Since 2012, Highways England’s contractors have, to an extent, been operating below the radar; retaining ‘small claims’ recoveries, the sub-£10,000 costs for attendance and restoration following collisions, spills and fires – ‘DCP’ (damage to Crown property) matters. 1,000’s of claims were managed by Kier Highways and Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald (BBMM) who charged drivers, fleets, hauliers or their insurers (Third Parties) substantial sums for works, far more than if they had presented the costs to Highways England. How did they get away with this?
- Kier Highways simply ignored the contract and, rather that utilise the agreed rates, applied their own substantially higher set. The Authority did not just stand by as this occurred, they kept the contractually agreed process a secret and obstructed release of the agreed rates first stating these were held, subsequently (when required to produce them) they were not held and more recently, capitulation … they are held (providing them to us)!
- BBMM were slightly different. For sub-£10,000 claims, when billing Third Parties, they used CECA rates – an expensive price list. In 02/2018 a Court, considered whether CECA could be substituted for another schedule of rates and looked to those BBMM had agreed with the Authority. But a BBMM witness managed to convince the Judge the agreed rates were subsidised, artificial and the Court was left with no alternative. However, the rates were not subsidised and whilst BBMM stated the rates were agreed (existed), to this day, the Authority denies this!
Highways England appears so compromised as to be ineffective, party to exaggeration and profiteering on an industrial scale.
20/05/2021, we called for an independent inquiry into HE’s mishandling of DCP claims. Our request, to the Authority’s CEO can be read here.