Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Norfolk County Council,
Please provide copies of the fire risk assessments undertaken by the Norfolk County Council as the responsible person for the following sites for the last six years:

Mile Cross Gypsy / Traveller Site (Norwich)
Gapton Hall Gypsy / Traveller Site (Great Yarmouth)
Splashes Gypsy / Traveller Site (Swaffham)
Saddlebow Gypsy / Traveller Site (Kings Lynn)

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Information Management, Norfolk County Council

Good Morning,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request ENQ-332201-S2Q3D4

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 received on 12 May 2019.

We have up to 20 working days in which to deal with your request. If we require clarification regarding your request, we will contact you to explain this. The 20 working day period will then start from the day that we receive your clarification.

You will also be informed in advance if there is a charge for supplying copies of the information.

Please also be aware that, if the requested information contains references to any third parties, we may need to consult these individuals about the release of their personal data before making a decision whether or not to release the information to you.

We will also provide an explanation if any information is not released to you.

Should you have any queries regarding your request, please contact the team by email [email address] or by telephone 01603 222661.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Cooper, Business Support Assistant
Information Compliance Team
Dept: 01603 222661
Room 043, County Hall, Norwich

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Information Management, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Carruthers
 
Freedom of Information Request ENQ-332201-S2Q3D4
 
I refer to your request for information dated 12 May 2019.
 
You asked for:
 
copies of the fire risk assessments undertaken by the Norfolk County
Council as the responsible person for the following sites for the last six
years:
 
Mile Cross Gypsy / Traveller Site (Norwich) Gapton Hall Gypsy / Traveller
Site (Great Yarmouth) Splashes Gypsy / Traveller Site (Swaffham) Saddlebow
Gypsy / Traveller Site (Kings Lynn)
 
Our response:
 
You have asked for a copy of the current fire assessment report for each
travellers site.  We have assumed that you are asking for site wide risk
assessments.  Site wide assessment is not the approach we take to managing
and mitigating fire risk on sites, and therefore we do not hold any
information that meets the scope of your request.  However, in the
interests of openness, below is information about the approach taken to
managing risks on sites and the information that we hold.
 
We regularly review the different aspects of the sites that we own and
manage as part of our ongoing service delivery.  We work with residents
and relevant stakeholders (including Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service) to
identify any steps that can be taken to address fire risks or mitigate any
risk.
 
Alongside assessments, fire risk mitigation is an ongoing issue reviewed
on weekly walkarounds and addressed as appropriate.  Where risks are
identified they are discussed between relevant managers and statutory
agencies and actions agreed.  Where required, letters are sent to relevant
tenants advising them of any issues to be addressed.
 
It is not possible to provide copies of these letters held on file as they
are the personal data of individual residents and are exempt under Section
40 of the FOI Act and Regulation 13 of the EIR.
 
We have provided below dates of fire assessments conducted over the last
18 months, and dates ahead for the next six months:
 

 1. Fire risk assessments were undertaken of staff and communal areas on
Gapton site on 4 March 2019, Mile Cross on 6 March 2019, Saddlebow on
7 March 2019 and Swaffham on 14^th March 2019. We are still compiling
the findings however no significant defects were identified with the
exceptions below:

* Some new electrical items had not been PAT tested – Electrical
contractor commissioned to attend and resolve
* Fire extinguishers due to be tested May 2019 – contractor commissioned
and attending in May 2019.

 

 2. A national independent fire safety consultancy visited Gapton, Mile
Cross and Saddlebow sites on 30 May 2019.  We are awaiting the report
to be independently verified although verbal communication from the
assessor advised the sites were low in risk.  The Splashes site
assessment was due to take place in May but had to be rearranged and
has been rescheduled for end of June 2019.  We expect the reports to
be ready in July.

 

 3. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service undertook a fire assessment on
Splashes site on 18th October 2018. Where issues were identified
letters were sent to tenants.

 

 4. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service undertook a fire assessment on
Splashes and Saddlebow sites on 31 January 2018 and Mile Cross site on
31 October 2017.  An email dated 12 February 2018 summarising the
outcome of the assessments for Splashes and Saddlebow is included
below.  Names of individuals have been redacted under Section 40 of
the FOI Act and/or Regulation 13 of the EIR as explained above.

 
From: Personal Data
Sent: 12 February 2018 13:23
To: Personal Data
Cc: Personal Data
Subject: RE: Fire report you're drafting
 
Hi Personal Data,
 
Personal Data has asked that I summarise the advice the Fire Officer gave
regarding the survey  undertaken on Swaffham and Saddlebow. See link below
for individual letters for Swaffham. I will do Saddlebow this week.
Essentially The Fire officer - Personal Data – advised that he, and we
could only serve advisory notices as regards spacing caravans and static,
as the spacing regulations are actually only guidelines, and not a legal
requirement. Additionally if we were to uphold the spacing infringements,
we may find ourselves in the position of having to ask tenants essentially
remove parts of their homes, or move off the site, as the plots are not
big enough for modern day living. He advised how we could best achieve
safe spacing as far as is reasonably practical, and this I have relayed to
relevant tenants in their letters. There are a few other issues that I
have addressed in the letters, regarding storage of gas bottles and use of
electricity etc. When I have completed the Saddlebow letters I will send
you the link.
 
Personal Data
 
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your request you have the
right of appeal through the Council’s internal review procedure by setting
out the grounds of your appeal in writing to:
 
[1][email address]
or Information Compliance Team
Room 043
County Hall
Martineau Lane
Norwich
NR1 2DH
 
An appeal should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this
notice and should be identified as "FOI Appeal".
 
If you are dissatisfied after pursuing the complaints procedure, you may
apply to the Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a
decision whether your request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of Part I of the Act.  Refer to the ICO
Website at: [2]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ for advice on how to report a
concern.  Or you can write to them at:
 
First Contact Team
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane, Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Bev Whittaker, Information Compliance Officer
Information Management
Tel: 01603 638017 | Dept: 01603 222661
Room 43, Lower Ground South, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich
  

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Norfolk County Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Norfolk County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Fire Risk Assessments'.

1 Norfolk County Council has been required to conduct fire risk assessments of the sites since 2006. I requested details of the assessments carried out within the last six years.

2. Premises assessments are required to be produced. The Norfolk County Council has a standard format for their production.

My request is simple . The level of obfuscation in the response s massive. A fire risk assessment provided the premises is safe is normally conducted every 2 - 3 years. I don't want a blow by blow account of Norfolk County Council's acts. I want as a minimum a copy of the fire risk assessment for each site (from 6 years ago) and a copy of the current fire risk assessment. I don't want details of discussions with the enforcing authority (Norfolk Fire Service). I simply want a copy of the FRA for each premises that Norfolk County Council is required to produce.

If the information requested does not exist.. simply say so. Otherwise provide me with the information requested.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Information Management, Norfolk County Council

5 Atodiad

Good Morning,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

I can confirm your Freedom of Information Request, ENQ-332201-S2Q3D4, has
been progressed to the Internal Review stage and assigned to an
Information Compliance Manager to complete.

 

Thank you,

 

Sarah Cooper, Business Support Assistant

Information Compliance Team

Dept: 01603 222661

Room 043, County Hall, Norwich

[1]Norfolk County Council   [2]Twitter[3]Facebook[4]Web

 

[5]Campaign Logo

 

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Spicer, Lesley, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Carruthers

 

I have now completed my review of your request reference
ENQ-332201-S2Q3D4.  In your request for a review you have stated:

 

“My request is simple . The level of obfuscation in the response s
massive. A fire risk assessment provided the premises is safe is normally
conducted every 2 - 3 years.  I don't want a blow by blow account of
Norfolk County Council's acts. I want as a minimum a copy of the fire risk
assessment for each site (from 6 years ago) and a copy of the current fire
risk assessment. I don't want details of discussions with the enforcing
authority (Norfolk Fire Service). I simply want a copy of the FRA for each
premises that Norfolk County Council is required to produce.

 

If the information requested does not exist.. simply say so. Otherwise
provide me with the information requested.”

 

Norfolk County Council’s response to your request clearly states in
paragraph three:

 

“…and therefore we do not hold any information that meets the scope of
your request.”

 

The remaining information is provided to assist you in understanding the
information that the Council does hold regarding the matters you have
expressed an interest in.  There is no obfuscation in this response and
the Council does not agree with your assessment. 

 

I further find that your implication that the Council is being obstructive
is completely unfounded and I refer you to the ICO guidance on how to
request information which can be found here:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/off... In
particular I draw your attention to the Dos and Don’ts section in which it
states:

 

+-----------------------------------+
| Don't |
|-----------------------------------|
|Use offensive or threatening |
|language. |
|-----------------------------------|
|Level unfounded accusations at the |
|authority or its staff. |
|-----------------------------------|
|Make personal attacks against |
|employees. |
|-----------------------------------|
|Use FOI to reopen grievances which |
|have already been fully addressed |
|by the authority, or subjected to |
|independent investigation with no |
|evidence of wrongdoing being found.|
|-----------------------------------|
|Make assumptions about how the |
|authority organises its information|
|or tell them how to search for the |
|information you want. |
|-----------------------------------|
|Bury your request in amongst |
|lengthy correspondence on other |
|matters or underlying complaints |
|-----------------------------------|
|Use requests as a way of ‘scoring |
|points’ against an authority |
|-----------------------------------|
|Send ‘catch-all’ requests for |
|information (such as ‘please |
|provide me with everything you hold|
|about ‘x’) when you aren’t sure |
|what specific documents to ask for.|
|If in doubt, try searching on the |
|authority’s website or enquiring |
|whether any indexes and file lists |
|are available. Alternatively, ask |
|the authority for some advice and |
|assistance in framing your request.|
|-----------------------------------|
|Submit frivolous or trivial |
|requests; remember that processing |
|any information request involves |
|some cost to the public purse. |
|-----------------------------------|
|Disrupt a public authority by the |
|sheer weight of requests or the |
|volume of information requested. |
|Whether you are acting alone or in |
|concert with others, this is a |
|clear misuse of the Act and an |
|abuse of your ‘right to know’. |
|-----------------------------------|
|Deliberately ‘fish’ for information|
|by submitting a very broad or |
|random requests in the hope it will|
|catch something noteworthy or |
|otherwise useful. Requests should |
|be directed towards obtaining |
|information on a particular issue, |
|rather than relying on pot luck to |
|see if anything of interest is |
|revealed. |
|-----------------------------------|
|Make repeat requests unless |
|circumstances, or the information |
|itself, have changed to the extent |
|that there are justifiable grounds |
|to ask for the information again. |
+-----------------------------------+

 

The Council will not respond to requests which it deems to be vexatious
and exhibiting any of the above behaviours may lead to requests being
refused as such.

 

If you are still dissatisfied following this review, you may apply to the
Information Commissioner under Section 50 of the Act for a decision
whether your request for information has been dealt with in accordance
with the requirements of Part I of the Act.  Refer to the ICO Website at:
[2]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ for advice on how to report a concern.  Or
you can write to them at:

 

First Contact Team

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane, Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Kind regards

 

Lesley Spicer, Information Compliance Manager 

Information Compliance Team, Strategy and Governance Dept

Tel: 01603 222661

Room 043, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DH 

 

 

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