Obtaining information from some of Highways England’s contractors can prove difficult if not impossible.
The use of contractors bypasses the Freedom of Information Act, makes engagement unlikely (see FoIA).
Often, we may need some relatively straightforward information, data that you would expect to be available. On other occasions, we wish nothing more than to be advised of the present position of a claim that we are considering and wish to resolve for an insurer or their driver. However, it appears that where the contractor suspects or accepts that our client (an insurer, fleet or driver) is unlikely to be liable and obtaining a recovery (payment) improbable, they clam-up, bury their heads in the sand.
It is likely our correspondence is ‘filed on division’ (police, tongue-in-cheek, parlance for throwing something in the bin).
In January 2016 we spoke with an individual working for Highways England and were surprised to learn that HE also encounter such situations. Highways England advised:
“… we tend to get the same issues as you.
When you push for information they seem to sort of shut down and not respond.
I mean our problem is at Highways England, we need the work doing, so we quite often, you know, have to give in on certain things to get schemes on the ground”.
Highways England appears to have lost control; as protectors of the public purse, they are dictated to by suppliers.
Is it any wonder that the Officer of Rail & Roads has expressed some concerns about HE (click here)?
tail wagging the dog:
- a situation where a small part is controlling the whole of something
- the least important part of a situation has too much influence over the most important part
- A minor or secondary part of something controlling the whole.