FS50880989 FoIA & More Authority Contradictions

Further to a FoIA re the NSoRC rates – further Authority U-turns can be read about here.

Q.1. All rates and other information used to calculate and/or substantiate the schedule provided 24/06/2019.

  • The teams’ response to this was to provide an excel document which provided resource list and the number of resources used to create the rate found in the National Schedule of Repair Costs.
  • The rates that were used to develop the National Schedule were the tendered contract rates which are withheld under Section 43 commercial interests, this is in line with previous responses on tendered contract rates.

The rendered contract rates may have been utilised but according to the author of the NSoRC, Martyn Gannicott, further references were utilised:

“… we’ve referenced obviously CECA, we’ve referenced um, other documents such as the working rule, national working rule agreements and so on and so forth um for labour rates, um and we’ve also looked at some of the claims history and the claims that have been settled, um and we’ve also looked at some history and, and information around the um tendered rates for those work elements from our contractors.”

“You know, it’s all about being fair and reasonable in my view. And we, we did quite a bit of analysis on um, we took a sample of claims…  I think off… It was around 100 claims um…”

“So, these were completed claims, if you like, so, which we were able to track through their entire journey, and we took a mixture of types of claims that were proportionate to the, to the mix of claims that we have, so whether it’s, I don’t know, fencing damage, barrier damage, lighting damage,  re repair of road surface, all of those different types of categories we, we try to get a fair mix of claims within the 100 so that … and working on a percentage basis usually it helps, doesn’t it?
It was representative as, as much as we could do in that sample of the work mix that’s carried out and so, in this arena.”

These were above and below threshold claims

“Um, and the, the element for, for me that, that, that came out of this was that, as you would expect, on an individual claim by claim basis there wasn’t a, you know, some of it correlates, some of it didn’t, there were some ups and there were some downs when you applied the national schedule.”

Q.2. All information giving rise to the discovery the original rates were incorrect

  • 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.

04/07/2019 Tim Reardon (registered users):
“it’s not a trial, it’s just phase 1 of a … it is the rollout”
” basically this is it”

Q.3. All rates and other information used to calculate and/or substantiate the schedule appearing ‘Version 1.1 from 23 July 2019’

Please see review of response to question 1

Q.4. All information about the rates you, the Authority, will be pay; whether they are identical rates to those a Third Party is to be charged and if not, how this differs and why.

The teams’ response to this was ‘Highways England’s agreed tendered rates with our Service Providers are Commercially Sensitive. This includes the variance with the NSoRC since it could be used to determine the Commercially Sensitive rates.’ Having discussed this with the team we have concluded that this did not provide a clear enough response. The response should have been as follows – Highways England are charged Defined Cost plus Fee. For clarity the rates that exist are the tendered contract rates which are withheld under Section 43 commercial interests as stated above. No other rates exist.