Disclosure Log - July 2020
|Ref:||Response Issued:||Information Requested:||Response:||Exemptions:|
|7175||03.07.20||Covid-19 Risk Assessments for Public Toilets in North Devon||Applicant provide with this information in Word format, available upon request||None|
1. When was the last time (if ever) the council undertook a review of statues, plaques and public monuments in your area, with the purpose of deciding whether any ought to be removed from public display?
2. Since 7 June 2020, has your council committed to a review of statues, plaques and public monuments in your area, with the purpose of deciding whether any ought to be removed from public display?
3. Did your council remove any statues, plaques or public monuments from public display in the calendar year 2019? If so, please state which pieces were removed, when, and for what reason
4. Did your council receive any requests to remove any statues, plaques or public monuments from public display in the calendar year of 2019, on the grounds that they commemorate figures with links to slavery and/or colonialism? If so, please specify the statues/plaques/public monuments in question, and the number of representations each received
5. If your answer to 4) is ‘yes’ - have any statues, plaques or public monuments been removed from public display as a result of such public requests/complaints? If so, please specify the statues/plaques/public monuments in question
1. The council has not undertaken a formal review of statutes, plaques and public monuments
2. The council has not undertaken a formal review of statutes, plaques and public monuments
3. No statues, plaques or public monuments have been removed from public display
4. The council has not received any requests to remove any statutes, plaques or public monuments from public display
5. Not Applicable
|7191||09.07.20||Council Tax and Council Rents||Information provided (where held) in Excel format, which is available upon request||None|
|7193||01.07.20||Invoice payment performance data for years 2018/19 and 2019/20||Information provided to the applicant in Excel format, available upon request||None|
1. How many fly tipping incidents were reported to the council in the period 2015 to 2020 or in the last 5 financial years
2. How many fly tipping incidents has the council had to clear up in the period 2015 to 2020 or in the last 5 financial years
3. How many of the fly tipping incidents reported in the period 2015 to 2020 or in the last 5 financial years involved any type of asbestos
4. What is the cost to the council of clearing away fly tipping involving asbestos in the period 2015 to 2020 or in the last 5 financial years
1.2015/16 = 572
2. 2015/16 = 329
3. 2015/16 = 5
4. This information is not recorded
1. What type is your authority?
a) Combined Authority
2. Please supply a breakdown showing the:
a) Total number of directly employed chief officers and senior managers for each job title and directorate doing the following roles:
i. A Chief Officer designated by the council as an administrative and executive head of either a separate department or of a particular function or service
ii. Designated by the council as a recognised deputy to any chief officer including an officer of deputy status but whose post may carry a different title
iii. Chief Officers within scope of the Joint National Council (JNC) agreement
iv. Senior Managers on National Joint Council or locally determined terms and conditions. Essentially, anyone in a senior management role who is not on chief officers JNC terms and conditions
v. Statutory Directors
b) Locally determined median/average/actual salary (Excluding any additional payments, eg. market supplements, performance related pay, long-service increments), the grade or range for each job title or supply a copy of your Council’s policy/pay structure in respect of the pay of its chief officers and senior managers
c) The spinal column points for chief officers and senior managers employed on National Joint Council (NJC) pay
3. What pay, terms and conditions do you employ all chief officers and senior managers on? Eg. total number employed on JNC for local authority chief officers (Blue book), NJC (Green Book), Local terms, other (please specify) or a combination of agreements (please give details)
4. Has your council moved directly employed chief officers and senior managers from one set of pay, terms and conditions to another in the last five years?
5. Have the roles of directly employed chief officer and senior managers been the subject of a pay and grading review within your council in the last 12 months?
6. What job evaluation scheme is used for Chief Officers and Senior Managers? (Please give details)
7. Supply a breakdown showing the current number of directly employed chief officers and senior managers by race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation and full-time and part-time employees
1. District Council
2.(a) 1 Head of Paid Service, 3 Heads of Service and 3 Service Managers
(b and c) This information is published on the Council’s website: https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/council/key-statistics-and-data/open-data/?ID=BC3E4DF5-A2CD-49E5-8D5A-084A9C2B0525&DS=4005
In accordance with Section 21(1) of the Act, the Council is not obliged to provide information that is already in the public domain. 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 dataset above
In terms of Senior Managers, they are not at a level that requires the Council to publish their exact salaries. The ICO states that exceptional circumstances are needed to justify the disclosure of such information, when it is not routinely published. If the information goes beyond what is necessary to disclose, then there is no basis for processing and disclosure is in breach of GDPR principle (a)
In this case, Section 40 of the Act applies
3. Head of Paid Service – Terms and Conditions of each Senior member of staff are on green book.
7. 7 in total. 4 male, 3 female and all in full time employment
The Council does not hold any up to date equality information as it was not transferred to the Council’s new self-service HR system. Staff are able to update their records with this information, however no equality information is yet to be recorded for these specific staff members
|Sections 16, 21 and 40 of Act|
1. The number of Diversity Officers currently employed by the Council, as measured in full time equivalents
2. The total annual cost of Diversity Officers in the financial year 2019/20. This should include, salaries, expenses, pensions, travel costs and other remuneration
3. The total cost in fees and expenses for any employees to attend any workshops, training courses or conferences concerning equality, diversity or inclusion issues
3. For 2019/20 s follows:
- 256 employees have been trained in Equality & Diversity, run by South West Councils for £2,460
- 28 Members have been trained in Equality & Diversity, run by Theatre Learning for £2,638
- 49 Managers have been trained in Neurodiversity, run by BisNet for £230.00
- 40 managers were trained on our Equality & Diversity Policy, run internally by the Council’s HR team
- One of the Council’s HR team attended a Disability Confident training morning session on Untapped Talent, run by Next Steps at no cost to the Council
1. How many employees are working for your organisation, including full-time, part-time, and contracted staff?
2. What is your current intranet solution? (Sharepoint, Wordpress, Invotra, etc)
3. How long have you been using this intranet solution?
4. When is your intranet contract up for renewal?
5. What is your annual intranet budget?
6. Do you share an intranet/IT services with other organisations, if so who?
7. Which team and/or individual(s) are responsible for managing your intranet internally?
8. Are you using the Office 365 suite? If so, which applications from the suite are in use?
9. Which team and/or individual(s) are responsible for your intranet’s procurement within the organisation?
10. Is your Active Directory hosted on-premise, or in the cloud?
11. Could you provide us with a link to your Digital Workplace Strategy?
1. 339 = Full Time
4. This is an open source, therefore no contract is in place
5. There is no intranet budget. The Council purchases support packages in blocks of 40 hours for Umbraco, the intranet and website as required. We are unable to specify just an intranet amount
6. The Council provides ICT for a couple of Parish councils, a shared Building Control service with Mid Devon District Council and a shared Crematorium service with Torridge District Council
7. The ICT team are responsible for the infrastructure and website management. The communications team are responsible for the content
8. Yes, Office suite, Exchange Online, Skype for Business, Teams and Stream.
9. ICT Team
10. On Premises
11. The Council does not have a Digital Workplace Strategy
Braunds Blinds (rear of 58 South Street, Braunton):
Provide any correspondence received relating to the condition of the former Braunds Blinds workshop (property to the rear of 58 South Street, Braunton), in particular any concerns raised by neighbours in the last 2 years
The Council’s Building Control team confirms that:
On 31 May 2018 the premises was reported to them as being a potentially dangerous structure; however the premises was subsequently visited by one of the teams Surveyors and considered not present a danger to the public at the time and so no further action was taken
On 11 November 2019 the premises was reported to Building Control as being a potentially dangerous structure; however upon inspection by one of the teams Surveyors it was considered not present a danger to the public at the time and so no further action was taken
Building Control confirms that there is no actual correspondence entered into with regard to either of the above as both reports were taken verbally by telephone
The Council’s Environmental Protection team has searched their records covering the requested period, and confirms that no complaints or concerns have been received regarding the premises
|7210||08.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX18 7BH||Applicant provided with the information, where held and also directed to the Council’s website for some of the information||None|
|7211||28.07.20||All information (all letters, emails and other correspondence as well as any reports or documents which include all the words specified) held by the council which contained the following words; ‘John Gower’ ‘Quiet Waters’ ‘71397’, between the 1st April 2020 and the 29th June 2020||Information provided to the applicant, where held within the requested time period that is not made publicly available via the Planning Tracker||None|
1. Does your Local Authority provide charged for non-statutory Environmental Health & Licensing related services to the public and / or businesses?
2. If you have answered yes to question 1, please provide a list of the non-statutory services which you offer to the public and/or businesses. Please also provide the equivalent hourly rate(s) you charge for each of the above-mentioned services? If a service has a bespoke element to the chargeable rate please provide an averaged figure
3. Has your Local Authority, or anyone on behalf of your Local Authority, set up a Company to provide non-statutory Environmental Health & Licensing related services to the public? If so, please provide details of the Company name(s) and website(s)
4. Does your Environmental Health Service (or equivalent) provide chargeable services to other departments within your Local Authority? If so, please provide details of services and the chargeable hourly rate.
5. How long have these charged for services been operating
6. What level (£) of income have these services brought into the Council in the last 4 years?
1. ICT/IM&T/IS Strategy - The IT department strategy or plans, highlights their current and future objectives
2. ICT Org Chart - A visual document that presents the structure of the IT department, please include name and job titles. If this cannot be sent, please work towards a structure with job titles
3. ICT Annual or Business Plan - Like the ICT strategy but is more annually focused
4. ICT Capital Programme/budget - A document that shows financials budget on current and future projects
1. No currently strategy is held; awaiting initiation of Change Programme
2. Applicant provided with a copy of the current ICT structure with just Job Titles. The Business Information Systems Manager is Nina Lake, email@example.com, 01271 388232
3. Short-Medium Term Roadmap plans to deliver:
• Contract with free sustainable ICT Asset Disposal Company
• Feasibility of Corporate WiFi vs Always on VPN
• Feasibility of using Share Point & One Drive to maximise our MS Subscription Agreement
• Digital Transformation: Outputs from Vanguard Reviews that require Digital Development
• Feasibility of using Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots to deal with low value, mundane, admin tasks
• Upgrade the Website and get external bodies to test our accessibility to ensure we meet Government guidelines
• Determine costs and benefits of moving our back-ups to the cloud and in addition to this purchase Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), to enable us to recover those business solutions that the Council has identified as priorities for recovery
4. Applicant referred to the Council’s Strategy and Resources, 3 February 2020 committee for the current approved ICT capital programme:
|7214||08.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX32 0JR||Applicant advised that no information is held||None|
|7215||08.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX34 8BZ||Applicant advised that no information is held||None|
Details of any regulation 17 (31st March 2017) certificates currently in place in your business rates hereditament database – Please note this is a hereditament level query and not ratepayer specific and is therefore not exempt
The certificate information should contain the following information,
• Certificated Rateable Value
|Information provided to applicant in Excel format, which is available upon request||None|
|7218||01.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX36 4EB||Applicant advised that no information is held||None|
1.a) Since 23 March 2020, has the Council held any virtual meetings of your executive?
2.a) Since 23 March 2020, has the Council held any virtual meetings of the full council?
b) If the answer to a) is Yes, please state on what date the first meeting took place?
c) If the answer to a) is Yes, please state how many such meetings took place in total between 23 March and 23 June 2020.
3. Since 23 March 2020, has the Council made it possible for the public to participate in council meetings virtually? If Yes, please give a brief description
1. The Council does not have an Executive; it has a committee structure in place
2. Not yet, the first meeting of full Council is scheduled to take place virtually, Wednesday 22 July 2020
3. The Council has held the following virtual meetings which are open to the public:
a) Strategy and Resources – 3 meetings (including one to be held week beginning 6th July 2020)
b) Planning Committee – 2 meetings (including one to be held week beginning 6th July 2020)
Governance Committee – 1 meeting
1. Confirm whether the council has had any arrangements or contracts with ‘property guardian’ companies in the last three years?
- The name of the company
1. No, the Council has not had any arrangements or contracts in place in the last three years.
CON29 information relating to a property in EX35 6NU
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 in Braunton (no postcode supplied)
Applicant provided with the information, where held and also directed to the Council’s website for some of the information
Information held by the Authority in respect of “Safety Hazard Areas” and “Military Explosives Storage areas” (if any exist within your authority area boundaries)
In planning terms, within “the General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015 (as amended) – Schedule 2 Part 3 (changes of use)” reference is made to the existence of ‘safety hazard areas’ and ‘military explosive storage areas’ – the presence of which precludes the existence of permitted development rights to certain, otherwise lawful, changes of use
We have attempted to locate useful spatial data in respect of these notified areas – but, to date, have been unable to find accessible information in the public domain
We therefore request provision of/ access to; mapping information covering the whole authority area (or beyond) which identifies these “safety hazard areas” or “military explosive storage areas” – the provision of which shall enable us to ascertain if any given property, or part thereof, is situated within the bounds of those areas. Again, we understand that these notified areas are provided to the Authority by the Health and Safety Executive or the Office for Nuclear Regulation. We likewise presume that the MOD provides details of military explosive storage areas to the authority, where any exist
Please note that we do not require explicit details of each particular hazard as such – just the geographic position and external boundaries thereof (so that we can determine if a property / structure is excluded from the associated permitted development rights). The data should ideally be based upon (preferably searchable) Ordnance Survey mapping – so that precise boundaries and locations can be assessed without the need for specialist software. Failing this, provision in a .KMZ / .KML format would be acceptable – so that the information can be accessed via “Google Earth”
It was confirmed that the Council does not hold any information concerning Military Explosives Storage Areas. However it does hold some information regarding Safety Hazard areas
However, this information was provided to the Council by the HSE for its own internal purposes. The Council has contacted the HSE regarding the provision of its information and they confirm that they do not consent for the Council to provide this information
Furthermore, they confirm that the information regarding this is already publicly available via the following link: https://www.hse.gov.uk/landuseplanning/developers.htm
HSE provides a free service for developers specifically to answer the question whether a property is within a safety hazard area
The Council is not obliged to provide information that is already publicly available via other means, in this case, the applicant is able to contact the HSE direct
Information related to the collection of council tax debts via the use of Liability Orders and related enforcement action for the last financial year ending April 5th 2020:
1. How many Court Summons did the Council issue for debts relating to Council Tax payments?
2. How many Liability Orders did the Council successfully obtain for debts relating to Council Tax payments?
3. How much total revenue did the Council collect as a result of attachment to earnings and bailiff/sheriff enforcement action for debts relating to Council Tax payments resulting from Liability orders?
4. How much total revenue did the Council lose as a result of non-recoverable debts relating to Council Tax payments?
5. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, has the Council suspended enforcement action for council tax debts?
6. If yes to 5, until what date is action currently suspended?
3. The Revenues team confirms that they do not record the payments received separately for these, therefore information is not recorded
4. The Revenues team confirms that they do not record this information separately from other write offs and so this information is not recorded
6. 24 August 2020
Plan for moving onto the next phase of accommodating rough sleepers:
The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Luke Hall MP, sent a letter to all Local Authority Chief Executives in England on 28 May 2020, with the subject of ‘Moving onto the next phase of accommodating rough sleepers’. In this letter Mr Hall stated: “I am now asking that you put in place a plan of support for all rough sleepers accommodated in hotels and other forms of emergency accommodation during the response to the pandemic”. In reference to this plan he said: “We are asking for these initial plans to be set out by 11 June”
Applicant requested copy of the authority’s ‘initial plan’ (ie. the plan that the authority set out by 11 June, or any later date if relevant, in line with the request made in Mr Hall’s letter), in whatever form it took
Also, the applicant requested any updates the authority may have made to its plan since 11 June
Applicant provided with a copy of the plan, in PDF format, which is available upon request
(a) addresses and rateable values of all empty commercial properties that are within your Council area; and
(b) the names of the owners of those properties referred to in (a)
a) Applicant referred to the Council’s Business Rates datasets that are published on a quarterly basis:
Advised, that in accordance with Section 22, the next update will be published in July 2020
b) the Revenues team who produce the datasets, only hold the names of the applicable ratepayer(s) and not the actual owners of the properties identified in the datasets, therefore the requested information at b) is not held. Any ratepayer(s) who are sole traders/individuals that can be identified are redacted/withheld in accordance with Section 40 of the Act, as the information is considered to be personal. Section 40(2) provides that personal data is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. In this case Section 40(3)(a)(i) is met because disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle contained in the Data Protection Act 1998. This is an absolute exemption and there is therefore no requirement to consider the public interest
|Sections 16, 21, 22 and 40 of Act|
Zoo Licensing Act – update to date copies of Formal Inspection Reports and Stocklists for all zoos in North Devon area
Information provided to the applicant where held, with personal information redacted throughout
|Section 40 of Act|
CON29 information relating to a property in EX34 8LH
Details on the policy about old technology and what is currently happening with the old technology from the council and from the educational institutions you are funding. In particular:
1. Our WEEE collections are securely collected by Stone Computers Ltd
2. The Council does not record this information
3. There is no contract in place, no charge for collections based on having a minimum of 25 qualifying items. We are provided with a WEEE certificate and full AMR (Asset Management Report) which details every data-bearing item securely recycled with serial numbers, asset tag numbers and description of the item
4. Our WEEE collections are securely collected by Stone Computers Ltd and either erased using Blancco data erasure software in order for the item to be recycled and then either donated to www.itschoolsafrica.org which is a charity that helps setup classrooms with IT equipment giving children the chance to use technology that they would otherwise not be able to access; Or used for the Microsoft get on line initiative www.getonlineathome.org which has been in place since 2012. Recycled IT equipment such as laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones are securely erased, re-programmed with latest software and supplied to vulnerable families, children with disabilities or low-income households from the grants provided by the government
Stone also re-sell via their e-commerce website www.stonerefurb.co.uk which is a public-facing where IT equipment can be purchased at a fraction of the cost
Education (including schools, colleges, universities throughout the whole of the UK) have access to www.stonerefurb.co.uk and receive further discounts by applying a designated discount code
The total number of complaints to North Devon District Council regarding disability discrimination since records began, broken down
1. Disability discrimination relating to public transport
2. Disability discrimination relating to private transport (Taxis)
3. Disability discrimination relating to private businesses
4. Disability discrimination relating to public spaces
If complaints against private enterprise is not registered by local councils, please ignore that part of the request and return with a total number of complaints against the council only
1. Applicant referred to Devon County Council for this information: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The Council’s Licensing team confirms that they hold no records of any complaints that fall under the remit of the request.
3. The Council does not record complaints made about private businesses to the Council, however the Council’s received of the following complaints made regarding Council services:
One in 2015/16 – Disabled Parking spaces at North Devon Crematorium
One in 2019 - Council Car Parks/Use of RingGo for payment
4. The Council’s Parks and Leisure team confirms that they hold no records of any complaints that fall under the remit of the request
|7232||09.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX31 3HQ||Applicant advised that no information is held||None|
For the periods:
January 1 2010 to June 15 2010
1. How many Dog Wardens or other ‘competent officers’ (as subsequently defined by the Defra guidance) were employed by your local authority?
2. How many reports of dog-fouling were made?
3. How many reports of dog-fouling were investigated?
4. How many owners were issued with verbal advice?
5. How many owners were issued with written advice?
6. How many fines were issued?
7. How many were prosecuted in civil courts?
8. How many were prosecuted in criminal courts?
9. How many reports were there of dogs acting dangerously or in an uncontrolled manner?
10. How many were investigated?
11. How many owners were issued with verbal advice?
12. How many owners were issued with written advice?
13. How many fines were issued?
14. How many were prosecuted in civil courts?
15. How many were prosecuted in criminal courts?
January 1 2010 to June 15 2010:
1. Zero - dog warden service provided by an external contractor
2. – 14. These figures are no longer held due to Document Retention Policy
2. – 5. These figures are no longer held due to document Retention Policy
9. – 12. These figures are no longer held due to document Retention Policy
January 1 2020 to June 15 2020:
1. One (+ One vacant post)
All communications since 1st November 2019 between North Devon Council and RES, the operator of the wind turbines at Batsworthy Cross
|Applicant provided with the information held in PDF format/electronic format, with a small amount of personal data redacted||Regulation 13|
From 1 January 2017 to the day of the response, please provide information on the number of trips to China taken by council officials (both elected and unelected) in the course of conducting council business
For each trip, providing the following information:
- The date and duration of the overseas trip, as well as the Chinese city that was visited
- The full name, title and position of the council officials who went on the overseas trip as well as the number of people who travelled
- The reason or reasons why the council officials went on the trip and an explanation as to how the trip benefited the council
- A list of places the officials visited and the people they met (please provide as much detail as possible)
- The cost of the trip (please provide a breakdown of costs including travel costs, accommodation costs, expenses and any other costs)
- Please state whether the council met the costs of the trip, or whether an individual, group, company, consortium, charity or another organisation met the costs, including Chinese companies or government bodies
- Please provide the full name of the individual, group, company, charity or organisation that met the costs. If it is a group or consortium, please state who or what composes the group or consortium
- Details of any gifts received by the officials, their value and which organisation, individual gave them gift
- Details of any financial benefits received by the council as a result of the trip - eg. free office space in China
- A copy of the itinerary for each trip
|It was confirmed that from 1 January 2017 to date, there have been no trips to China taken by council officials (both elected and unelected) in the course of conducting council business||None|
|7237||16.07.20||For companies whose ‘nature of business’ (SIC) as listed on Companies House falls under:
• 01700 (Hunting, trapping and related service activities)
• 82990 (Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified)
• 93199 (Other sports activities)
A list of:
1. Those that received money from the Small Business Grant Fund between 1 April 2020 and 1 July 2020
2. How much these companies received
3. The date the grant money was paid to the company
The request relates to specific companies whose nature of business fall under the three companies house reference numbers:
• 01700 (Hunting, trapping and related service activities)
The Revenues team confirms that they do not hold/record the codes from companies house, therefore they are unable to identify the properties that would fall under them; therefore they do no hold the necessary information in order to be able to respond to the request
|7238||13.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX36 4RY||Applicant advised that no information is held||None|
1. How many fire door replacement or maintenance works were scheduled to take place in Q1 and Q2 2020 across social housing properties in your local authority area; and how many properties were affected?
2. How many fire door replacement or maintenance works actually took place in Q1 and Q2 2020 across social housing properties in your local authority area; and how many properties were affected?
3. How many fire door replacement or maintenance works to social housing properties in your local authority area that were scheduled to take place in Q1 and Q2 2020 were delayed beyond their planned start date for any reason; and how many properties were affected?
4. How many fire door inspections in social housing properties in your local authority area were delayed during Q1 and Q2 2020 for any reason; and how many properties were affected?
5. What plans are in place (as at date received) to commence delayed fire door installation, replacement or maintenance works to social housing properties in your local authority area before 31st December 2020?
|Applicant advised that the Council transferred its social housing stock to North Devon Homes Ltd, 21 February 2000; therefore the information is not held by the authority||None|
1. Our previous research tells us that there are a number of ways that heir hunters can obtain leads from local authorities. Since March 2019, have any referrals have been made to a heir hunter to locate next of kin by the following:
3. We would like to understand if there has been an increase in people dying intestate during the Covid-19 lock down. In total, how many people died intestate in the local authority’s area:
a) during March, April and May of this year?
6. Does the local authority consider that heir hunting/genealogy companies:
a) operate honestly and transparently?
a) provide the reasons for this, including any records or documentation relating to the decision-making process
b) provide any policy or procedure documents which illustrate your best practice approach
a) pay for heir hunting services?
a) ensure that the next of kin understand that the heir hunter is not acting for the local authority in an official capacity in relation to the estate?
5. Not Applicable
6. The Council does not use heir hunting/genealogy companies, therefore it cannot answer these questions.
7. As 6 above
10. Not Applicable
11 - 19. Not Applicable
|7241||16.07.20||Can you confirm that Warrens Bakery, 55 High Street, Barnstaple did or did not receive the government UBR assistance of £10,000 or £25,0000? This sum was sent to the accounts of all registered business under £51000 UBR rating||
The Council is unable to provide a response to this request, as it considers that by making this information publicly available could lead to fraudulent grant claims being made
It is considered that the release of this information would be likely to prejudice the prevention and detection of crime and therefore the Council considers that this information is exempt from disclosure under Section 31(1)(a) of the Act
When applying this exemption, the Council is required to carry out a Public Interest Test which considers the factors that favour disclosure and withholding of the data:
Factors in favour of disclosure
• Promotes openness and transparency about the Council’s distribution of the funding supplied by Central Government
• Help to provide insight into which types of businesses would be eligible for the funding
Factors in favour of withholding
• There is a strong public interest in ensuring that the grant monies are not fraudulently claimed and also a public interest in not making it easier for fraud to be committed
• The Council’s currently verification procedure for the processing of the grants is simple and effective, however it cannot always be certain as to whether some claimants are who they really say they are for every grant processed. If the Council were to make this information publicly available then this would ultimately result in additional verification processes needing to be implemented by the Revenues team at additional cost to the Council and ultimately 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 claimant in that it would take longer for their grant to be paid to them, particularly at a time where some small businesses are struggling and are in desperate need of assistance
• 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 grant claims could be considered and paid out, causing delay in all grant payments 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 not providing the information. 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
Applicant advised that the government publishes data each week regarding grants that are issued, however it does not identify individual premises for the above reasons:
|Section 31 of Act|
|7242||23.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX31 1AN||Applicant advised that no information is held||None|
A list of all gifts and hospitality that have been provided to North Devon Council Planning employees and Planning Committee Councillor members, Between 1st January 2015 and 1st July 2020
In particular any received from Acorn homes of Taunton
Applicant advised that the Planning units records regarding this are not held prior to January 2016
Summary of Gifts and Hospitality given to Planning Officers – 01.01.16 – 01.07.20:
14.04.16 - High Bullen Hotel - Light lunch during meeting
14.04.16 - Peregrine Mears - Ticket to Barnstaple Rugby
No gifts/hospitality has been received from Acorn Homes, Taunton during the requested period for which records are held (1 January 2016 to and including 1 July 2020
Member Services have checked their records and can confirm that there have been no gift/hospitality declarations made by members of Planning Committee during the requested period 1 January 2015 and including 1 July 2020
|7246||23.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX34 9BJ||None|
|7248||31.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX34 8FU||None|
|7249||31.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX34 0EZ||None|
|7252||31.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX34 9SH||None|
|7253||22.214.171.124||CON29 information relating to a property in EX34 0AS||None|
|7254||23.07.20||A list of all caravan and campsites registered in the North Devon area, to include name, address and location of site, contact information for licence holder and type of accommodation at the site||
Applicant provided with the following link to the Council’s website which publishes most of this information:
The dataset provides the:
- site name and address, including postcode
Applicant advised that the Council does not publish the contact details for the licence holders as this information is personal those individual licence holders and that it is only held for the purposes of the Council to contact the licence holders during the time their site is licenced with the authority. The Licence holders would have no reasonable expectation that the Council would make their personal data publicly available this way and therefore is exempt from disclosure in accordance with Section 40 of the Act
|Section 40 of Act|
|7256||31.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX31 1PX||
|7259||31.07.20||CON29 information relating to a property in EX31 3SA||
A full list of businesses who have recently become responsible for a new business premises and responsible for business rates between the 21st June 2020 up to the 24th July 2020 and including:
- the full business name
Applicant advised that the Council is unable to provide the information sought in the format requested
The reporting element that is used by Revenues is only able to extract information on the day that a report is run, which then provides a snapshot as to how the accounts stand on that specific day. The system does not allow the team to select specific historic/past dates back over the years to run reports on to see which premises became liable for Non Domestic Rates. The system used by Revenues is a live system that is continually being updated
Instead, a comparison can be made between the datasets that are published on the Council’s website which provide a snapshot of the accounts held with the authority in April and June 2020:
Applicant advised that the next update is due, in accordance with Section 22 of Act, in October 2020
|Sections 16, 21 and 22 of Act|
1.The total amount of money that is available to be allocated to businesses from the Coronavirus Small Business Fund Scheme in North Devon
2. The total amount of money that to date has been allocated from the coronavirus Small Business Fund Scheme to businesses in North Devon
3. How many businesses to date have been allocated this grant, and how many remaining have been identified by North Devon District Council as in scope for these grants
4. How many holiday let business and self-catering accommodation premises have received payments to date from NDDC from the coronavirus Small Business Fund Scheme
5.How many holiday let business and self-catering accommodation premises that have received payments to date from the coronavirus Small Business Fund Scheme pay full or partial council tax to NDDC
6. How many holiday let business premises who have received payments to date from the coronavirus Small Business Fund Scheme pay business rates or are eligible for small business rate relief (including tapered relief) or rural rate relief
7. How many holiday let business premises who have received payments to date from the coronavirus Small Business Fund Scheme are registered as owned in North Devon, how many are registered as owned out of North Devon
Furthering my previous question:
8. How many and to what total value to date these grants have been paid to people living outside North Devon
9. Whether any proof of letting of the holiday let businesses and self-catering accommodation was required to access these grants
In response to the first three questions, the information is published weekly on the gov.uk website with the latest published data as at 27 July 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses
4. This information is not recorded separately; therefore the only way in which this information could be identified and gathered would require a Revenues Officer to manually check approximately 3,750 accounts, which would take approximately three minutes per account
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 Revenues team that it would take approximately 187.5 hours to provide the requested information. The procedure would cause serious disruption to the day to day working of the Revenues 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
6. Please refer to the Council’s response to 4 above
7. This information is not recorded as the Revenues team only holds the name of the ratepayer, they do not record if they are the owner of the business premises
8. This information is not recorded, please refer to the answer above to 7
|Section 12 of Act|