07/2014, KIER HIGHWAYS LIMITED, then EM Highways Services Ltd, previously Enterprisemouchel Limited, were appointed to manage Area 9. If Damage to Crown Property (DCP) occurred, for example, a vehicle hit a barrier, the charging process was:
- tally up the base rates (costs) for staff, operatives, plant and materials then add
- an uplift percentage
Simple. Billing the Authority Kier use costs, plus about 7.5%, if Kier billed a driver, fleet, haulier (Third Party) or their insurer, it should be costs plus about 25%. The process is enshrined in Appendix A to Annex 23 of the contract; the ‘shield’ for Third Parties, an equation that results in the ‘MAXIMUM’ a Third Party is to be charged
But what good is such protection, the rule, if the very people who need it have no idea it exists? The Authority kept the process (appendix A) secret and Kier did not mention or abide by the contract from day one. Coincidence? Kier profiteered, claimed for costs they did not incur misrepresenting facts to Third Parties, their insurers and even the Courts … all in the name of Highways England.
This was reported to Highways England but they failed to act. Is the Authority powerless; so compromised as to be ineffective?
All they had to do was direct Kier Highways to comply with the contract, to apply the methodology to which they agreed. But it appears Kier does not wish to (never intended to?). So what can the Authority do?
- Answer: rather than enforce the section (unable to do so?) the Authority has taken a novel approach, capitulated:
If Kier will not follow the rules … change the to suit their contractor
It appears Kier will not be held to the agreement protecting Third-Parties from exaggeration. Instead, Highways England has recently supplanted the 07/2014 agreement by instigating another process – read more here.
Not obliged to pay the latest, high set of rates, Insurers have a choice: ‘hand over their dinner money to the bully in the playground or take a stand’*.
*2016 the late Robin Reames