Operatives, National Rates & Uplifts Claimed But Not Paid

We have attended various Courts in respect of Kier Highways claims.  We possess Ker’s witness statements and in some instances, transcripts of the evidence given by Highway’s England’s witnesses.  It will be appreciated that we do not go to the expense of obtaining transcripts unless they have value. However, we were astounded at the misinformation provided to Judges. For example:

2017, Sophie Granville to the Judge, explaining the AIW role

back, like I said, between two and three years ago there were discussions about how we can make the overall service more effective and also make sure that it’s targeting the safety elements of it for the road users, which is where the inspection element came about because they, these individuals are on the network every single day and know their routes inside out, but obviously we still need responders for accidents so we just added that on to a duty, because it’s unrealistic to have somebody on 24 hour shift patterns* just waiting for accidents to happen.

*but there are 24-hour shift patterns

The subject incident occurred on a Sunday (weekend) and the defence cross-examined Ms Granville asking:

Now, on the invoice we can see the base rates that AIWs are charged for. How is that
rate reached?

To which Ms Granville responded:

“It mirrors the agreements in their contracts where it says that we would pay them at that
specific overtime rate if they work out of hours.”

The claim related to an Area where it was stated the ‘base rate’ for an AIW was £70.32.  As for this ‘base rate’, Ms Granville explained the base rate is the notional rate adding:

“it’s the notional rate against in this particular instance the asset incident watchmen,
but every individual on a contract has a notional rate.”

and:

the notional rate is calculated from the actual costs associated with the role and then
divided by the number of working hours, and that’s done annually and audited by
Highways England for every single staff member and operative,

with regard to the AIW, this was clarified by Ms Granville:

“In this particular instance the notional rate is £70.32, yes, because that is our working
area overhead added to that.”

it was explained that the rate comprised £58.32 (cost) to which the Third Party Claims Overhead (TPCO) or ‘working area overhead’ of 20.58% was added.  In Area 9, the cost of an AIW was said to be more, the TPCO was 25.29%.

Ms Granville explained this was an overhead calculated at the time of contract award with Highways England and basically all the costs associated or the overhead costs associated with the operative divided by the number of incidents over a period which would be a year in this instance, and that spits out a percentage that you have to uplift claims by which is checked and signed off by Highways England, and their procurement

THE DISTRICT JUDGE commented that presumably, when this contract was entered into then in whenever
it was (2010) Kier had some documents that told them the cost of running the … incident costs and that was rushing out to accidents that caused damage.

Ms Granville agreed explaining the cost came from the last incumbent and the working area uplift was a calculation made by the procurement team in Highways England, not by Kier as a contractor.   Kier is given the uplift to apply which follows the Authority putting all the cost in and undertaking a big calculation.


11/2020

the full tril transcripts will follow