Groundwork - contracts / funding

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Thanet District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Yn disgwyl am adolygiad mewnol gan Thanet District Council o'u triniaeth o'r cais hwn.

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

We, from 15 groups** ie Residents' Associations, business groups and other community organisations, are writing to request information about your funding of the following organisations or projects. Specifically, we would like to know

Groundwork
1. Has any money from TDC funds been paid / given to Groundwork since 1 January 2005? If so, how much was paid / given in each of the 5 financial years ending on 31 March 2010? Will you please also report:
2. What were the contracts / conditions under which the money was given and has Groundwork complied with those contracts / conditions?
3. How has that compliance been verified by council officers?
4. What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if Groundwork has not complied with the conditions of the contract?
5. What was the initial cost estimate of the individual works and the final cost?
6. If any contracts are related to these jobs, copies of these (including all indexes, appendices and supplements) and the bids to tender.
7. All progress/status reports on all work.

Our preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests.

Many public authorities release their contracts with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public’s interest. The public have an interest in knowing the terms of contracts and grants awarded by public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then we would like to know the following:
• When these confidentiality agreements were agreed
• All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed.
• The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements

We ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements. They go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. We would also point to the Information Commissioner’s guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: ‘Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.’

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

We would be grateful if you could confirm, in writing, that you have received this request, and we look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period.

Regards

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

** Arlington House Residents' Association, Cliftonville Partnership, Cliftonville Residents Assoc, DAAG, Dalby Sq Project, Dane Valley Woods, Godwin Rd, GRASS, Grotto Hill, Hawley Square, Margate Civic Society, Old Town Action Group, Senior Citizens’ Forum, SRAAG, St Paul’s Community Centre

Michael Gilbertson, Thanet District Council

Ref No:18765 / 1390933

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your communication of 23/06/2010 requesting information relating to payments by Thanet District Council to Groundwork in respect of works carried out over the past five years up to 31st March 2010.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Gilbertson
Freedom of Information Assessor

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Helan Wing, Thanet District Council

Ref No: 18765 / 1390933

Dear Sir / Madam

Thank you for your communication received on 23/06/2010 09:48:23 where you requested the following information.

Groundwork

1. Has any money from TDC funds been paid / given to Groundwork since 1 January 2005? If so, how much was paid / given in each of the 5 financial years ending on 31 March 2010? Will you please also report:

2. What were the contracts / conditions under which the money was given and has Groundwork complied with those contracts / conditions?

3. How has that compliance been verified by council officers?

4. What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if Groundwork has not complied with the conditions of the contract?

5. What was the initial cost estimate of the individual works and the final cost?

6. If any contracts are related to these jobs, copies of these (including all indexes, appendices and supplements) and the bids to tender.

7. All progress/status reports on all work.

The information you requested is as follows:

Groundwork

1. There is no funding agreement or grant arrangement between Thanet District Council and Groundwork. Groundwork has provided services to MRP/TDC for two projects and these costs have been covered by MRP.

Coordination of Shell Ladies over summer period weekends in 2009. £2,775.00 for staff and associated costs.
Painting of railings of Marine Gardens. £470.00 towards transport costs for Groundwork team.
Management of Shell Ladies for Late Night in the Creative Quarter May 2010. £275 for staff.

TDC (Community Services) also contributed £1972.00 towards consultation work on the Whitehall Rec Project.

These contracts were subject to standard TDC procurement and contracting procedures.

Each service/supply was verified and checked by the Programme Director of the Margate Renewal Partnership.

No action was required.

Written estimates were obtained for the works. The transport costs of Marine Gardens increased from the original estimate by £250 as the project took longer to complete.

Not applicable.

Not applicable.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: Information Request Assessor, Thanet District Council, P O Box 9 Cecil Street, Margate Kent CT9 1XZ, or send an email to [email address].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours faithfully,

Helan Wing
Business Support Manager

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

Can you tell me who authorised the payment of £20/£25 cash in sealed envelopes to people that responded to a consultation by groundworks held at St. Pauls Community Centre.

Yours faithfully,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Thanet District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Groundwork - contracts / funding'.

The reason we are asking for a review is that we know that Ground Work carried out consultation facilitation at locations and projects that are not detailed in your response:

- St Paul's
- The Media Centre for the public realm consultation for Margate seafront with the architectural firm Jacobs.
- The Tudor House & Margate Museum for heritage open weekend.

We therefore would like you to review your response for accuracy.

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

Yours faithfully,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Thanet District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Groundwork - contracts / funding'.

You have not replied to our request for an internal review requested 12th August 2010. Your reply is outstanding.

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

Yours faithfully,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group