Roy Hill, the European Managing Director of CH2M Hill has been seconded as temporary Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, proving the project is an endless roundabout of jobs for the boys. Hill previously worked as HS2 phase one development director for two years between 2012 and 2014, during which time timescales slipped, the project was descoped and the costs went up. It will be of no surprise to add to that list the fact that CH2M Hill were given contracts during that period.
Indeed was actually on secondment when first at HS2 Ltd, with Companies House documents saying he was appointed as a CH2M Hill UK director on 29th January 2008, and has remained one since.
Back in 2013, whilst HS2 Ltd phase one development director, Roy Hill said “Developing the Phase One Bill in record time was only achieved by the HS2 ‘One Team’ approach, which was embraced by all involved.”
At the time, Mark Fallon, European Managing Director at CH2M Hill (the post which Hill would later hold), said:
“The deposit of this Bill before Parliament marks a significant step forward for the High Speed Rail program and is a major achievement for such an important UK infrastructure project. The close collaboration between industry and Government departments to present this Bill on time is a testament to public and private organisations working together and is key in delivering programs like this.”
Of course the reality was that the deposit of the Hybrid Bill was late, and plans were riddled with errors. Besides this, plans for a link to HS1 were included in the Hybrid Bill, but were dropped by the time it reached second reading, and of course it was immediately admitted that plans contained in the bill for Euston were inadequate and would have to be redrawn.
Since then, CH2M Hill were the lead contractor in a consortium awarded a £350m 10 year HS2 contract this March, which of course will now be supervised by their own Managing Director on secondment, whilst HS2 Ltd look for a permanent replacement for Simon Kirby. There is also a distinct chance that CH2M Hill will again be bidding for more contracts whilst Hill is in charge at HS2 Ltd.
The whole affair seems rather reminiscent of the saga involving former HS2 Ltd head of communications Ben Ruse, who left for media consultancy Social Communications in August, just a month before they were announced as the winner of the contract for the HS2 college.
It seems to us that there is absolutely no problem with any sort of conflict of interests within the HS2 project, as of course there is no conflict of interest between the staff at HS2 Ltd and the contractors; for both it’s all about raking in as much public cash as possible.
Anyone ever heard of the Nolan Principles? No, I thought not!