Reports on the future of Bethnal Green Adult Education Centre

Mike Mitchell made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Tower Hamlets 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 rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am requesting some information from you under the Freedom of Information Act.

The future use of the Bethnal Green Adult Education Centre is a matter of particular public concern at this time. I would be most grateful therefore if you would send me a copy of reports, including financial projections, written during the period 2007 to the present, regarding the future use of this Centre. This includes both short-term plans for use by Bethnal Green Technology College, and longer term plans for the Centre for 2010 and beyond.

I would also like to request a copy of the minutes of items in council meetings from 2007 to date where discussion about the future of the Bethnal Green Centre has taken place.

Yours faithfully,

Mr M. E. Mitchell
37 Athelstane Grove
Bow
London E3 5JG

Jane L Jones, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your email dated today.

I understand your request to be regarding the Bethnal Green Centre.

Your request is being considered and if the information is held you will
receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20
working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to
the information not being exempt.

If the time taken to meet your request is likely to exceed 18 hours, we
will contact you and ask you amend your request to bring it below this
time limit. We will assist you with suggestions of how this might be
achieved.

I may also contact you if the request needs to be clarified; this is to
ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that some information you have requested may not be provided
to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law. In
most cases the reasons will be explained to you along with your copy of
any information that can be released to you.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Jones

Information Governance Administrative Officer

Legal Services

6th Floor

Mulberry Place

London E14 2BG

0207 364 4736

[1][email address]

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mailto:[email address]

Dear Jane L Jones,
Thank you for your promt reply to me enquiry, and I look forward to hearing further from you in due course.

I definitely don't want or expect anyone to spend 18 hours in researching this topic, but thank you for pointing out the relevant upper limit for time spent dealing with such enquiries!

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Dear Jane Jones,
I thought I would send a reminder about my request for information about the Bethnal Green Centre.

By 24 April 20 working days will have passed since my request was made, and I am hoping the information requested will be made available by then

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Dear Jane Jones,
As a month has passed since my initial request for information, including financial projections, regarding the future of the Bethnal Green Centre, I would appreciate receiving your reply at your earliest convenience.

If there is a specific reason why the information requested has not been compiled, I would appreciate it if you would advise me of this.

Thank you for your help over this matter.

Yours sincerely,

MIke Mitchell

Lipy Ali, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Your request for information dated 27 March 2008 has been considered under
the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and the information is
below.

The future use of the Bethnal Green Adult Education Centre is a matter of
particular public concern at this time. I would be most grateful therefore
if you would send me a copy of reports, including financial projections,
written during the period 2007 to the present regarding the future use of
this Centre. This includes both short-term plans for use by Bethnal Green
Technology College, and longer term plans for the Centre for 2010 and
beyond.

1. Decisions on use of buildings, where no permanent change of use is
intended, do not go to formal committees they are taken as operational
decisions by senior officers.

2. When BGTC started to look at plans for BSF in October 2007 the
Director suggested a temporary change of use for the centre. A meeting was
convened with the college and Lifelong Learning to look at alternative
accommodation in Dec 2007.

3. Discussions with Rich Mix and BGTC took place, as did a number of
site visits.

4. A final decision was made in March 2008 to explore the possibility
of a two-year lease on the Rich Mix Centre, to prepare for a July decant -
ready for the school in the Autumn term 2008.

Attached is a copy of the letter given to students at the Bethnal Green
Adult Education Centre.

If you have any queries please get in touch with me to discuss them. You
might like to know that the Council's website [1]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
contains a section on the Freedom of Information Act that lists other
publications readily available from the Council under its Publication
Scheme.

Yours sincerely,

Lipy Ali - Information Governance Officer

Children's Services Directorate

Strategy, Partnerships and Performance

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Mulberry Place, 2nd Floor

5 Clove Crescent

London, E14 2BG

Tel: 020 7364 6570

Email: [2][email address]

Most of the information we provide in response to Freedom of Information
Act 2000 request will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases
the copyright will be owned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The
copyright in other information may be owned by another person or
organization as indicated in the information itself.

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including
for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for
the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for
example, publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will
require the permission of the copyright holder.

For information where the copyright is owned by the London Borough of
Tower Hamlets, details of the conditions of re-use can be found on our
website at [3]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk.

For information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organization, you must apply to the copyright holder to obtain their
permission.

If you unhappy with this response or wish to complain about any aspect of
the handling of this request please write to:

Corporate Complaints Unit

Tower Hamlets Town Hall

Mulberry Place

5 Clove Crescent

London E14 2BG

If you are subsequently not satisfied with the Council's response to your
complaint you have a right of appeal to the independent Information
Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

[4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Further information about the operation of the act is available from the
council's website [5]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk and the information leaflet
in public reception areas in Council buildings.

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http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
4. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
5. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/

Dear Lipy Ali,
Thank you for your reply dated 1st May.
I am shocked that after more than a month (well after the statutory 20 working days) I should receive such a cursory reply which does not include any of the information that I originally requested. Your reply is simply a summary of the procees followed to date, with none of the reports and financial information that I asked for.

Please respond to my original request, which asks for copies of reports produced regarding future options for the Bethnal Green Centre, including financial projections. Clearly Council officers will have produced such reports in order for decisions to have been made. This is a matter of public concern,and the information belongs in the public domain.

I do not want to have to complain formally, and look forward to a proper response from you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Corporate Complaints Unit
Tower Hamlets Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

Dear Sir or Madam,
It is with regret that I write to follow up my initial request of 25th March under the Freedom of Information Act requesting reports (including financial projections)about the future of the Bethnal Green Centre. My request specifically mentioned reports and financial projections concerning both short-term plans for use of the Centre by the Bethnal Green Technology Centre, and longer term plans for the Centre beyond 2010.

After waiting more than a month for a reply, I then received a letter on 1st May from an Information Governace Officer. This reply did not provide the information requested, but simply outlined some of the process followed by the Council in reaching the decision to use the Centre for students of the Bethnal Green Technology College. I note for example that the reply talks about 'the Director suggested a temporary change of use for the centre.'
Meetings between the various parties involved are mentioned, as are site visits and that a 'final decision was made in March 2008 to explore the
possibility of a two-year lease on the Rich Mix Centre, to prepare for a July decant - ready for the school in the Autumn term 2008.' I was told that decisions over the use of buildings 'where no permanent change of use is intended, do not go to formal committees they are taken as operational decisions by senior officers'

Please clarify. Are you saying categorically that no reports about options for the short- and long-term future use of the Centre, including the financial and legal implications of these were produced by Council officers, and that decisions were made solely on the basis of informal discussions and a few site meetings?

If this is not the case, please will you disclose the documents, so that the public can have the information which have informed the Council officer's decisions to date. The reply of 1st May says that in October 2007 'the Director suggested a temporary change of use for the centre'.

I am writing this because I wish to ensure that information concerning decisions about the future of such an important educational resource is published so that there is transparency and accountability to local people, on whos the Council serves.

I do very much hope that this repeated request will meet with the publishing of what information exists, as I really do not want to have to resort to writing to the Information Commissioner over this matter, or take up officers' time unnecessarily.

Yours sincerely,

MIke MItchell

Corporate Complaints Unit
Tower Hamlets Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

16 May 2008

Dear Sir or Madam,

A week has passed since I last wrote requesting clarification over what information exists regarding the future of the Bethnal Green Centre, and for this information to be published. I have not had any acknowledgement of my commplaint to date.

I am writingto say that, given the initial request for information was made on 25 March, I think it is reasonable to expect a local authority to give a full reply within two weeks (by 23 May) to my complaint.

I look forward vey much to hearing further from you.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Tim Rodgers, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

I confirm that I am in receipt of a letter from the Information
Commissioner outlining your complaint against the Council concerning your
request for internal review.

I will reply to the substantive complaint in due course, but would
appreciate if you could provide your postal address as I have documents
relating to your original request for information.

Thanks,
Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services
Chief Executives Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Phone: 0207 364 4354
[mobile number]
Fax: 0207 364 4804
E-mail: [1][email address]
Website: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
6th Floor, Town Hall, 5 Mulberry Place,
London E14 2BG

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Tim Rodgers,
Thank you for contcting me over my request for information over the long-term future of the Bethnal Green Centre.

My address is the same as that which I gave when I first emailed the Council n 25th March which is:

37 Athelstane Grove
Bow
London
E3 5JG

My sole motive in following this request up is to ensure that important information concerning the future of this important educational resource in Bethnal Green is in the public domain, and that wise decisions are made for the long term benefit of local residents.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Tower Hamlets Council

20th July, 2008

Dear Tim Rodgers,

Thank you for your very gracious letter of 16 July apologising for length of time involved in responding to my request for information about the future of the Bethnal Green Centre. Thank you also for pointing me to the Council’s Lifelong Learning and Development Strategy (www.ideastore.co.uk) and for gathering the information which you enclosed with your letter.

This information is helpful in clarifying the position over the next couple of years or so when the centre will be used by students from Bethnal Green Technology College, but unfortunately provides conflicting information about the longer-term future of the centre.

The idea store strategy launched in 2002 clearly envisaged the sale of the Bethnal Green centre linked with the building of an Idea Store near Tesco’s in Bethnal Green. Joanna Gaukroger’s report of 18th March 2008 for the Tower Hamlets College board is consistent with this, stating that after use for two years by the school, ‘there is an expectation that the site would then be sold, with the proceeds placed within a general capital Borough resource.’ The notes of the meeting between Council officers and Joanna Gaukroger on 12th December 2007 (point 6) add that the planning of a new centre ‘would be influenced by decisions on the future of the Idea Store strategy.’

Kevan Collins’ letter to George Galloway of 10th March says: ‘Yes, there are plans for the future use of BGC and for eventual disposal of the building.’ A month later however on 10th April, Fiona Paterson’s wrote to all the students at Bethnal Green saying ‘There are no plans for change of use of the BGC building after the two years, though of course there is a general consideration of the use of all council buildings on a regular basis.’

1 .Please will you clarify whether or not there are specific plans for the sale of the Bethnal Green Centre after two years as I asked for information about the long-term plans for the centre in my original request?

The joint report of the borough’s children services and Tower Hamlets College working group of April 2007 states that ‘Tower Hamlets Children’s Services has in place an Asset Management Plan as the basis for planning the best use of premises for the delivery of services.’
As this document is specifically mentioned in relation to the Bethnal Green centre, please will you also provide the parts of this plan that relate to the future use of the Bethnal Green centre, along with any financial projections, and any other reports that refer to the long-term future of the centre?

2. Please will you also provide a copy of the full report being considered this month by the College Board and referred to by Janet Gaukroger in her March ‘Bethnal Green’ report as this is clearly pertinent to the future of the centre.

3. Given that the future of the Bethnal Green centre and the proposed Idea Store in Bethnal Green are so closely linked, and the strategy states (p44) that ‘Should Idea progress all sections of the community will be represented and consulted in the design stages of the new buildings,’ please will you provide up to date information regarding the Idea Store strategy as it impacts on the future of the Bethnal Green centre. Will the Bethnal Green Idea Store definitely be built please?

I do hope that answering these three points will provide the information to clarify the position over the future of the Bethnal Green centre, and thank you very much for your help over this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell
37 Athelstane Grove
London E3 5JG

Freedom of Information, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

Thank you for your email dated 20 July 2008.

Regarding points 1 and 3, these are questions of policy rather than
requests for specific information under the Act. I have therefore
forwarded these to the responsbile officers who should be replying in
due course. Regarding item 2, I would respectfully refer you to Tower
Hamlets College who are a public authority under the Freedom of
Information Act in their own right.

I have requested a copy of the Asset Management Plan from officers and
will advise further when I have received this.

Thanks,
Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services
Chief Executives Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Phone: 0207 364 4354
[mobile number]
Fax: 0207 364 4804
E-mail: [email address]
Website: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
6th Floor, Town Hall, 5 Mulberry Place,
London E14 2BG

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Tim Rodgers, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Mitchell,

Further to previous correspondence on this matter, I attach two documents
which outline the current position on Bethnall Green Centre.

Thanks,
Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services
Chief Executives Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Phone: 0207 364 4354
[mobile number]
Fax: 0207 364 4804
E-mail: [1][email address]
Website: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
6th Floor, Town Hall, 5 Mulberry Place,
London E14 2BG

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Tim Rodgers,
Thank you for both your emails of 29th July and 4th August in response to my original request for information about the long-term future (i.e. after the next 2 years) of the Bethnal Green Centre.

Thank you for forwarding my questions to the relevant council officers, and I agree that it seems appropriate they should respond to the areas for which they carry responsibility. I do however disagree with your view that my questions 1 and 3 are ‘are questions of policy rather than requests for specific information under the Act.’ I don’t want to be repetitive but my question 1 asked ‘whether or not there are specific plans for the sale of the Bethnal Green Centre after two years.’ Information and policy matters are not mutually exclusive!

This is a substantive issue which needs clarification, particularly as the note of 9th July on Bethnal Green Centre which you attached states that: ‘It is important to note that that there are no current plans to dispose of the Bethnal Green Centre after two years.’ This is flatly contradicted by Kevan Collins' letter to George Galloway of 10th March headed ‘Proposed closure of Bethnal Green Centre’ This states (to repeat): ‘I confirm there are proposals under consideration to close the BGC in the future’. I ask once more for information about these ‘proposals’.

I look forward to receiving a copy of the asset management plan in due course, and thank you for requesting this on my behalf.

Regarding my second question for a copy of the report that was considered in July by the Tower Hamlets College Board, this is a report that the council has in its possession by virtue of Cllrs Abdul Ullah and Clair Hawkins being members of the College Board. It seems unnecessary therefore to ask me to initiate yet another request under the Freedom Of Information Act, and leads me to wonder why it seems so hard for the Council to provide the information that is requested.

I do not ant to prolong this matter and yet I will continue to request the information about the long term future of the Centre as it is a key educational resource in the area, and clear information about future plans should be in the public domain.

Thank you once again for your help over this request.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell
37 Athelstane Groive
Londo E3 5JG

Freedom of Information, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

Thank you for your email.

The note of 9 July is perfectly clear, and in particular the following
passage.

"It is important to note that that there are no current plans to dispose
of the Bethnal Green Centre after two years. Any recommendation for a
change of use or disposal of the centre, or indeed any council owned
building, would have to go through the Council's decision making process
with the decision made by elected members of the Council and the whole
process would be in the public domain with full consultation."

Moreover as the statement from Cllr Hawkins at Full Council reads,

"I can publicly say that there are no current plans to dispose of the
Bethnal Green Centre after two years. To put this in context, the 1999
Idea Store Strategy included a note that BGC would be considered for
disposal to contribute funding for a future Bethnal Green Idea Store. It
is to this that Mr Collins' letter referred. However, ten years on,
cabinet does not believe the proposed business case is still valid and
the strategy is being reviewed."

Given that the process identified above, even if there were draft
proposals under consideration 4 months ago, these would be exempt under
Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that the proposals
would be for future publication (whether the date for publication had
been determined or not). The application for an exemption would be
subject to the public interest test and, whilst I appreciate the
interest that some people have in the future of the centre, it is
against the public interest to have in the public domain suggestions
which have not been formally proposed through the process identified
above, and would of course confuse the crystal clear position that the
documents placed in the public domain have portrayed.

With regards to the Tower Hamlets College minutes, the Councillors are
on the board in a capacity unrelated to their Council business.
Therefore the information is not held by the Council.

We have provided you with the information we are obliged and able to
under the Freedom of Information Act (with the exception of the Asset
Management Plan as discussed). I believe that you have an open
complaint with the Information Commissioner and you have the right,
should you not be satisifed with our response, to escalate matters for
his adjudication.

Thanks,
Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services
Chief Executives Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Phone: 0207 364 4354
[mobile number]
Fax: 0207 364 4804
E-mail: [email address]
Website: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
6th Floor, Town Hall, 5 Mulberry Place,
London E14 2BG

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Dear Tim Rodgers,
Thank you for your email of 4th August, and I apologise for not responding earlier due to my being away until 24th August.

I would like you to know that I have not received any communication from the Council officers you requested to respond to my specific points about the future of the Bethnal Green Centre in two years’ time, and whether the Bethnal Green Idea Store will definitely be built. These were points raised in my email of 20th July.
I also still await a copy of the Asset Management Report regarding the future of the centre you said you said you had requested in your email of 29th July.

I am afraid very little is ‘crystal clear’ as the information I have been sent links the future of the Bethnal Green Centre with the Idea Store strategy. The report by Isobel Cattermole of April 2008 of LBTH Children’s Services and Tower Hamlets College Working Group says for example: ‘As has been previously stated, the centre is part of the idea Store strategy assets and future use will be determined by LBTH and the Idea Store Strategy development plans.’

The public statements you cite are both negative statements rather than poositive ones, and use identical wording: ‘there are no current plans to dispose of the Bethnal Green Centre after two years.’
Saying there are no curnt plans to sell the Centre says nothing about how the Centre will be used after this period.

At the risk of repeating myself, I venture to ask once again: ‘What, please, are the plans for the Bethnal Green Centre after 2010 in the context of the wider Idea Store strategy? As there are no plans to dispose of the building, will the Council please confirm that it will continue to be used for adult education? A direct answer to these questions will help make the position clear.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to ask once again what the Council's long term plans are for the future of the Bethnal Green Centre, including any plans for change of use or disposal.
I would also like to know what the maintenance budget is for 2009-12 for the Bethnal Green Centre.

Since your email of 29th July 2008 telling me that a request had been made for policy information from the relevant council officers and for a copy of the asset management plan to be sent to me, I have received no further information.

Please will you send me urgently a copy of the asset management plan and any other documents relating to the future use of the centre.

I understand that the Council's plans to build another Idea Store in Bethnal Green have changed, and also that the Bethnal Green Centre will not now be used to decant students from Bethnal Green Technology College during major improvement works to the school.

In the light of the apparent lack of a consistent strategy, I would like to request that you confirm whether Cllr Hawkins' 2008 public statement that there are no current plans for change of use of the BGC building after two years remains the Council's policy.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to politely remind you that well over 20 days (37) have passed since my request for an internal review of information under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the future of the Bethnal Green Centre.

I therefore respectfully ask again that you provide the following information.

1. Information about the Council's plans for the future use of the Bethnal Green Centre after its short-term use in connexion with the Building Schools for the Future programme.

2. Information in the Council's asset plan concerning the future of the Bethnal Green Centre that was originally requested by your officers on 29th July 2008. (I appreciate this plan may well have been updated during the intervening 10 months!)

3. Information about the level of the maintenance budget for the Bethnal Green Centre for 2009-12.

I very much hope that as public servants you will want to provide this information for the people of Tower Hamlets, for whom the Centre has been an important educational resource for many years,and is held in great affection by them.

If I don't receive the above information by 11th June (40 days after my request for an internal review), I will reluctantly be making a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

I re-emphasize that this is a matter of great interest and concern to the residents of the borough. The continuing lack of detailed information about the Council's long-term intentions over the Bethnal Green Centre can only serve to fuel speculation about the Council's plans. Clear responses to the above points would do much to allay these concerns.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Freedom of Information, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

I have requested information from officers and will advise.

Thanks,
Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services
Chief Executives Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Phone: 0207 364 4354
[mobile number]
Fax: 0207 364 4804
E-mail: [email address]
Website: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
6th Floor, Town Hall, 5 Mulberry Place,
London E14 2BG

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Tim Rodgers, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

Regarding the first aspect of your request, I can confirm that the
position is as previously outlined in July 2008. For convenience the text
of the briefing note stated:

It is certainly true that there are no longer plans to use the premises
for temporary accommodation for pupils from Bethnal Green Technology
College (BGTC). That said however there are other schools in the area
whose pupils may need to be located at the Bethnal Green Centre while
their premises are modernised through the Building Schools for the Future
(BSF) programme.

School re-building and re-furbishment plans take time to work through and
we have a responsibility to the pupils to ensure that their education is
disrupted as little as possible with alternative premises being made
available if necessary. This is why at the moment there is no change to
the existing position that was agreed last summer about the use of the
Bethnal Green Centre.

The commitment made last June about the use of the Bethnal Green Centre by
the Lifelong Learning Service still stands. That is use of the ground
floor including the workshops and the hall during both the day and evening
and use of the remainder of the building from late afternoon and in the
evenings. There will still be Saturday morning classes and courses in the
weight lifting gym are available day and evening.

At present, the Council and Tower Hamlets College are in discussion about
occupancy of the Bethnal Green Centre.

There are no current plans to dispose of the Bethnal Green Centre. Any
recommendation for a change of use or disposal of the centre, or indeed
any council owned building, would have to go through the Council's
decision making process with the decision made by elected members of the
Council and the whole process would be in the public domain with full
consultation.

I will follow up the remainder of your request and advise shortly.

Thanks,

Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services
Chief Executives Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Phone: 0207 364 4354
Fax: 0207 364 4804
E-mail: [1][email address]
Website: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
6th Floor, Town Hall, 5 Mulberry Place,
London E14 2BG

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
3. mailto:[Tower Hamlets Borough Council request email]

Dear Tim Rodgers,

Thank you for your reply of 9th June regarding my renewed request for information about the future of the Bethnal Green Centre. I do appreciate that you can only communicate the information that you are provided by colleagues, but I am astounded once again at the Council's failure to provide the information requested.

Your reply only refers again to the short-term use of the Centre for decanting students and preventing their education being disrupted by the Building Schools for the Future (BSF)programme. This is simply repeating the position regarding the short-term use of the building that you previously gave.

My original request of 28th March 2008 clearly stated that the information sought included 'both short-term plans for use by Bethnal Green Technology College, and longer term plans for the Centre after 2010 and beyond.'

I do not want to waste officers' time, but please may I ask once again for information concerning the longer term plans for the Centre once the school building programme is complete (point 1 of my May 2009 request).

Thank you for following up the other two areas for which information was requested. I look forward to receiving a copy of the asset plan information regarding the Centre as promised back in 2008 (point2), and information about maintenance budgets for the Centre (point 3.)

I am reluctant to take the matter further, but the future of the Centre is a very importance issue at this time for people in the borough. If the information requested isn't provided by 21st June (50 days after my most recent request), I will take it up with the Information Commissioner.
I very much hope that this can be avoided by simply providing the information requested, which is clearly in the public interest to receive.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Tim Rodgers, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

Further to previous correspondance on this matter, I can now confirm the
two remaining points regarding your Freedom of Information Request.

Firstly, the Asset Management Plan was discussed at Cabinet on 9 January
2008 at item 10.3. There is nothing specifically about the Bethnall Green
Centre in the plan. The report can be found at :

[1]http://moderngov.towerhamlets.gov.uk/Pub...

Secondly, regarding a maintenance budget I can advise that there is a
premises maintenance budget for Lifelong Learning of £87,400 to cover
reactive, statutory and planned maintenance but there is not a specific
allocation for the Bethnal Green Centre as requirements and need will vary
from year to year and have to be prioritised. It is fair to say,
therefore, that we do not hold detailed information relating specifically
to the BGC.

We trust this concludes matters with this request. I am sorry for the
protracted time this has taken to resolve.

Thanks,
Tim Rodgers
Information Governance Manager
Legal Services
Chief Executives Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Phone: 0207 364 4354
Fax: 0207 364 4804
E-mail: [2][email address]
Website: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
6th Floor, Town Hall, 5 Mulberry Place,
London E14 2BG

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

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1. http://moderngov.towerhamlets.gov.uk/Pub...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
4. mailto:[Tower Hamlets Borough Council request email]

Dear Tim Rodgers,

Thank you for your reply of 24th July telling me how I can read the Council’s Asset Management Plan online, and for information about the general maintenance budget for Lifelong Learning. This information is much appreciated.

Your reply of 24th July 2009 continues: ‘It is fair to say, therefore, that we do not hold detailed information relating specifically to the BGC.’

The building is not a school and so according to the asset management plan is not excepted from corporate standards. I appreciate that you will not possess the information requested, but the plan explicitly contradicts the statement that the Council does not hold detailed information relating specifically to the BGC. This is shown by the following extracts from the asset management plan:

1. Asset Register and Data Management
‘7.2 The Asset Register is held and maintained by the Corporate Property Team, in conjunction with the Director of Resources. This contains a record of all the Council’s physical assets, together with information relating to their location, tenure, use, size, value(s), and estimated remaining life. This is updated centrally by the Asset Registrar and Terrier Clerk following every property transaction to ensure its accuracy, completeness and currency.’

10. Repair and Maintenance Procedures
‘10.1 As part of asset management data the Council keeps a record of condition survey information for each property, and assesses the risk that this poses
to continued service delivery. This information is being used to determine planned maintenance programmes for all Council property assets, which in turn inform budget setting to ensure that the Council’s estate remains operational, and moves towards overall fitness for purpose.’

Performance and Delivery Plan
1.0 Maintenance Backlog
‘1.5 Existing condition surveys covering the following have been collated and,reviewed:
• Fabric Condition
• Asbestos
• Compliance with the Disability Discrimination
Act
• Fire Risk Assessment’

11.0 Monitoring
‘11.4 Expenditure on Repairs and Maintenance is monitored corporately for planned maintenance programmes and at Service level against budgets for
reactive repairs as part of the Council’s regular budget monitoring process. All expenditure is coded to enable building-by-building analysis to inform
sufficiency. This information is used to inform property review processes.’

4.0 Property Review Programme
‘4.2 For the plan period it is proposed that the following programme of reviews will be progressed:
Review: Community Buildings
Objectives: To enable implementation of standard tenure procedures, to improve financial transparency.
To identify any areas of under-use or unsuitability.
To enable informed consideration of implementation of the Quirk Report. To improve service delivery & value for money.
Target for completion by end FY 2008/9’

Asset Management Plan Performance Indicators
Corporate Property Indicators - Enabling Comparison of Performance against other COPROP Members to Inform Benchmarking
Table sets out how these indicators will function.

In light of the asset management plan, I would be most grateful if you would forward this email to Chris Naylor, Resources Corporate Director, so that he can respond to the request for information which follows.

I repeat that my sole motive in pursuing this matter is to ensure that the valuable community resource of the Bethnal Green Centre is adequately maintained for long-term future use by the local community for educational purposes.

This is in agreement with section 12.6 of the asset management plan, linking the plan to other strategies:

‘12.6 At a community level, the Council recognises that its community portfolio performs a wide range of social and service related functions, and cannot simply be viewed from a financial perspective. The impact of any proposed change to the portfolio is therefore examined across all user areas and is the subject of extensive consultation to ensure that the full benefit of the resource is taken into account in any decision making process.’

I would like to request the following information for the Bethnal Green Centre under the Freedom of Information Act, and in line with the Asset Management Plan’s stated strategic objective for community buildings ‘to improve financial management and transparency.’

1. Full Information from the asset register relating to the location, tenure, use, size, value(s), and estimated remaining life of the centre.

2. Full information contained in the latest condition survey, including Fabric Condition, Asbestos, Compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act, Fire Risk Assessment’

3. Full information from the building-by-building coded analysis for expenditure on repairs and maintenance for 2007-8, 2008-9, and details of budgeted expenditure for 2009-10.

4. Full information regarding the centre from the property review programme for which the target completion date was March 2009.

5. Information from the most recent tables of the asset management corporate indicators.

6. Information about the future tenure of the Centre from 2009 onwards.

Thank you for your help with this request, and I look forward to the information requested being made available to the public on the ‘what do they know?’ website so that accurate information informs local discussion about the future of the Centre.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Jane L Jones, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Sir/Madam

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your email.

Your request is being considered and if the information is held you will
receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20
working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to
the information not being exempt.

If the time taken to meet your request is likely to exceed 18 hours, we
will contact you and ask you amend your request to bring it below this
time limit. We will assist you with suggestions of how this might be
achieved.

I may also contact you if the request needs to be clarified; this is to
ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that some information you have requested may not be provided
to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law. In
most cases the reasons will be explained to you along with your copy of
any information that can be released to you.

Yours faithfully,

Jane Jones

Information Governance Administrative Officer

Legal Services

6th Floor

Mulberry Place

London E14 2BG

0207 364 4736

[1][email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
file:///tmp/BLOCKED::mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
3. mailto:[Tower Hamlets Borough Council request email]

Dear Jane L Jones,

Over a month has now passed since my most recent request, and 18 months since my original request for information about the Bethnal Green Centre.

I would be most grateful therefore if you would make enquiries on my behalf over what is happening regarding my request, and let me know when I can expect to receive the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Gadawodd wizarf of boz anodiad ()

Mike,yr a hero

Jane L Jones, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

10 Atodiad

Dear Mr Mitchell

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - IGT_FOI_09_ 2168/01 - Bethnal Green Centre

Your request for information has been considered under the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and the information is attached/below.

1. Full Information from the asset register relating to the location,
tenure, use, size, value(s), and estimated remaining life of the centre.

See attached - Summary information from the asset register (not all items
requested are included on the register)

2. Full information contained in the latest condition survey, including
Fabric Condition, Asbestos, Compliance with the Disability Discrimination
Act, Fire Risk Assessment'

See attached - Asbestos survey (several docs) and fire risk assessment.
We do not have either a condition survey or a DDA survey.

3. Full information from the building-by-building coded analysis for
expenditure on repairs and maintenance for 2007-8, 2008-9, and details of
budgeted expenditure for 2009-10.

See attached - Analysis of the building expenditure for 2007/8 and 2008/9
and 2009/10 to date.

4. Full information regarding the centre from the property review
programme for which the target completion date was March 2009.

There is no property review information currently available.

5. Information from the most recent tables of the asset management
corporate indicators.

There are no corporate indicators currently available.

6. Information about the future tenure of the Centre from 2009 onwards.

The building will remain in the Council's tenure with continued use for
Lifelong Learning and temporary school decant

If you have any queries please get in touch with me to discuss them. You
might like to know that the Council's website [1]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
contains a section on the Freedom of Information Act that lists other
publications readily available from the Council under its Publication
Scheme.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Jones

Information Governance Administrative Officer

Legal Services

6th Floor

Mulberry Place

London E14 2BG

0207 364 4736

[2][email address]

Most of the information we provide in response to Freedom of Information
Act 2000 request will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases
the copyright will be owned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The
copyright in other information may be owned by another person or
organization as indicated in the information itself.

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including
for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for
the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for
example, publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will
require the permission of the copyright holder.

For information where the copyright is owned by the London Borough of
Tower Hamlets, details of the conditions of re-use can be found on our
website at [3]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk.

For information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organization, you must apply to the copyright holder to obtain their
permission.

If you unhappy with this response or wish to complain about any aspect of
the handling of this request please write to:

Corporate Complaints Unit

Tower Hamlets Town Hall

Mulberry Place

5 Clove Crescent

London E14 2BG

If you are subsequently not satisfied with the Council's response to your
complaint you have a right of appeal to the independent Information
Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

[4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Further information about the operation of the act is available from the
council's website [5]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk and the information leaflet
in public reception areas in Council buildings.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
2. mailto:[email address]
file:///tmp/BLOCKED::mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
4. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
5. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
6. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
7. mailto:[Tower Hamlets Borough Council request email]

Dear Jane L Jones,

Thank you for gathering the available information regarding the Bethnal Green Centre, and for making it available to the public. The information helpfully fills in some of the areas for which information was lacking, and I am grateful.

The reply stated that 'the building will remain in the Council's tenure with continued use for Lifelong Learning and temporary school decant.'

It is public knowledge that,following the transfer of the building from the former GLC, there was an unsigned lease for many years concerning use of the building by Tower Hamlets College .

I am aware that for some months negotiations have been
taking place between the Council and the College over a new lease for the building.

I would like to request under the Freedom of Information Act that, once the lease has been signed, it is made available on this site. It is a matter of very substantial local public interest, especially to the students and staff who use the site.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Dear Tower Hamlets Borough Council,

This is to follow up my request of 29th December 2009 under the FOI Act asking for a copy of the lease between the Council and Tower Hamlets College regarding the Bethnal Green Centre to be posted on the 'What do they know? website.

I understand that the lease has now been finalised, and so I would be grateful if you would publish it as requested.

Please will you also provide information, as requested in my original 2008 request under the FOI Act, what the Council's long-term plans are for the Bethnal Green Centre, after its use to provide temporary accommodation for Oaklands School is over.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Mitchell

Tahmina X. Begum, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - Request Ref. No.-2988

Thank you for your request made under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

Your request is being considered and if the information is held you will
receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20
working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject
to the information not being exempt.

If the time taken to meet your request is likely to exceed 18 hours, we
will contact you and ask you to amend your request to bring it below
this time limit. We will assist you with suggestions of how this might
be achieved.

We may also contact you if the request needs to be clarified; this is to
ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that some information you have requested may not be provided
to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law. In
most cases the reasons will be explained to you along with your copy of
any information that can be released to you.

You can also search our online Disclosure Log for the information you
are seeking. The Disclosure Log provides a list of information that has
been provided in response to previous FOI requests. To search our
online Disclosure Log, please go to the following link

http://www.towerhamletsfoi.org.uk/tracke...

Kind Regards

Tahmina Begum
Information Governance Team
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
6th Floor, Mulberry Place
Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

Tel : 0207 364 4932
Fax : 0207 364 4804

Email : [email address]
Website : http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Tahmina X. Begum,

Thank you for your acknowledgement of my latest request of 30th April 2010 for information under the FOI Act regarding the Bethnal Green Centre.

25 days have now elapsed since this request was received by the Council. I would be grateful if you would do all you can to ensure the information requested is provided by the relevant officers as soon as possible.

To recap, the request was for the following information to be published on the 'What do they know?' website:

1. A copy of the recently agreed lease for the Bethnal Green Centre between the Council and Tower Hamlets College.

2.Information, as requested back in 2008, regarding what the Council's long-term plans are for the Bethnal Green Centre, after its use to provide temporary accommodation for secondary school students under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

I look forward to receiving this information at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Mitchell

Tahmina X. Begum, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mr Mitchell,

We are doing our very best to deliver this response to you as soon as
possible.

The deadline for this request is however on 01/06/10.

I will keep you updated.

Kind Regards

Tahmina

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Samir Kamil, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Dear Mike Mitchell,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000: IGT_FOI_04_2988_Lease between the council
and Tower Hamlets College

Your request for information dated 10^th May 2010 has been considered
under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and the
information is below.

1. Provide a copy of the lease between LBTH and Tower Hamlets College

In accordance with the Freedom of information Act 2000 this paragraph acts
as a Refusal Notice for question 1.

The exemption being applied is Section 22 - Information Intended For
Future Publication. This exemption applies as the lease is still yet to be
granted. Once the lease has been granted then it will be published and
made available to the general public through the land registry office.

It is in the public interest for the council to only publish finalised and
accurate information that is not still subject to change.

I am sorry that this portion of the request is not being met on this
occasion.

2. What are the council's long-term plans for the Bethnal Green
Centre after its current temporary use.

The building will remain in the Council's tenure for continued use for
Community Learning and any decision about Council assets will be taken by
the Council's Cabinet.

Yours sincerely,

Samir Kamil

Strategy team

Strategy, Partnership & Performance

Children, Schools and Families Directorate

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Mulberry Place

5 Clove Crescent

London E14 2BG

Tel: 0207 364 2159

Fax: 020 7364 5928

Email: [1][email address]

Web: [2]www.childrenandfamiliestrust.co.uk

Most of the information we provide in response to Freedom of Information
Act 2000 request will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases
the copyright will be owned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The
copyright in other information may be owned by another person or
organization as indicated in the information itself.

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including
for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for
the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for
example, publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will
require the permission of the copyright holder.

For information where the copyright is owned by the London Borough of
Tower Hamlets, details of the conditions of re-use can be found on our
website at [3]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk.

For information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organization, you must apply to the copyright holder to obtain their
permission.

If you unhappy with this response or wish to complain about any aspect of
the handling of this request please write to:

Corporate Complaints Unit

Tower Hamlets Town Hall

Mulberry Place

5 Clove Crescent

London E14 2BG

If you are subsequently not satisfied with the Council's response to your
complaint you have a right of appeal to the independent Information
Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

[4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Further information about the operation of the act is available from the
council's website [5]www.towerhamlets.gov.uk and the information leaflet
in public reception areas in Council buildings.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Please consider your environmental responsibility: Before printing this
e-mail or any other document , ask yourself whether you need a hard copy

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.childrenandfamiliestrust.co.uk/
http://www.childrenandfamiliestrust.co.uk/
3. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
4. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
5. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
6. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/
7. mailto:[Tower Hamlets Borough Council request email]