Just what is the National Audit office going to review next month? NSORC appears to have have been a naively constructed process; good intentions, badly executed.
Following the detailed concerns, we presented 10/2015 and 06/2017 that it has taken the Authority over 2 years to react is worrying but unsurprising:
- they had to do something as claims handling is coming in-house; it is Highways England who will have to argue that the costs are reasonable, there will be no contractor to front matters for them and
- they chose the lesser embarrassment claiming they had no schedules of rates against which to reconcile contractor costs for 5 years! The alternative is far more concerning!
Surely, no one can be in any doubt the situation pre-NSORC (01/07/2014 to 23/06/2019) was a mess. Kier Highways apparently agreed not to issue any Area 9 invoices during 2019 (that did not stop them doing so) unless using NSORC rates.
This ‘place on hold’ agreement between Kier and Highways England is unlikely to bother the contractor, their lawyers (or the Authority’s lawyers, Corclaim seemingly work for both) as they are adding interest from the date of loss.
NSORC priced claims we have seen display an ‘interesting’ approach to the process with some of the 2019 rates being back-dated to early 2018 incidents.
But what of the ‘planned’ and ‘reactive’ rates … did no one really consider the obvious?
Assuming NSORC will go the way of the Dodo, possibly this will provide the NAO time to address the historical situation … that 1,000’s of invoices paid by the Authority were based upon unsupported rates, fraud and the costs/recoveries figures submitted to the Authority was false … why would this occur if there was no benefit to the contractor?