We have long evidenced Kier Highways and Highways England acting in concert to charge Third Parties (drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers), contract non-complaint rates; making exaggerated claims utilising a contract non-compliant price list – a set of high DCP (Damage to Crown Property) rates. Kier did so by engaging a contract non-complaint process, assisted by Highways England who kept it secret, never speaking of the procedure.
- 07/2014, Kier charged for incidents (collisions, spills & fires) attendance using their bizarre ‘1153’ process. Kier gushed with figures. The starting cost was £4,700 (£2,700 for a van and 2 operatives plus £2,000 of admin’). The cost should likely seldom, if ever, have exceeded £500.
- 10/2015, Kier acknowledged 1153 was a ‘time bomb’ (blaming an employee who had left for Amey) and commenced their ‘defined cost’ process. But ‘defined costs’ were not being used, Kier utilised a set of inflated rates – exaggeration in another guise. To these figures they added spurious uplifts (multipliers) claiming their operatives worked ‘core hours‘ (8am to 5pm) and paid the extra after 5pm of a weekday. They were not.
Highways England were alerted to this but, time and time again, failed to act.
We asked Highways England for the Area 9 rates; the Authority repeatedly responded they were ‘held‘ but ‘commercially sensitive’ and therefore being withheld.
- 06/2017, we met the Authority and conveyed in person the concerns, providing documentary evidence of the conduct, an example. Subsequently at the Authority’s request, reiterating the issues to KPMG (transcript here).
- 12/2018, an Information Tribunal, found for us (criticising the Authority’s conduct), we expected to receive the rates but … the Authority u-turned; they were not held because they did not exist and therefore could not be provided! Highways England had apparently overlooked agreeing DCP rates in every ASC (contract since 2012).
We challenged this ludicrous situation but the Authority were prepared to misrepresent facts to the ICO and Information Tribunals restating ‘not held’.
- 01/2019, to further the ‘not held, we erred‘ situation, the Authority compounded the issue and went about creating a set of DCP rates., the NSoRC.
- 06/2019, the NSoRC was issued.
- 10/2019, the NSoRC failed – likely because contractors had their wings clipped; exaggerating claims proved difficult. the Authority has thus far failed to provide evidence in support of their process termination – despite an FoIA request.
- 2020, rather than tell Kier to comply with the contract, to use the simple, fair and reasonable, contract complaint process and agreed rates, Highway England changed the contract to enable Kier to charge ‘what they could get away with’ – the ‘inflating claims to profit‘ methodology. Of course, this cannot be imposed on Third Parties.
- 05/2020, a Judge was told by Kier that they had applied unexplained uplifts (para 36 of the Judgement) to the rates, but it appears the Court was not supplied with the actual DCP rates.
We continued to collate evidence rates existed.
- 03/2021, DCP Rates for Area 9 were presented to an Information Tribunal. They existed and had done since 2015 when the Authority had set about reviewing and agreeing the prices!
- 06/05/2021, the Information Commissioner conceded, writing ‘DCP rates exist for Area 9‘.
- Area 9: We now possess the rates and are re-pricing Area 9 claims utilising these. Should you be presented a Kier Highways Area 9 (West Midlands) claim using the KSoR, you may wish us to review the figures – to email CMA click here.
- Birmingham City Council: The KSoR is also being used to charge within BCC’s jurisdiction. The council has stated Kier do not utilise CECA rates for their claims however, CECA figures are the basis of KSoR. We have presented a variety of concerns to the council who appear unaware of what is occurring despite their history of contractor troubles.
- In Area 10, it is evident there has been similar misrepresentation over the years (2012 to 04/2019 – end of contract) by BBMM about which we are collating information to be posted shortly. In the meantime, there remain Area 10 matters that have yet to be addressed. If your are presented a sub-£10,000 claim by BBMM (possibly now with Connect Plus), you may wish us to review the figures – to email CMA click here.