Since 07/2014, in Area 9 (at least) Kier Highways Ltd. were to use a ‘Defined Cost’ process when billing Third Parties (drivers, fleets, hauliers and insurers) who damaged the road network . But from the off, Kier did not comply with the contract. Instead, they used their ‘1153’ process which saw exaggeration likely 5-fold or more for emergency incident attendance.
Rather than raise a fee of a few hundred pounds for appearing at an incident, the starting price was £4,700 – £2,700 of which was for a couple of operatives turning up in a van … likely paid about £50 each. Faced with an incident causing distress, inconvenience and financial hardship to those involved, the profiteering appears distasteful. Handling about 5,400 claims / annum that’s many, many £millions for Kier … in fact, it could well equate to the company’s stated profit to 06/2015 when, coincidentally EM Highways Services as the were known then, were acquired by Kier Ltd. Did the due-diligence fail to spot the issue?
The process also occurred under the nose of Highways England who did not address the issue. Indeed, Kier did not comply with the contract and coincidentally the Authority kept secret the contractual process that would protect Third Parties. Ultimately, as a result of pressure from the likes of ourselves, Kier abandoned 1153 in or about 10/2015.
But Third Parties are still presented exaggerated bills that are not compiled in accordance with the contract. Highways England appears to believe that this is for the party invoiced to address – if you do not like the bill; go to Court. Easy to say but with so much misrepresentation and secrecy, it is not a level playing field.
But are Third Parties the only victim… what of the Public Purse? It appears Kier are misrepresenting their recoveries to Highways England and that this could be adversely affecting the public purse … how could the Public Authority not be aware? More here