MRP [Margate Renewal Partnership] 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.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

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

MRP [Margate Renewal Partnership]
1) What is the relationship between MRP and TDC?
2) What is the relationship between MRP and Margate Town Partnership?
3) Has any money from TDC funds been given to the MRP since 1 January 2005? If so, how much was given in each of the 5 financial years ending on 31 March 2010? Will you please also report:
a) What were the conditions under which the money was given and have the recipients of the money complied with those conditions?
b) How has that compliance been verified by council officers?
c) What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if the recipients have not complied with the conditions of the funding?

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

Kerrie Nichol, Thanet District Council

Ref No:18648 / 1385289

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your communication of 23/06/2010 requesting information regarding the funding and management of Margate Renewal Partnership.

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,

Kerrie Nichol
Information Request Assessor

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Helan Wing, Thanet District Council

Ref No: 18648 / 1385289

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your communication received on 23/06/2010 09:21:23 where you requested the following information:

MRP [Margate Renewal Partnership]

1) What is the relationship between MRP and TDC?

2) What is the relationship between MRP and Margate Town Partnership?

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

a) What were the conditions under which the money was given and have the recipients of the money complied with those conditions?

b) How has that compliance been verified by council officers?

c) What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if the recipients have not complied with the conditions of the funding?

The information you requested is as follows:

Margate Renewal Partnership

1. Thanet District Council (TDC) is a partner in the Margate Renewal Programme and a member of the MRP Board. More information on the Partnership and the composition of the Board is available at www.margaterenewal.co.uk.

Councillor Bob Bayford represents TDC on the Board and is also vice chair of the Board. Councillor Roger Latchford is the deputy member for TDC on the MRP Board.

The staff of the Margate Renewal Partnership (Programme Director and Programme Assistant) are employees of Thanet District Council. The Programme Director reports to the Director of Regeneration in TDC.

2. Thanet District Council is a funding partner of the Margate Town Partnership. Thanet District Council is represented on the Board by Derek Harding (Programme Director of Margate Renewal Partnership) as a co-opted, non- voting member. MTP is not a member of the MRP Board but there is a close working relationship between the organisations to achieve common goals and objectives.

3. The budget for Margate Renewal is presented to the Board on an annual basis. The board reports can be down loaded from the web site: www.margaterenewal.co.uk. Thanet District Council has provided support towards the core costs of the MRP Programme team by providing accommodation at the Media Centre since 2006. Business rates and other costs are picked up by MRP; the contribution refers only to rental. This equates to £40,400 broken down each year to:

2006/7 £0k
2007/8 £10k
2008/9 £10k
2009/10 £10k
2010/11 £10.4k

i) The Council’s support for MRP is conditional upon progress against the objectives and targets set out in the MRP Framework and Implementation Plan. The primary role of the programme team is to co-ordinate activity of the partners, to keep the Board informed of progress and recommend corrective action where necessary. The performance of the programme is monitored on a quarterly basis by the MRP Board through a ‘traffic light’ reporting system.

ii) Progress of MRP is reported to the Council as part of the Corporate Plan annual reporting arrangements.

iii) The Quarterly Progress reports to the MRP Board set out corrective action for specific projects where appropriate. A major review of the programme was undertaken by Shared Intelligence in 2008 and resulted in the Margate Renewal Study which informed the MRP Framework and Implementation Plan 2009 – 2011. The progress reports can be down loaded from the web site: www.margaterenewal.co.uk.

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