Reasoning behind decision to extend North East Council Legal Panel

Johan Briggs made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Gateshead Metropolitan Borough 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.

Dear Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council,

Since the London Boroughs Legal Alliance (representing 10 London
councils) appointed its legal panel in October 2009 it has
undertaken 3 panel reviews to achieve greater value for money for
the taxpayer.

The opposite appears to have happened with the management of the
Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint legal panel
(representing 5 North East councils). Information in the public
domain suggests that rather than undertake any money saving
reviews, the decision was made to extend the panel on the same
terms and with the same firms for an extra year!

1) Please provide any documents which set out how the decision was
reached to extend the Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint
legal panel for an extra year. This should include any submissions
made to councillors and arguments for / against extending the
panel.

2) When and where does the Council expect to advertise the
opportunity to be part of the next Tyne and Wear Metropolitan
Authority joint legal panel?

3) Please provide copies of any emails sent by Council staff to
staff at current panel law firms relating to the letting of the
next Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint legal panel.

4) Please provide a copy of the last email sent to all staff in the
legal services department reminding them of their obligations to
declare all gifts and hospitality received from law firms.

5) Please provide a list of all gifts and hospitality received by
council staff from members of the panel (broken down by firm) since
1.1.2012.

Thank you in advance for your help with this request. I fully
understand that parts of the emails will need to be obscured to
protect personal and other sensitive information.

Yours faithfully,

Johan Briggs

informationrights, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Briggs

I refer to the request, which you have made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for records held by this department.

Acknowledgement

Your request dated 12 December 2013 was received by this department on 13 December 2013. The officer handling your request is Dawn Parker.

A final decision on your request would normally be sent to you within 20 working days of receipt of your request. This means that you can expect to receive your decision by 15 January 2014.

There are some limited situations under the Freedom of Information Act, which could mean that the period for a final decision may be longer than the normal 20 working days. If this occurs in your request, we will promptly advise you in writing.

Should our final decision not reach you on time, please feel free to call the contact officer named above to discuss any problems that may have arisen.

Yours sincerely
Information Rights Officer

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

informationrights, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Briggs

I refer to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and to your letter to this department dated 12 December 2013.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, we have formally decided to grant access to the records requested and accordingly they are as follows:

1) Please provide any documents which set out how the decision was reached to extend the Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint legal panel for an extra year. This should include any submissions made to councillors and arguments for / against extending the panel.

This information is not held as no such documents are in existence. The option to extend the framework agreement was contained in the original approval and as such no such report to members was required. The extension was effected on the basis of the existing contract terms following discussions between Partner Authorities

2) When and where does the Council expect to advertise the opportunity to be part of the next Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint legal panel?

This information is not held. However in order to assist we can confirm that it is expected this will be advertised in the near future.

3) Please provide copies of any emails sent by Council staff to staff at current panel law firms relating to the letting of the next Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint legal panel.

This information is not held as no such emails have been sent.

4) Please provide a copy of the last email sent to all staff in the legal services department reminding them of their obligations to declare all gifts and hospitality received from law firms.

This information is not held as no such e-mails have been sent. The Council's policy as to gifts and hospitality is set out in the Code of Conduct for Employees which is in the Council's Constitution on the Council's internet.

http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/Council%20an...

5) Please provide a list of all gifts and hospitality received by council staff from members of the panel (broken down by firm) since 1.1.2012.

This information is not held as there have been none.

The information provided in response to your request is copyright Gateshead Council unless otherwise endorsed. Granting access to this information under the Freedom of Information Act does not permit you to re-use the information provided for commercial purposes, for photocopying or reproduction in any form. If you wish to re-use the information you need to apply for a Licence. You can do this by writing to Tanya Rossington, Information Rights Officer, Legal and Corporate Services, 1st Floor, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HH. You may be required to pay a fee or comply with conditions for permitted re-use.

Yours faithfully
Information Rights Officer

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir