operate.  The contradictory statements and desire to hide the pricing suggest another instance of Kier Highways having ‘mates rates’ with the Authority whilst being allowed to profiteer at the expense of drivers, fleets, hauliers, and their insurers (Third parties).

2019 BCC and Amey parted ways; ‘Highways giant Amey to pay city £300 million to end roads fiasco’ ending a  dispute over the state of the roads with the contractor to pay £300m over five years to buy its way out of the deal (read more here). Matters had progressed to Court, with the Court of Appeal finding in the council’s favour, describing Amey’s actions as an “ingenious interpretation of the contract”. The appeal judges stated that parties in a long-term contract such as this should not be seeking to “disrupt the project to maximise [their] own gain”. In the judgment, Jackson LJ noted that:

“The PFI contract worked perfectly satisfactorily for the first three and a half years. Things only went wrong in 2014 when [Amey] thought up an ingenious new interpretation of the contract, which would have the effect of reducing their workload, alternatively increasing their profit.” 

Amey Local Government Limited will be exiting the 25-year maintenance and management contract on 31 March 2020, following an agreement with Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Highways Ltd (BHL) shareholders in June 2019. BHL, is owned by Equitix and Pensions Infrastructure Platform (source).

The contract with Amey ceased on 31 March 2020

04/2020  a new Interim Service Contract has been awarded to Kier Highways Ltd

02/11/2020 Freedom of Infomation Act (FoIA) request concerning BCC’s contract with Kier Highways Ltd the full history can be read on the WhatDoTheyKnow website. BCC ref. 18993085

25/11/2020 BCC’s FoIA response can be read here.  It did not appear Kier’s process for charging Third Parties (drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers) was as conveyed by the Council.  We sought clarification.  In particular, we attempted to ascertain whether kier was billing BCC and Third-Parties using the same pricing – after all, it would be ‘odd’ if this did not occur; para 25 HHJ Godsmark judgment.  Subsequently, BCC refused to provide information about the billing citing ‘commercial sensntivity’.

04/2021 Kier Highways secures extension on Birmingham contract (PBC Today)

28/02/2022 the ICO issued their decision about our 0/11/2020 request (above)  The Decision Notice (DN) the ‘commercial sensitivity’ exemption was upheld. However, the DN appeared to have ignored much – to include that an argument used to keep information from us was undermined, negated as the Council had released the data to another – read more here. 28/03/2022 we questioned the Council’s approach.

23/03/2022 we appealed to a First Tier Tribunal.  Our submission can be read here.