Just how ‘reasonable’ are Highways England’s NSoRC rates?
In 02/2019 the Authority’s CEO explained how they had been doing a lot of work internally to try and get all of their contractors using a proper schedule of rates that they could publish; to introduce a transparent charging mechanism, a more transparent and published schedule of rates so that we could see the basis upon which invoices were prepared.
- 28/06/2019 Martyn Gannicott of NSoRC @ Highways England:
“I think the rates are reasonable rates”
Martyn appears to have headed NSoRC assisted by at least a ‘chief estimator’ and ‘senior estimator’ – close to the’ nuts and bolts’. The Authority had gone through quite a lengthy internal exercise looking at all sorts of different data sets, a broad set of data; claims history (a mixture of claims – around 100).
- 04/07/2019 Tim Reardon, General Counsel @ Highways England:
“we think the planned rates are very reasonable, um and we would be, well, shall I, I think we’d be surprised and disappointed if, if anybody disagreed”
“we think these rates are very reasonable.”
“we think the planned rates are very reasonable, um and we would be, well, shall I, I think we’d be surprised and disappointed if anybody disagreed”
“So, um so we think the planned rate is, is, is eminently reasonable.”
- 19/09/2019 Jim O’Sullivan, Chief Executive Highways England emailed:
‘We firmly believe the costs set out in that schedule are eminently reasonable.’
31/10/2019 NSoRC was suspended.
We asked for all information giving rise to the discovery the original rates were incorrect and the Authority replied:
The teams’ response to this was:
‘The initial NSoRC published 24th June 2019 were not considered incorrect.
The costs were issued as a pilot to engage the industry with a view to obtain feedback. Aspects of the NSoRC were amended following analysis with additional data.’ As the request was for information giving rise to the discovery the original rates were incorrect and Highways England position is that they were not considered incorrect, the response provided accurately answers the question asked.
So, NSoRC was a pilot? Not according to the Authority’s General Counsel:
“it’s not a trial, it’s is the rollout”
“basically this is it”
The feedback to be placed online did not materialise. Could it be that NSoRC failed because contractors took issue with it?