Disclosure Log - April 2022
|Ref:||Response issued:||Information Requested:||
Information in relation to the Council’s carbon reduction strategy:
1. How much CO2e does the Council produce under Scopes 1, 2 and 3?
2. How often does the Council calculate your Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions?
3. Which of the Council’s activities are included in your Scope 3 emissions calculations?
4. What is the estimated financial budget to meet your Net Zero/Carbon Neutral target?
5. How much has been spent to date in reaching your Net Zero/Carbon Neutral target?
6. How are you financing this investment?
1. Applicant provided with the information in PDF format which is available upon request
2. Annually. The Council's Climate Officer (who was recruited last year) confirms that the 2020/21 Footprint is currently being finalised before being taken to Senior Management Team and Strategy and Resources Committee. In accordance with Section 22 of the Act, it is anticipated that it will be ready for publication from end of June 2022
3. As 1. above
4. 5. and 6. To date the Council has spent circa £280k towards the Council’s carbon reduction targets. This has been primarily through a mix of external grants and borrowing
The Council has also placed £50k into an environmental initiatives reserve from Council underspends, to undertake feasibility studies into the larger capital projects required and this will then inform us as to the future budget requirements. Each project will then require a business case that states how these future projects will be funded
1. What is your Council’s policy for inspecting premises that serve food to the public such as bars, restaurants, hotels and takeaways in your area. i e How often do you aim to visit such premises to inspect food hygiene standards?
2. For each calendar year for the past 3 years from Jan 2017 to present, please supply the following information in relation to Food Hygiene inspections:
2 a) How many such premises were/are licensed by your Council to serve food and were/are subject to food hygiene inspections by your Council
2 b) How many complaints did you receive from members of the public about licenced premises suspected of poor hygiene or causing food poisoning or the like?
2 c) How many routine food hygiene inspections did your authority carry out?
2 d) How many inspections were overdue compared to your policy in question 1?
3. As it stands today, 14th March 2022, for premises that are currently trading and were identified in Q1 (that are subject to food hygiene inspections in your Council’s area) how many have not been inspected for:
3a) Over one year
3b) Over two years
3c) Over five years
3d) Over ten years
3e) Have never been inspected
3f) For each of the five hygiene ratings awarded to premises (1 - 5) how many premises were awarded each rating upon their last inspection?
|Applicant provided with the Council’s response in Excel spreadsheet format which is available upon request||None|
|8384||01.04.22||The details of the actual self-build serviced plots that have been consented in the North Devon area, that make up the figures on the self-build registers||Applicant provided with the information Excel format, which is available upon request||None|
1. The number of nuisance smoke or fire reports in the local area in the past 5 years2.Any data on fines for fires in the past five years
1. Information provided as in table format within response e-mail, which is available upon request
1. How many formal complaints related to anti-social behaviour has your council received in each of the past three calendar years: 2021, 2020, 2019?
2. How many of the formal complaints noted above did your council actively go on to investigate in each of the past three calendar years: 2021, 2020, 2019?
3. How many Community Protection Notices and Community Protection Warnings have your council issued in each of the three past calendar years: 2021, 2020, 2019?
1 and 2
Applicant provided with a spreadsheet listing all ASB complaints received from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2021, including date of receipt and outcome. (where there is no outcome detail this means that case is still ongoing)
3. Community Protection Notices:
2019 = 8 issued
2020 = 5 issued
2021 = 9 issued
Community Protection Warning Letters:
2019 = 30 issued
2020 = 21 issued
2021 = 22 issued
|8395||05.04.22||How many households within the Council’s billing area pay Council Tax to the local authority and how many of these do not pay by Direct Debit?||
At 31 March 2022 the Council has 47,983 properties included in the Council Tax list45,257 properties have a Council Tax liability to pay and of these, 11,087 do not pay by direct debit
1. How many complaints to your council have you received for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021 regarding dog waste on public land (Please provide a breakdown of figures for each year)?
2. How many prosecutions has the council issued to members of the public whose dogs have been caught fowling on public land between 2019, 2020 and 2021 (Please provide a breakdown of figures for each year)?
3. Do you provide free dog poo bags to council tax payers (and if you previously did, when did you stop providing them free of charge)?
4. How many council employees are authorised to issue fixed penalty notices with regard to The Dog fouling act?
5. How many fixed penalty notices (or equivalent) has the council issued to members of the public whose dogs have been caught fouling on public land between 2019, 2020 and 2021 (please provide a breakdown of figures for each year)?
6. How many council employees are authorised to issue fixed penalty notices (or the equivalent) to members of the public whose dogs have been caught fouling on public land?
1. 2019 = 85
2020 = 70
2021 = 96
Complaints are not recorded in a way that enables an officer to easily determine whether they related to public/private land. The only way in which this could be determined with any certainty would require an officer within the Environmental Protection team to go through each of the complaints for the years requested to find this information out. It has been estimated that an officer would need a minimum of five minutes per complaint to identify, locate, consider, extract and collate the information
Section 12 of the Act makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for Local Authorities is set at £450 by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours at £25 per hour in determining whether the Council holds the information, locating, retrieving and collating the information
It has been estimated by the Council’s Environmental Protection team that it would take approximately 20 hours to provide the requested information and therefore exceed the 18 hour cost limit
The procedure would cause serious disruption to the day to day working of the Environmental Protection team and therefore we are unable to process this part of the request any further. As set out in the previous paragraph, the Council has the right to refuse to provide the information in accordance with Section 12 of the Act
2. In accordance with Section 21 of the Act, please refer to the Council’s published Prosecutions dataset which is updated on a quarterly basis with most recent update having been completed earlier this month. In accordance with Section 22 of the Act, the dataset will be due for updating in July 2022
5. In accordance with Section 21, the Council publishes details of the Environmental Fixed Penalty Notices that it issues on an annual basis which includes those issued for dog fouling offences
|Sections 12, 21 and 22 of Act|
1. What tools are you using for your IT system monitoring?
2. Are you using the Microsoft System Centre suite of Products for data centre management?
3. Are you using Systems Centre Operations Manager (SCOM) for your infrastructure monitoring?
(This would typically be used for monitoring the health of internal and external apps, CPU, Ram and monitoring objects like logical disks and SQL)
4. Are you using another other form of dashboard on top of SCOM? PowerBI, Silect?, Savision LiveMaps?
5. Who manages System Centre within the organisation?
6. Who Manages SCOM in the organisation?
7. Are there multiple people across different departments using SCOM for monitoring e g, SQL team, NOC team, IT service desk?
1. The Council uses a number of tools including Solarwinds
1. As of 28 March 2022, how many public Electric Vehicle chargers have been installed on public land within your local authority by the local authority itself (i e, not wholly or in conjunction with private providers)?
2. As of 28 March 2022, how many Electric Vehicle chargers have been installed on public land within your local authority by private companies?
2. Three, however none are currently operational as we are awaiting connection from the DNO
All recorded information that the local authority holds regarding its outsourcing of the provision of pre-paid debit cards in the financial years 2020/21 and 2021/22 and its current and planned outsourcing of the provision of pre-paid debit cards in 2022/23 and future financial years
Such information should include all recorded information regarding:
(a) the local authority’s outsourcing of the provision of pre-paid debit cards for the use by staff, volunteers, council tax payers service users
(b) the ways in which the local authority uses pre-paid debit cards
(c) the full name(s) of any outsourced service provider(s) supplying the local authority
(d) the contract(s) with any outsourced service provider(s) supplying the local authority
(e) the date(s) on which contract(s) with outsourced service provider(s) expire
(f) the total fees paid by the local authority, or budgeted to be paid, by supplier, for each of the financial years requested above
(g) the number of pre-paid debit card users the local authority had, or anticipates having, for each of the financial years listed above
(h) the tendering process, or other procurement method, under which the outsourced contract(s) were awarded
(i) the tendering process, or other procurement method, under which the service will be re-contracted; and
(j) the date on which the process referred to in (h), for the re-contracting of the outsourced service, will commence
(k) the name and email address of the person within the local authority who has responsibility for the authority’s management and provision of pre-paid debit cards
The Council does not have any pre-paid debit cards and no plans to outsource for any within 2022/23
The amount the authority has spent on producing bids for funding through the schemes named below*, since 2019? Please also provide a breakdown of this figure, for each scheme
Please also confirm whether the council hired external contractors to produce all or part of the bid in each instance?
*The Community Renewal fund, Future High Streets, the Levelling Up Fund, and Towns Deals
Town Deal – The Council has not applied for this funding
Community Renewal Fund
Officer time used = Yes
Consultants used = No
Council funds used = N/A
External funds used = N/A
Levelling Up Fund Round 1
Officer time used = Yes
Consultants used = Yes - part
Council funds used =£23,141
External funds used = N/A
Future High Streets Fund
Officer time used = Yes
Consultants used = Yes - part
Council funds used =£3,044.57
External funds used = £143,900 development grants from Government
1. The number of Ukrainian refugees settled under the Ukrainian Family Scheme in North Devon District Council since 24 February 2022
2. The number of Ukrainian refugees that have been settled under the Homes for Ukraine scheme in North Devon District Council since 24 February 2022
3. The number of Ukrainian refugees that have registered as homeless in North Devon District Council since 24 February 2022
4. The number of Ukrainian refugees North Devon District Council is planning to take in
1. As there is no obligation for those under this scheme to confirm they are here these numbers are an average = 35
2. 17, with a further 30 plus pending
4. At this time there is not a cap on numbers
1. The number of planning applications for existing residential properties (alterations/extensions etc) in the last calendar year (1 January 2021 - 31 December 2021)2. The average length of time between submission and acceptance of planning applications for existing residential properties in the last calendar year
2. 12 days
|8414||04.04.22||List of Data Protection Impact Assessments conducted between 25.05.18 and 25.03.22||
Anti-social behaviour application
Committee Management software
Council office CCTV
Crematorium audio visual system
Legal case management system
Staff access system
Barnstaple Town Centre CCTVIlfracombe Harbour CCTV
CON29 information relating to a property at EX32 0RT
Applicant advised that no information held
What was the council's planning department budget in total for each of the last five calendar (or financial) years (2017-2021)?
Year Budget (£) Actual Cost (£)
2016/17 £142,610 £ 93,144.81
2017/18 £202,070 £296,260.60
2018/19 £248,910 £177,762.67
2019/20 £101,030 £151,857.21
2020/21 £329,340 £ 83,804.282021/22 £316,300 £ 39,810.48
Applicant requested a file in Excel format or similar of every Right to Buy valuation in the Council’s area between 1 April 2000 and 1 April 2012and including the following:
(a) the postcode (or if necessary a partial postcode)
(b) the valuation date i e the date the valuation refers to (c) the final valuation figure in £
(d) whether this final valuation resulted from an appeal
(e) the £ discount that was applicable
(f) whether the applicant was in receipt of housing benefit
(g) whether the Right to Buy purchase went ahead
(h) where applicable the final purchase price
(i) where applicable the sale completion date
|The Council no longer has a housing stock as this was transferred to North Devon Homes Ltd on 21 February 2000, therefore the Council does not hold the information requested||None|
CON29 information relating to a property at EX36 4NF
|Applicant provided with the information, where held and also directed to the Council’s website for some of the information||None|
How much has been paid to LiveWest as Discretionary Housing Payments for individual financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022
2019 = £6,794.98
2020 = £11,861.532021 = £14,757.69
CON29 information relating to a property at EX31 4DQ
|Applicant advised that no information held||None|
Motor Vehicles registered for public hire i e Taxi/Private Hire/Hackney Carriage that were either issued a new or renewal licence in the period 1st January 2022 to 31st March 2022
Specifically for each vehicle:
Vehicle registration number
Licence issue dateLicence expiry date
|Information provided to applicant in Excel format, which is available upon request||None|
|8422||05.04.22||Contact details for the person or team responsible for bidding for and/or implementing the funds granted recently by The Department for Levelling up Housing and Communities for the installation of Changing Places toilets||
Head of Place, Property and Regeneration
1. Please state the total number of electric vehicles registered to your fleet in the last five years2. Please state the total number of electric car charging points available in your council over the last five years
1. None in each of the last five years (2017 – 2021)
2. As 1. above
|8425||14.04.22||Copies of all emails, correspondence and documents relating to planning application 74963||
Applicant provided with the information held under this application which is not already published via the planning tracker with personal data redacted throughout. The information disclosed can be provided by request
1. Over the past three years, how long did it take to complete the written responses to pre-application planning advice requests for the small development projects (1-3 dwellings or small commercial). Please provide minimum time in days, maximum time in days and median time in days it took to complete written advice from the request being received2. Also, what is the percentage of all applications (full and outline) that have not been reviewed/decided on within the statutory time period?
1. The planning unit does not categorise pre-application advice requests, however for the period 01/01/2019 to 31/12/2021 it received in excess of 2,700 pre-application/general enquiries
Minimum Response time – 1 day (receipt to enquiry closed)
Maximum Response time – 619 days (receipt to enquiry closed)
Median Response time – 23 days (receipt to enquiry closed)
2. The percentage of Full and Outline Applications not determined within the Statutory timeframe is 39% for the period 01/01/2019 to 31/12/2021
1. Please provide a copy of the council’s Household Support Fund policy for the funding distributed to councils in October 2021. The policy should outline how the council was going to disburse the funding and by what criteria
2. What was the value of the parts of the Household Support Fund provided to the council in October 2021 (or thereabouts) that the council made available to individual applicants (not referrals from third party organisations)?
3. Of the figure in question 2, how much did the council eventually provide to applicants?
4. If the council fully spent the figure in question 2, on what date(s) was this part(s) of the fund closed to new applicants?
5. How many applicants received funding under the parts of the Household Support Fund referred to in question 2?
6. How many applications for funding under the parts of the Household Support Fund referred to in question 2 were rejected? Please provide any data the council holds on reasons for rejection
7. What was the value of the parts of the Household Support Fund provided to the council in October 2021 (or thereabouts) that the council made available to referrals from council services or third party organisations, e g charities?
8. How many referrals received funding under the parts of the Household Support Fund referred to in question 7?
9. How many referrals for funding under the parts of the Household Support Fund referred to in question 7 were rejected?
10. Please provide a copy of the council’s Household Support Fund policy for the funding that is to be distributed to councils for April-September 2022. The policy should outline how the council will disburse the funding and by what criteria
10. The Policy for the new fund will be written by Devon County Council in conjunction with all District Councils, and therefore the Council does not yet have final details as to when the policy will be ready/complete. Applicant advised to contact Devon County Council directly for further information on this
1. How many parking penalty charge notices (PCNs) did your organisation issue from January 1st to December 31st 2021?
2. What was the combined value, in £, of the parking fines your organisation gave out from January 1st to December 31st 2021, broken down by month?
3. How many staff were responsible for issuing parking fines for your organisation from January 1st to December 31st 2021?
1. This information is published in the following dataset:
2. Applicant provided with this information in Excel spreadsheet prepared by our Parking Office. The team advises that they also process the PCN’s for Combe Martin, Lynton & Lynmouth and Woolacombe, so they have deducted their PCN values from the total values in order to obtain the Values for North Devon Council (in purple). This spreadsheet is available upon request
3. The Council had seven CEO’s between January 2021 and September 2021. One left in October 2021 and one left in November 2021 so the team were down to five CEO’s from Mid-November and then six CEO’s from December 2021
It may also assist you to know that:
Lynton & Lynmouth has one CEO
Combe Martin has two CEOs
Woolacombe (Marine Drive) uses Vanguard for the summer only
1. Does the Council have any plans to procure a digital social prescribing platform in 2022/2023?2. Does the Council have any current vacancies in the a) IT and/or b) Digital Transformation teams?
1. No2. None at present
a) How many collection days have been lost since January 1st this year due to vehicle breakdowns; staff illness industrial disputes throughout the administrative area of North Devon Council
b) How many of the above failures to collect have resulted in black bin and recycling not being collected in New Road South Molton (from the Brook Meadow junction to East Street main road)?
a) None. The only time the Council was required to cancel a full day’s collection was due to storm Eunice. Since 1 January the most rounds that have been cancelled on any day has been four, but this has not resulted in the Council having to cancel a day of collections
b) The Waste and Recycling team has looked at the vehicle tracker for this section of New Road for every scheduled recycling and black bin/bag collection since 1 January:
Recycling – Three (12 January, 16 March, 6 April), however it’s possible that it was collected on these dates by a vehicle that does not use Bartec which is the system the collection vehicles have to record which properties are collected from in real time
Refuse (Black bin/bags) – Every scheduled collection has been attended, zero missed
Further to this, The Council has received two reported missed collections from the applicant; one missed recycling collection on 6 April and a missed refuse collection 7 April. The missed refuse collection was reported at 9.24am on 7 April, however the crew attended at 9.53am that same day
Applicant requests an indication of the extent of the area listed below, either as a PDF image with the boundaries indicated or ideally a file compatible with a GIS system if possibleIf a boundary extent is not available then an indication of which addresses share these locality names would also suffice
The Council’s ICT department confirms to me that this is not data we would hold and that in this instance they advise the applicant to contact HM Land Registry
CON29 information relating to a property at EX33 2AA
Applicant provided with the information, where held and also directed to the Council’s website for some of the information
CON29 information relating to a property at EX31 2FG
Applicant provided with the information, where held and also directed to the Council’s website for some of the information
|8437||19 and 20.04.22||
A list of limited companies paying council tax in an excel document
A list of limited companies paying business rates in an excel document
There is no report on the Council’s Revenues system that extracts all of the data you have requested. This means that the data would need to be manually searched for and compiled from a number of separate reports and also by reviewing each individual account. The data would then need to be manually entered into a single spreadsheet
The Revenues system does not have an indicator to separately identify ‘limited companies paying Council Tax’ so the Council would also have to manually review the name of the ratepayer for each account in order to exclude personal data for individual ratepayers. The revenues team confirms that they would need to individually review and extract the requested information from 47,500 Council Tax accounts that the Council currently has
It has been estimated by the Revenues team that it would far exceed 18 hours to provide the requested information. Even at three minutes per account would take approximately 2,375 hours and that the procedure would cause serious disruption to the day to day working of the Revenues team and therefore we are unable to process the request any further. As set out in the previous paragraph, the Council has the right to refuse to provide the information in accordance with Section 12 of the Act
Applicant provided with an Excel spreadsheet providing all Non-Domestic Rate properties as at 1 April 2022 (which is available upon request)
All properties where the ratepayer is an individual/sole trader were removed prior to disclosure as this information was not requested
The information requested under 1 and 2 is provided within column A the Ratepayer, the address of the business is provided within columns B through G
Unfortunately the report does not provide the actual amount of business rates paid, therefore the only way in which this could be provided would require the Revenues team to manually calculate this and then enter into the spreadsheet. They would need to do this for each of the 2,941 business rate accounts as listed on the attached spreadsheet
It has been estimated by the Revenues team that it would far exceed 18 hours to provide the requested information. Even at three minutes per account would still take approximately 147 hours to complete and that the procedure would cause serious disruption to the day to day working of the Revenues team and therefore we are unable to process the request any further. As set out in the previous paragraph, the Council has the right to refuse to provide the information in accordance with Section 12 of the Act
In accordance with Section 16 of the Act the Council advised the applicant that this published dataset does provide the data required that would enable to them to calculate the amount of business rates paid by each ratepayer using the Rateable Value and the various columns providing the types of rate relief where they are claimed. Applicant asked to confirm if they wish to receive a further spreadsheet with this additional columns
|Section 12 of Act|
1. How many publicly accessible* swimming pools were there in your local authority area on March 31st 2019?
22 How many publicly accessible swimming pools were there in your local authority area on March 31st 2022?
3. Please name the pools that are currently operating a timetable for public swimming
4. If a pool was or is temporarily closed please indicate this or if a pool is earmarked for closure in the near future, please provide details.
If there is other information pertinent to my enquiry please send it or indicate where it is available*By publicly accessibly pools I mean either council owned/operated or those that are owned/operated by a not-for-profit leisure provider which is running the facilities for the community (e g better leisure/fusion etc) and to which you direct members of the public via your website/leisure services site
The Council does hold this information in relation to Council-owned pools, however it does not record the information for externally owned facilities
CON29 information relating to a property at EX34 7DJ
Applicant advised that no information held
|8441||11.04.22||Spend by the council on refreshments for council meetings in the past financial year, 2021/22||No money was spent in 2021/22 on refreshments in Council meetings||None|
|8442||22.04.22||The number of trees felled and planted by the council or its contractors in the Local Authority area for every business year from 2015-2016 until the present||
Trees removed = 88
Trees planted = 13
Trees removed = 51
Trees planted = 31
Trees removed = 57
Trees planted = 64
Trees removed = 31
Trees planted = 14
Trees removed = 49
Trees planted = 38
Trees removed = 39
Trees planted = 128
Trees removed = 16
Trees planted = 423
Disabled Facilities Grants and Contractors
1. Does the Council hold a list of accredited building contractors to carry out Disabled Facilities Grant works? If no, please go to Question 10
2. Who manages the list?
3. Is it a shared list with other local authority teams?
4. When was the current list established?
5. How can new contractors get added to the list?
6. What checks are carried out as part of the initial accreditation process?
7. What regular checks does the Council make on existing contractors?
8. What is the process for removing contractors from the list?
9. How does the Council handle cases where an applicant wants to use a contractor not on the list?
10. How do contractors typically provide prices for individual applications?
11. How many contractors are on the Council’s list?
12. How many Full Time Equivalent Technical Officers does the Council employ to support applicants?
13. How many Full Time Equivalents vacancies does the Council currently have for Technical Officers?
10. as follows:
1. Non-complex works/stair lifts = quotations
2. Complex works = tenders via Supplying the South West
CON29 information relating to a property at EX31 2EZ
CON29 information relating to a property at EX33 1FP
1. How many planning permission requests were received last year?
2. How many planning permission requests were rejected last year?
3. How many planning permission requests were rejected due to protected species?
4. Of these, how many were rejected due to: badgers, bats, birds, dormice, newts, invertebrates, natterjack toads, otters, reptiles, water voles, white-clawed crayfish, or other?
The information can be found by a search of the Planning Tracker received and determined within a specific period and then check the decision notices/officer reports for the reasons as to why the refusal was issued
In accordance with Section 21(1) of the Act, the Council is not obliged to provide information that is already in the public domain/publicly accessible. However, it does have a duty under Section 16(1) to provide all applicants advice and assistance in order to assist with locating the information, which the Council has done so in providing the link to the Planning Tracker aboveFor any technical issues with the search facility, please contact the Planning team direct either by email or calling 01271 388288
|Sections 16 and 21 of Act|
CON29 information relating to a property at EX36 3GE
SMP1 for North Devon and Somerset 1998
Applicant advised that the Council does not hold a copy of this and referred onto Torridge District Council
Where Council Tax monies are allocated once collected by the authority
Applicant directed to the a page on the Council’s website which sets out how Council Tax is spent
|8453||14.04.22||The number of withdrawn applications for each of the last three years split by planning officer||
Name 2021 2020 2019
Andrew Jones 2 0 2
Andrew Spiers 5 0 0
Amy Sanders 0 0 2
Beth Coles 10 5 0
Chloe Roissetter 3 0 0
Deborah Butler 1 1 3
Jenni Meakins 2 15 10
Jeff Penfold 1 0 0
Jean Watkins 2 4 3
Keith Bines 0 0 3
Matthew Brown 11 6 3
Mary Pool 0 10 3
Oliver Mathers 8 3 1
Roger Bagley 11 19 6
Bob Pedlar 1 2 1
Steve Emery 17 1 0
Sarah May 8 13 5
Tom Jones 1 0 0
TOTAL 83 79 42
CON29 information relating to a property at EX32 0JD
1. How does the Local Authority define statutory advocacy?
2. Who provides your statutory advocacy services? Please be inclusive of all statutory advocacy services in your response
3. How much has the Local Authority spent on statutory advocacy services each year over the last 10 years, broken down by year and service?
4. How many people have received statutory advocacy services each year over the last 10 years, broken down by year and service?
5. How many people have received non-statutory advocacy services each year over the last 10 years, broken down by year and service?
6. How does the Local Authority assess the level of need for statutory advocacy services?
Applicant advised that North Devon Council does not provide statutory or non-statutory advocacy services and therefore it does not hold the information requested
The Legal Services team for North Devon Council is an internal legal service to the various departments and services throughout the authority and does not provide external legal advice to members of the public, however it does administer all Information requests under FOI, EIR centrally and also are responsible for Data Protection and Subject Access Requests made to the authority
Applicant advised to contact Devon County Council’s Information Governance team who may be able to assist
The council sought applications from local businesses and individuals for the government backed ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS Grant (ARG6), as updated (20th January 2022) by The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial StrategyPlease can you confirm how much money central government provided you with, how many applications you received and how much of the funding you were actually able to give out?
Value of Government grant provided = £3,892,284
Period the total £ value grant covered = November 2020 – March 2022
Number of applications received = 1,943
Number of applications funded = 1,493
Value of grant provided = £3,891,289
CON29 information relating to a property at EX32 9JB
Applicant advised that no information held
1. The levels of Fremington Parish Council Precept for a Band D property for the 10 years 2012/13 to 2022/23
2. The total number of properties for which a Fremington Parish Council was levied in the same 10 years 2012/13 to 2022/23, including any predicted increase in the year 2022/23
3. The total amount of Fremington Parish Council Precept collected for the 9 years 2012/13 to 2021/22 and predicted or 2022/23
Information provided in Excel format, which is available upon request
Please provide any internal or external guidance you have in regards to how you would ascertain rateable value for this purpose for domestic and non-domestic properties
If you do not have such guidance, why not? And how would you go about ascertaining rateable value if such an application was received under Section 228 (7) Highways Act 1980?
Please note rateable values only relate to non-domestic property. The rateable value is set by the Valuation Office not North Devon Council
Any self-contained domestic property will be subject to a council tax band set by the Valuation Office not North Devon Council
Any enquiry regarding how you would ascertain the rateable value for the purposes of Section 228 (7) Highways Act 1980 should be made directly to the Valuation Office
CON29 information relating to a property at EX34 7BP
Applicant advised that no information held
All properties within the Billing Authority area where there is either a credit held on the account or there was previously a credit which has now been written on
The fields required are all non-personal:
The Council no longer publish the details of individual business rates credits. Following careful consideration of the ICO decision for Wandsworth Council (FS50619844) and discussions with the Council’s Revenues team which holds this data, the Council considers that the continued publication of this data would be likely to prejudice the prevention and detection of crime and therefore the Council considers that this data is now exempt from disclosure under Section 31(1)(a)
When applying this exemption, the Council is required to carry out a Public Interest Test which considers the factors that favour disclosure and the withholding of the data
Factors in favour of disclosure
• Withholding the information could be perceived as the council attempting to retain monies that belong to the public
• It is in the public interest to be open and transparent about its use of public funds
• It is also in the public interest to be transparent regarding the records held in respect of the administration of business rates. This could be of interest to the minority of people who are due a refund, but have somehow failed to receive the notifications that money is owed to them
Factors in favour of withholding
• There is a public interest in ensuring that monies from the public purse, such as rebates on business accounts, are not fraudulently claimed and also a public interest in not making it easier for fraud to be committed
• The Council’ current verification procedure for refund claims is simple and cost effective however the Council cannot be certain as to whether some claimants are who they really say they are for every refund processed. If the Council were to continue to publish this data then this would ultimately result in additional verification processes needing to be implemented by the Revenues team at additional cost to the public, which would be disproportionate to the benefits that would accrue from disclosure. The additional verification procedures would also be likely to slow the verification process, resulting in detriment to the genuine ratepayer in that it would take longer for their credit to be refunded to them
• In relation to any new verification processes that might be needed, these would be likely to require the production of additional documents by those claiming a rebate which would place a new administrative burden on the majority of those legitimate claimants that did not currently exist. This would be compounded by the fact that the level of scrutiny of those documents would be higher than at present, given the increased suspicion that some of the claims (and associated documents) might well be fraudulent. The result would be that a new verification process would be likely to slow the rate at which credit balance claims could be considered and refunded, causing delay in all refunds and the likelihood of complaints, which would further burden the Council’s limited resources
• Disclosure of the requested information would result in the need to implement disproportionate steps and additional expense to the Council to counter an increased fraud risk
The cost consequences of a successful fraudulent claim would:
• have incurred the cost of paying out to the fraudster
• remain liable to the legitimate rate payer for an equivalent amount, raising the prospect of paying out twice; and
• be faced with the cost (legal and incurrence of internal management time) of seeking to recover the funds wrongly paid to the fraudster
It would not be in the public interest to expose it to such potential costs and expenses, given that they would be funded from the public purse
It is considered that the greater public interest, therefore, lies in no longer publishing the data. In coming to that conclusion, the public interest in providing the information has been carefully weighed against any prejudice to the public interest that might arise from withholding the information; in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information
Instead, in accordance with Section 21 of the Act, the Council publishes a dataset which provides:
• the total amount of credit refunded
• the number of refunds
• the total amount of outstanding credit
• the number of outstanding refunds
The dataset is updated on a quarterly basis (the April update is now live) and will be due for updating again in July 2022, in accordance with Section 22 of the Act
|Sections 21, 22 and 31 of Act|