Town twinning Costs and benefits to community

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Wakefield City Council,
South Kirby & Moorthorpe Yorkshire and the Humber Sprockhovel in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region of Germany
South Kirby & Moorthorpe Yorkshire and the Humber Lodeve in the Herault region of France

I am writing this notice and request for information because I have recently been informed by a friend of mine that a portion of our council tax is being spent on the above twin towns project.. I have been unable to effectively research this because, as you will understand, most if not all financial information with regards to this, is held by the council and can only be accessed by asking under the freedom of information Act 2000, which Is what I am doing in this instance.

As we are constantly being told that we have to tighten our budgets and that we as a nation are suffering times of austerity, I need to know for my own peace of mind that council tax funds are being used as prudently and effectively as possible.

So I will set out my questions in point for point fashion so as to make it as easy as possible for you to find and forward to me the requested information.

1, How much Public money/Council tax does it cost the Tax payer per year per town we are twinned with?

2, What are the benefits to our Local community, being twinned with towns in both Germany and France?

3, who gets to go to these places and in return who from those places gets to come here?

4, who decided that we should be twinned with these towns and not any other towns?

5, what Objective discussion and voting system was used to obtain the twinning consent from the Local populace?

6, Have any of our Local councillors been paid to/or have used public funds to go to these twinned towns? if so was this deemed to be on our behalf? If so who?

7, how much does it cost the local tax payer per year to send our Local councilors to the twinned towns?

I understand that some information may be withheld under the Freedom of information Act 2000, If this is the case, I request that you use the subsection(6)Ref section 1(a) of the said Act whereby, you can offer information on a "confirm or deny" basis.. and I would be very grateful if you would inform me of any Lawful reason as to why the information Could or would not be forthcoming.

Yours faithfully,

David

Smithson, Galina, Wakefield City Council

Dear David,

Thank you for your request for information. However, to comply with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act which apply to a valid request I require your full name. I would be grateful therefore if you could supply me with it at your earliest convenience.

Please note that unless I receive this information from you, I will be unable to process your request further.

Yours sincerely
Galina Smithson
Freedom of Information Officer
Room 45, Town Hall
Wood Street
Wakefield
West Yorkshire
WF1 2HQ
Tel 01924 306112
e-mail: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Smithson, Galina,

My Full Given Name is David Lloyd

Yours sincerely,

David

Smithson, Galina, Wakefield City Council

Dear Mr Lloyd,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information

Thank you for providing your full name. I can confirm that we are processing your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It is our intention to have the information delivered to you by 18th August 2011.

I would like to inform you that all requests submitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 might be subject to exemption(s), which the Authority is entitled to apply to refuse the request.

In some cases the Authority may also ask that a fee be paid for processing and delivering the information to you. Details of any fee to be charged, if applicable, will be notified to you as soon as possible.

Any future correspondence you may have in relation to this matter should be marked Private & Confidential and sent to the Freedom of Information Officer, Information Compliance Unit, Room 45, Town Hall, Wakefield WF1 2HQ or e-mailed to [Wakefield City Council request email].

Yours sincerely
Galina Smithson
Freedom of Information Officer
Room 45, Town Hall
Wood Street
Wakefield
West Yorkshire
WF1 2HQ
Tel 01924 306112
e-mail: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Smithson, Galina, Wakefield City Council

Dear Mr Lloyd,

After checking our records it appears that you have submitted two identical requests for information using two different e-mails. I will therefore close the latest request (ref 3372) as a duplicate request and would request that in future you avoid submitting multiple requests as they put unnecessary pressure on the council's limited time and resources which could be directed onto important business of providing public services.

Your request ref 3366 will be dealt with in accordance with the FOIA as stated in the acknowledgement.

Yours sincerely
Galina Smithson
Freedom of Information Officer
Room 45, Town Hall
Wood Street
Wakefield
West Yorkshire
WF1 2HQ
Tel 01924 306112
e-mail: [email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Andy Mabbett anodiad ()

"require your full name"? "future correspondence… should be marked Private & Confidential"?

Can someone tell me where in legislation these conditions are enshrined?

Dear Smithson, Galina,
Can you please forward the response to this request to this address. Thank you for your help with this matter..

Yours sincerely,

David

Gadawodd Anastasia anodiad ()

What is the other supposed request Wakefield Council is referring to?

Gadawodd David anodiad ()

I asked for a FOIR from my Private Email..I sent a mail to my Local council but never recieved a reply after well over a month so my friend told me about this web site so here it is...
Cheers... Dave.;)

Gadawodd Anastasia anodiad ()

Ah right ok, thanks in clearing that up.

Gadawodd David anodiad ()

This is the reply I got from Ms Smithson in reply to my request..if anyone has any Ideas on further requests I am open to suggetions..

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please find the information you requested.

1, How much Public money does it cost the Tax payer per year per town we are twinned with?

There has been no budget since 2009/10. However, £180 was spent in 2010/11.

2, What are the benefits to our Local community, being twinned with towns in both Germany and France?

The idea of town twinning stretches back to 1919 when, after World War 1, a link was forged between an English and a French town. It became popular with many Council's after the World War 2 as a means of promoting peace, good will and friendships across post war torn Europe.

Nowadays, well over 1,600 links exist and the number is growing steadily each year though many Council's are twinning with towns and cities throughout the world. The social, economic and sporting interaction between their respective communities help promote international peace and understanding.

Wakefield Council has eight twin towns. To learn more about them visit http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/CommunityAnd...

3, who gets to go to these places and in return who from those places gets to come here?

When twinning activity was taking place prior 2009/10, it may have been appropriate for a Councillor to visit a twin town as part of a reciptical arrangements with the twinning town (eg their cllrs visited us). However, when such twinning activities took place the Council encouraged local sporting and cultural organisations to represent Wakefield and in return sporting and cultural organisations from the twin towns would visit Wakefield. Such exchanges were important in building stronger friendships and understanding between people across Europe. However, no such activity has been undertaken with Council support since 2009/10.

4, who decided that we should be twinned with these towns and not any other towns?

This would have been decided by Cabinet though no new twinning arrangements have been established since 1996. The first was established in 1953. Please note that local town councils may have established their own twinning arrangements - this is not the responsibility of the Council.

5, what Objective discussion and voting system was used to obtain the twinning consent from the Local populace?

This would be agreed by Cabinet and through the Portfolio holder for Culture, Sport and Libraries.

6, Have any of our Local councillors been paid to/or have used public funds to go to these twinned towns? if so was this deemed to be on our behalf? If so who?

There has been no budget for twinning since 2009/10. The budget for twinning was removed as part of the Council's budget savings.

7, how much does it cost the local tax payer per year to send our Local councillors to the twinned towns?

There has been no budget for twinning since 2009/10 so no spend on Cllrs visiting twinned towns has take place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further queries regarding this matter.

Yours sincerely
Galina Smithson
Freedom of Information Officer
Room 45, Town Hall
Wood Street
Wakefield
West Yorkshire
WF1 2HQ
Tel 01924 306112
e-mail: gsmithson@wakefield.gov.uk

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