Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)

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Dear Brighton and Hove City Council,
Brighton & Hove City Council
Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016)
(CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)

I would be grateful for any information held by BHCC and Mears PLC on the contents of Internal Audit Report A118/001/2016. In particular I am requesting any information held on;

1. Why a decision was taken to restrict the circulation of this report to 8 senior officers including the Author, Mark Winton; who took this decision and when; and if any councillors were informed of this procedure. I would also request confirmation that the restricted distribution list was Geoff Raw, Nick Hibberd, Tracey John, Martin Reid, Theresa Youngman, Glyn Huelin, and Nigel Manvell. It appears strange that the Head of Internal Audit and the Audit Manager are not on the distribution list unless this is just taken as understood.

2. Details of who else within and without of the Council has been provided with a copy of the report since its “publication” on 10.12.15 either in its complete or redacted form.

3. Why only 46 completed repairs were inspected (limited to the period April 2014 – August 2015) despite there being clear evidence of fraud and overcharging. Note that the subcontractor allegedly involved had been used with the “Mears PLC contract” since 2011.

4. How the fact that of 468 post inspections carried out by Mears of work undertaken by the subcontractor only 30 failed is reconciled with 39 ‘door to door’ inspections undertaken by this internal audit of which 8 had been post-inspected by Mears (all had passed) yet of these 8 the audit inspection failed 7 for “significant overcharge”.

5. Given the information above (4) how could it be that a decision was taken that one subcontractor was responsible for the fraud and overcharging when 7 out of 8 post inspections passed by Mears were failed by this internal audit.

6. The report makes 4 “High priority recommendations” yet does not state to whom these recommendations are made. One assumes that a decision such as that to “request” Mears to investigate rather than continue with a comprehensive internal audit would be taken by Members.

7. Who, and under what authority, took the decision that it was acceptable to “negotiate” with Mears on the value of works overcharged between April 2011 and April 2014

Yours truly

Steve Parry

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

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Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

Please find set out below the information in response to the above
request:

 

 

1.   Why a decision was taken to restrict the circulation of this report
to 8 senior officers including the Author, Mark Winton; who took this
decision and when; and if any councillors were informed of this procedure.
I would also request confirmation that the restricted distribution list
was Geoff Raw, Nick Hibberd, Tracey John, Martin Reid, Theresa Youngman,
Glyn Huelin, and Nigel Manvell. It appears strange that the Head of
Internal Audit and the Audit Manager are not on the distribution list
unless this is just taken as understood.

 

The circulation list is in accordance with Internal Audit’s standard
reporting protocol.  Members are not involved in deciding who to circulate
reports to. The distribution list was as you mention above. The Audit
Manager and Head of Internal Audit, whilst not specifically named on the
circulation list received a copy of the report as part of standard
practice and would be actively involved in the review and reporting
process.   Both the Head of Internal Audit and Audit Manager would review
and agree the circulation list as part of this review process.

 

2.   Details of who else within and without of the Council has been
provided with a copy of the report since its “publication” on 10.12.15
either in its complete or redacted form.

 

Redacted versions of the report were shared with members of the Audit &
Standards Committee and Housing and New Homes Committee and Mears Ltd.

 

In relation to officers (the original or a redacted version) was shared
with the Head of Procurement, the Executive Director of Finance &
Resources, the Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Communities &
Housing, Executive Lead Officer - Strategy Governance & Law, Head of Legal
Services, Head of Communications, Democratic Services Manager, two
Communications Managers and a Communications Officer.   

 

3.   Why only 46 completed repairs were inspected (limited to the period
April 2014 – August 2015) despite there being clear evidence of fraud and
overcharging. Note that the subcontractor allegedly involved had been used
with the “Mears PLC contract” since 2011.

 

The sample selected required a balance between trying to identify the
extent to which work had been completed as paid for whilst not unduly
disturbing council tenants.   We believe that sufficient inspections were
completed to enable the council to try to begin to quantify the size of
the concern.

 

4.   How the fact that of 468 post inspections carried out by Mears of
work undertaken by the subcontractor only 30 failed is reconciled with 39
‘door to door’ inspections undertaken by this internal audit of which 8
had been post-inspected by Mears (all had passed) yet of these 8 the audit
inspection failed 7 for “significant overcharge”.

 

The Council calculated overcharges based on information from the door to
door inspections. The Council does not hold further information in
relation to this request.

 

5.   Given the information above (4) how could it be that a decision was
taken that one subcontractor was responsible for the fraud and
overcharging when 7 out of 8 post inspections passed by Mears were failed
by this internal audit.

 

A conclusion was reached that overcharging had occurred by one
subcontractor based on the work of internal audit and housing officers.

 

6.   The report makes 4 “High priority recommendations” yet does not state
to whom these recommendations are made. One assumes that a decision such
as that to “request” Mears to investigate rather than continue with a
comprehensive internal audit would be taken by Members.

 

All recommendations were agreed and accepted by Officers within the
Housing Department in accordance with standard protocol.

 

7.   Who, and under what authority, took the decision that it was
acceptable to “negotiate” with Mears on the value of works overcharged
between April 2011 and April 2014

 

A recommendation was made by Audit that Housing should agree a process to
quantify the value of overpayments. The management response was that
agreement of the total value of the works overcharged  was being
negotiated with the contractor. The lead officers for this action, acting
under delegated authority, were the Interim Head of Property & Investment
and Head of Housing Strategy.    

 

 

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Dear Freedom Of Information,
Many thanks for the information provided in response to request " Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)"

I would, however, be grateful if you could clarify, confirm, or correct the following:

1. You state that "the circulation list is in accordance with Internal Audit’s standard reporting protocol" yet then go on to say, " both the Head of Internal Audit and Audit Manager would review and agree the circulation list". Providing a copy of the "standard reporting protocol" would perhaps clarify this answer?

2. Please confirm who has received a copy of the original report.

3. In relation to the 46 inspections you state, "We believe that sufficient inspections were completed to enable the council to try to begin to quantify the size of the concern." Could you please explain what this actually means and if "to try to begin to quantify" resulted in an accurate assessment of the size of the fraud?

4. In relation to Mears failing 30 of 468 inspections and the BHCC audit failing 7 of the 8 inspections that Mears had passed you claim that "The Council does not hold further information in relation to this request." Could you please confirm this statement is correct as given this is at the centre of the work carried out by the internal audit team it would appear, at the very least, to be rather strange?

5. You state that "A conclusion was reached that overcharging had occurred by one subcontractor based on the work of internal audit and housing officers." Could you confirm that this conclusion was reached by internal audit and housing officers and not Mears PLC as previously reported? Could you also state which housing officers?

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

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Council

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david croydon left an annotation ()

This tells me that the (computer?) systems are not up to the job of monitoring works and that there is insufficient professional building management within the council for this contract. Indeed, insufficient to follow up even when fraud is identified.

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

Please find set out below the information in response to the above
request, apologies for the delay:

 

 

1.    You state that "the circulation list is in accordance with Internal
Audit’s standard reporting protocol" yet then go on to say, " both the
Head of Internal Audit and Audit Manager would review and agree the
circulation list". Providing a copy of the "standard reporting protocol"
would perhaps clarify this answer?

 

The protocol and standard practice referenced in our previous answer are
not written documents. We refer to what is Internal Audit’s working
practice when circulating reports. As the report was from within Internal
Audit, at the time of the report in question, the circulation would have
been determined jointly by the Audit Manager and the Head of Audit before
release. The circulation list for a final report would normally include
the relevant Head of Service and Executive Director, plus other officers
as judged to be relevant to the specific report.

 

 

2.    Please confirm who has received a copy of the original report.

 

A copy of the original report has been circulated to the Chief Executive,
Acting Executive Director of Environment, Development & Housing, Head of
Housing,  Head of Housing Strategy D&PS, Contract Compliance Manager,
Partnering Business Manager, (Acting) Executive Director of Finance and
Resources, (current) Director of Finance and Resources, (current) Head of
Legal Services, Communications Officer.

 

3.    In relation to the 46 inspections you state, "We believe that
sufficient inspections were completed to enable the council to try to
begin to quantify the size of the concern." Could you please explain what
this actually means and if "to try to begin to quantify" resulted in an
accurate assessment of the size of the fraud?

 

The statement means that the 46 inspections provided sufficient evidence
for the council to confirm that over charging had occurred and to initiate
a process to recover the overpayment.  

 

 

4.    In relation to Mears failing 30 of 468 inspections and the BHCC
audit failing 7 of the 8 inspections that Mears had passed you claim that
"The Council does not hold further information in relation to this
request." Could you please confirm this statement is correct as given this
is at the centre of the work carried out by the internal audit team it
would appear, at the very least, to be rather strange?

 

The Council does not have information as to why this is the case and
therefore our initial response that the Council does not hold this
information is the correct response.

 

 

5.    You state that "A conclusion was reached that overcharging had
occurred by one subcontractor based on the work of internal audit and
housing officers." Could you confirm that this conclusion was reached by
internal audit and housing officers and not Mears PLC as previously
reported? Could you also state which housing officers?”

 

Yes the conclusion was reached by internal audit and housing officers. The
key housing officer was the Head of Housing Strategy D&PS. 

 

 

 

 

 

Should you have any further queries about this request, please contact us
via email to [1][Brighton and Hove City Council request email] quoting the
reference number given above.

 

If you are not satisfied with the handling of your request, you can appeal
(Internal Review) within 2 months of the completed FOI. Write to:

 

Freedom of Information Appeals

Brighton & Hove City Council

ICT 4th Floor

Bartholomew House

Bartholomew Square

Hove BN1 1JE

[2][Brighton and Hove City Council request email]

 

If you are still not satisfied after your Internal Review has been
investigated, you can escalate your complaint to the Information
Commissioners Office. The contact details are:

 

The Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Helpline: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (national rate)

e-mail: [3][email address]

Website: [4]www.ico.org.uk

 

 

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example, by making multiple copies, publishing and issuing copies to the
public. Brief extracts of the material can be reproduced under the “fair
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Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Perry,

Apologies, please see additional comments regarding question 4.

In relation to Mears failing 30 of 468 inspections and the BHCC
audit failing 7 of the 8 inspections that Mears had passed you claim that
"The Council does not hold further information in relation to this
request." Could you please confirm this statement is correct as given this
is at the centre of the work carried out by the internal audit team it
would appear, at the very least, to be rather strange?

I understand your query is why the Council’s inspections identified a
higher failure rate than those carried out by Mears. The Council does not
have information as to why this is the case and therefore our initial
response that the Council does not hold this information is the correct
response.”

 

Kind regards,

James McLaughlin
Information Governance Officer I Information GovernanceTeam I IT & D

 

01273 290369 I 01273 295959 I Wed-Fri 8am-4pm

[1]Brighton & Hove City Council

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Working in partnership

GDPR is coming…. To find out more click [4]here.

 

From: Freedom Of Information
Sent: 17 November 2017 3:51 PM
To: '[FOI #433782 email]'
Subject: Unclassified - RESPONSE TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST FOI
8943

 

Please find set out below the information in response to the above
request, apologies for the delay:

 

 

1.    You state that "the circulation list is in accordance with Internal
Audit’s standard reporting protocol" yet then go on to say, " both the
Head of Internal Audit and Audit Manager would review and agree the
circulation list". Providing a copy of the "standard reporting protocol"
would perhaps clarify this answer?

 

The protocol and standard practice referenced in our previous answer are
not written documents. We refer to what is Internal Audit’s working
practice when circulating reports. As the report was from within Internal
Audit, at the time of the report in question, the circulation would have
been determined jointly by the Audit Manager and the Head of Audit before
release. The circulation list for a final report would normally include
the relevant Head of Service and Executive Director, plus other officers
as judged to be relevant to the specific report.

 

 

2.    Please confirm who has received a copy of the original report.

 

A copy of the original report has been circulated to the Chief Executive,
Acting Executive Director of Environment, Development & Housing, Head of
Housing,  Head of Housing Strategy D&PS, Contract Compliance Manager,
Partnering Business Manager, (Acting) Executive Director of Finance and
Resources, (current) Director of Finance and Resources, (current) Head of
Legal Services, Communications Officer.

 

3.    In relation to the 46 inspections you state, "We believe that
sufficient inspections were completed to enable the council to try to
begin to quantify the size of the concern." Could you please explain what
this actually means and if "to try to begin to quantify" resulted in an
accurate assessment of the size of the fraud?

 

The statement means that the 46 inspections provided sufficient evidence
for the council to confirm that over charging had occurred and to initiate
a process to recover the overpayment.  

 

 

4.    In relation to Mears failing 30 of 468 inspections and the BHCC
audit failing 7 of the 8 inspections that Mears had passed you claim that
"The Council does not hold further information in relation to this
request." Could you please confirm this statement is correct as given this
is at the centre of the work carried out by the internal audit team it
would appear, at the very least, to be rather strange?

 

The Council does not have information as to why this is the case and
therefore our initial response that the Council does not hold this
information is the correct response.

 

 

5.    You state that "A conclusion was reached that overcharging had
occurred by one subcontractor based on the work of internal audit and
housing officers." Could you confirm that this conclusion was reached by
internal audit and housing officers and not Mears PLC as previously
reported? Could you also state which housing officers?”

 

Yes the conclusion was reached by internal audit and housing officers. The
key housing officer was the Head of Housing Strategy D&PS. 

 

 

 

 

 

Should you have any further queries about this request, please contact us
via email to [5][Brighton and Hove City Council request email] quoting the
reference number given above.

 

If you are not satisfied with the handling of your request, you can appeal
(Internal Review) within 2 months of the completed FOI. Write to:

 

Freedom of Information Appeals

Brighton & Hove City Council

ICT 4th Floor

Bartholomew House

Bartholomew Square

Hove BN1 1JE

[6][Brighton and Hove City Council request email]

 

If you are still not satisfied after your Internal Review has been
investigated, you can escalate your complaint to the Information
Commissioners Office. The contact details are:

 

The Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Helpline: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (national rate)

e-mail: [7][email address]

Website: [8]www.ico.org.uk

 

 

Re-use of Public Sector Information and Copyright Statement

Where information has been supplied, you are advised that the copyright in
that material is owned by Brighton & Hove City Council and/or its
contractor(s) unless otherwise stated. The supply of documents under the
Freedom of Information Act does not give the recipient an automatic right
to re-use those documents in a way that would infringe copyright, for
example, by making multiple copies, publishing and issuing copies to the
public. Brief extracts of the material can be reproduced under the “fair
dealing” provisions of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1998 (S.29 and
S.30) for the purposes of research for non-commercial purposes, private
study, criticism, review and news reporting. Authorisation to re-use
copyright material not owned by Brighton & Hove City Council and/or its
contractor(s) should be sought from the copyright holders concerned. If
you are considering re-using the information disclosed to you through this
request, for any purpose outside of what could be considered for personal
use, then you are required under the Public Sector Re-use of Information
Regulations 2005 to make an Application for Re-use to the organisation
from which you have requested the information. Applications for Re-use
should be directed to the Data Protection Manager at the address above.

 

 

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communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
communication in error please notify the sender immediately.
Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation.

You can visit our website at [9]http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk

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Dear Freedom Of Information,
Thank you for your assumption regarding the reasoning behind your response to part 4 of the initial request. (20.11.17)

The query is not why the Council’s inspections identified a higher failure rate than those carried out by Mears. It is why, of 8 inspections that were checked by the Council that had previously been passed by Mears Plc, 7 of these were failed by the council audit.

As the Council carried out these checks how is it possible for the council not to hold information on this?

In response to part 3 (17.11.17) you do not explain what is meant by "to try to begin to quantify" especially as it is stated there was no process of quantification only an estimation leading to negotiations between the Council and Mears Plc as to the sums involved.
Yours sincerely,

Steve Parry

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

Thank you for your email. This is an automated email receipt
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Regards,

 

Information Governance Team | 01273 295959 | [2]Brighton & Hove City
Council

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Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

Thank you for your email.

If you are not happy with your response you can request an internal review.

Kind regards,

James McLaughlin
Information Governance Officer I Information GovernanceTeam I IT & D

01273 290369 I 01273 295959 I Wed-Fri 8am-4pm
Brighton & Hove City Council

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Dear Brighton and Hove City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Brighton and Hove City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)'.

There appears to be a refusal to provide information that is available and kept by the City Council with regard to why, of 8 inspections that were checked by the Council that had previously been passed by Mears Plc, 7 of these were failed by the council audit. No justification is given for this refusal for providing information that initially the local authority claimed it did not hold.

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

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

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Dear Freedom Of Information,
YOU SHOULD, BY LAW, HAVE RESPONDED to my request "Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)."

Please advise when a response may be forthcoming

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

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Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

3 Attachments

  • Attachment

    Unclassified RESPONSE TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST FOI 8771.html

    26K Download

  • Attachment

    Unclassified RESPONSE TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST FOI 8943.html

    26K Download

  • Attachment

    RE FW Unclassified RESPONSE TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST FOI 8943.txt

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Dear Mr Parry,

Thank you for your email.

Your initial request regarding " Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report" was originally logged as FOI 8771. A response was provided on the 20/10/17, please see attached. You then replied on 21/10/17 with further comments and within these additional questions. We therefore created a new FOI, reference FOI 8943 to include these additional comments, in which a response was provided on the 17/11/17 (see attached). You then replied with some additional comments, none of which were asking for any recorded information and therefore did not fall under the remit of the FOIA. Finally you were left with the option to proceed with an internal review on the 22/11/17 (please see attached), to which no response was given and so from our perspective this FOI had been responded too and was now closed.

If you are not satisfied with the handling of your request, you can appeal (Internal Review) within 2 months of the completed FOI. Write to:

[Brighton and Hove City Council request email]

Kind regards,

James McLaughlin
Information Governance Officer I Information GovernanceTeam I IT & D

01273 290369 I 01273 295959 I Wed-Fri 8am-4pm
Brighton & Hove City Council

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Dear James McLaughlin ,

Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)

I am in receipt of your "response" dated 21.12.17.

Thank you for providing a FOI reference. In the past a reference was given to each request whenever an initial submission was made and I do not understand why this simple yet effection action has been dropped.

This is the first time I have been informed of a reference for this request and you now send me two! At no stage has there been a request for new information and I fail to understand why a 'new' reference has been attached other than to create confusion over the timescale involved. It is now three months since the initial request.

I find your reference to "further comments and within these additional questions" and to "additional comments, none of which were asking for any recorded information and therefore did not fall under the remit of the FOIA" as misleading. Clarification was sought due to contradictions contained within the response or an absence of information clearly held and requested on 24 September 2017.

I must assume that whoever is responsible for drafting the response agrees with me or they would not have replied.

You refer to your email of 22.11.17 where you state, "If you are not happy with your response you can request an internal review" and go on to claim I did not respond.

I sent the following request 25.11.17;

"Dear Brighton and Hove City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Brighton and Hove City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)'.

There appears to be a refusal to provide information that is available and kept by the City Council with regard to why, of 8 inspections that were checked by the Council that had previously been passed by Mears Plc, 7 of these were failed by the council audit. No justification is given for this refusal for providing information that initially the local authority claimed it did not hold.

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

I received an acknowledgement the same day.

I very much appreciate the type of pressure you must be working under particularly in light of the large percentage and number of ICO investigations that have decided in favour of the complainant. I am sure that life would be much easier if the council asked its staff to work in the interests of transparency rather than conceal information that should be open to public scrutiny. Given that most requests for information are not met anywhere near the prescribed time limit you also need more staff!

I look forward to hearing from you and certainly hope this is before 8 January 2018

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

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Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

Thank you for your email,

I Apologise as I missed your request for an internal review, I will send it over to the relevant person now.

Please be aware that in each response provided the FOI reference is included in the subject heading.

Sorry for the added delay.

Kind regards,

James McLaughlin
Information Governance Officer I Information GovernanceTeam I IT & D

01273 290369 I 01273 295959 I Wed-Fri 8am-4pm
Brighton & Hove City Council

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show quoted sections

Dear Freedom Of Information,

Thanks for your note.

Unfortunately there are many responses that do not include an FOI reference.

Yours truly

Steve Parry

Freedom Of Information, Brighton and Hove City Council

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Data Protection, Brighton and Hove City Council

3 Attachments

Good Afternoon Mr Parry,

 

Please find attached response to request for Internal Review of FOI8771.

If you remain dissatisfied, please contact the Information Commissioner’s
Office.

 

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you. I have been
on annual leave

 

Many thanks,

 

Katie Rees

 

Data Protection I Information Governance Team I IT&D

Brighton & Hove City Council I 01273 291415 

[1]Orbis_email signature_100px [2]partners_email signature_35px
Working in partnership

Please find our new suite of Information Governance policies [3]here.

 

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Dear Katie Rees,

Thanks for your "internal Review".

I am afraid I have had to refer the matter to the ICO

I hope you had an excellent break and are well.

Best wishes

Steve Parry

Data Protection, Brighton and Hove City Council

2 Attachments

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STEVE PARRY left an annotation ()

This has now been submitted to the ICO

Data Protection, Brighton and Hove City Council

Hi Steve :)

No problem. Yes it was a well needed break. I hope you also had a fantastic Christmas and new year.

I am just working through my inbox so I endeavour to respond to all your requests and queries as soon as possible.

As always, many thanks for your patience,

Many thanks,

Katie Rees

Data Protection I Information Governance Team I IT&D
Brighton & Hove City Council I 01273 291415

Working in partnership
Please find our new suite of Information Governance policies here.

show quoted sections

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Parry,

 

We are writing to you in relation to your request dated 22 September 2016
where you requested information for ‘any recorded information that shows
how and why this “overcharge” is correct and who agreed it to be correct’.

 

In relation to information that showed “how and why this ‘overcharge’ is
correct”, you were provided with a series of tables that were used to
calculate the overcharge. We had understood your request to be for
information which showed how the overcharge figures of £274,866 and
£238,247 were correct. If this is not correct, then do please contact us.

 

The following information may be relevant to your request. These are:

 

1.       Job sheets – these job sheets provide a summary of the main job
details including the job number, priority, location, address, contact
details, job description, target dates and the schedule of works charged
by applying the Contracted NHF Schedule of Rates (SOR) & quantities booked
against the specific job. It is anticipated that the 79 jobs that were
jointly inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd would be of the most
relevance to your request. Personal information and the name of the
sub-contractor will need to be redacted.

 

2.       Invoices from Mears Ltd – these invoices show a large figure
based on work undertaken by Mears in one calendar month. The invoice from
Mears is a consolidated invoice covering all aspects of the Housing
Revenue Account budgets and is not specific to Responsive Repairs, which
is the area the credit derived from.  The build-up to this invoice (which
is on a monthly basis) is built up of thousands of jobs & will include
details such as contract (i.e. responsive repairs, doors, kitchens etc.),
the Mears contract number, address, UPRN number, location, patch code,
stock type, status, stage, stage description, priority, job type, date
issued, date due, appointment date, date completed, costs incurred (the
actual cost incurred by Mears) and the job value (the total invoiced job
value) – it is not however split into subcontractor detail or details the
build-up to a specific job. Relevant redactions would need to be made as
appropriate (such as any personal information, name of sub-contractor and
commercially sensitive information).

 

3.       Information created by Audit during their initial investigation –
these are pictures of properties and notes from inspections.

 

4.       Any information created by the Housing team during investigations
– these are the working notes made by individual surveyors when inspecting
properties, any photos that may have been taken and any job specific
feedback reports that may have been issued following visits. A surveyor
from the Council inspected each of the 79 properties that were jointly
inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd. After the inspection, the surveyor
will have added his/her comments into the table detailing the joint
inspections (which has already been provided) and therefore the notes may
not have been retained.

 

 

The above-mentioned information was not used when the calculation of the
overcharge was made, as this was based on the tables already provided,
however, please contact us should you wish to see any of the above
information. Depending on how much of the information you wish to receive,
it may be that the cost limit is exceeded and the Council may rely on
section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This is that it would
cost the local authority more than £450 to comply with the request. This
equates to 18 hours work. In order to give you an indication of how much
information can be provided within the appropriate limit, please see
below.

 

Job sheets – It is estimated that it would take 5 minutes to locate each
job sheet. With 79 job sheets, it is estimated that it will take 6.5 hours
to locate this information.  

 

Invoices from Mears Ltd – It is estimated that it would take 15 minutes to
locate each invoice sought.

 

Information created by Audit – It is estimated that it will take 7.5 hours
to locate this information.

 

Notes made by the Housing team during investigations – It is estimated
that it would take 15 minutes to locate the information created during
each inspection. With 79 inspections, it is estimated that it could take
19.5 hours to locate this information.

 

 

Please contact me on the below telephone number or via email if you wish
to receive a copy of the above-mentioned information.  

 

Yours faithfully,

Sarita Arthur-Crow

 

Lawyer | Brighton & Hove City Council

Room G101, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ | DX59286 Hove 1

T 01273 291568 | [1][email address]

 

My usual working days are Tuesdays and Fridays

 

  

 

 

 

The Legal Services of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County
Council,

Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council working in
partnership

 

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Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,

Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)

Thank you for your email of 26.1.18.

Can I assume that for some reason you have re-opened the FOI request as the last communication (3.1.18) stated the information was not held and advised that for further action I needed to contact the ICO.

You have now found that you have lots of information, so much in fact that I must decide what I need (in other words, what should be made available for the public to see) and what I can ignore. To go from not having the information requested to having so much it is overwhelming is Kafkaesque.

I will need to obtain specialist technical advice as to the most appropriate information to request before responding in full and will be in touch as soon as possible

Yours truly

Steve Parry

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Thank you for your email.

I am not in the office until 30 January 2018. I shall respond upon my
return. 

Many thanks,
Sarita Arthur-Crow

 

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Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,

Brighton & Hove City Council Internal Audit Report (Ref: A118/001/2016) (CONFIDENTIAL - NOT TO BE DISCLOSED)
I received a message in response to my email of 27 January saying you would be in touch after 30.1.18.

I look forward to hearing from you in order that I am able to respond fully to your email of the 26th January

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Thank you for your email.

I am not in the office until 27 February 2018. I shall respond upon my
return. 

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow

 

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Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

Thank you for your email.

You mention an email which stated that I would be in contact after 30 January 2018. I am unclear as to what email you are referring to. I sent you an email on 26 February 2018 and you replied the next day to say that you would need to obtain specialist technical advice and that you would be in contact as soon as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,
Sarita Arthur-Crow

Lawyer | Brighton & Hove City Council
Room G101, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ | DX59286 Hove 1
T 01273 291568 | [email address]

My usual working days are Tuesdays and Fridays

The Legal Services of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council,
Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council working in partnership

show quoted sections

Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,

The email said:

"Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council 24 February 2018
Thank you for your email.

I am not in the office until 27 February 2018. I shall respond upon my
return.

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow"

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Thank you for your email.

I am not in the office until 2 March 2018. I shall respond upon my
return. 

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow

 

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Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

Thank you for your email. Apologies, it appears my 'out of office' has caused confusion. I sent you an email on 26 January and you replied to this on 27 January. As this was a Saturday, you received an out of office message to say that I would return on Tuesday 30 January 2018.

Upon my return to the office, I did not reply to your email of 27 January as it ended with you saying you would be in contact with me as soon as possible if you wished to receive any of the information set out in my email.

Please do contact me by telephone if this would assist. Otherwise, I look forward to hearing whether you would like to have a copy of any of the information set out in my email of 26 January 2018.

Many thanks,
Sarita Arthur-Crow

Lawyer | Brighton & Hove City Council
Room G101, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ | DX59286 Hove 1
T 01273 291568 | [email address]

My usual working days are Tuesdays and Fridays

The Legal Services of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council,
Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council working in partnership

show quoted sections

Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,
Many thanks, I will be in touch within the next few days

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,
Further to our recent correspondence I would be grateful if you could provide the Job sheets for the 79 jobs jointly inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd.

If possible could you also provide the information created by the Housing team during investigations and Information created by Audit during their initial investigation on a random sample of the 79 jobs. Information from Audit and the Housing Team would need to be from the same job.

With thanks

Yours sincerely,

Steve Parry

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Thank you for your email.

I am not in the office until 8 March 2018. I shall respond upon my
return. 

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow

 

Notice to recipient:
The information contained in this electronic mail message is intended only
for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed
and may contain information which is privileged and confidential, the
disclosure of which is prohibited by law.
If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please note
that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this
communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
communication in error please notify the sender immediately.
Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation.

You can visit our website at [1]http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk

Please consider the environment, only print out this email if absolutely
necessary.

Please Note:  Both incoming and outgoing Emails may be monitored and/or
recorded in line with current legislation

 

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Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

Thank you for your email. I will respond in due course.

Many thanks,
Sarita Arthur-Crow

Lawyer | Brighton & Hove City Council
Room G101, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ | DX59286 Hove 1
T 01273 291568 | [email address]

My usual working days are Tuesdays and Fridays

The Legal Services of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council,
Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council working in partnership

show quoted sections

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

In terms of job sheets, there are two documents which the IT system can provide for each job: a work ticket and a job summary. The work ticket contains the same information as the job summary apart from the value of the rate that is charged. Can you confirm that you would like to receive copies of the work ticket?

In terms of the second limb of your request, I can confirm that the jobs inspected by Audit were not the same as any of the 79 that were inspected by Housing. Would it therefore be correct that you do not wish to have this information and that you only wish us to locate the 79 work tickets?

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow | Lawyer | Brighton & Hove City Council
Room G101, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ | DX59286 Hove 1
T 01273 291568 | [email address]

My usual working days are Tuesdays and Fridays

The Legal Services of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council,
Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council working in partnership

show quoted sections

Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,

Thank you for your email of 23 March.

In January you stated that " A surveyor from the Council inspected each of the 79 properties that were jointly inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd."
Are you now stating that the jobs inspected by Audit were not the same as any of the 79?

I also need to clarify;
1. 46 completed repairs were inspected (limited to the period April 2014 – August 2015)
2. Of 468 post inspections carried out by Mears of work undertaken by the subcontractor only 30 failed
3. 39 ‘door to door’ inspections were undertaken by internal audit of which 8 had been post-inspected by Mears (all had passed) yet of these 8 the audit inspection failed 7 for “significant overcharge”.
4. You stated in January that " It is anticipated that the 79 jobs that were jointly inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd would be of the most relevance to your request."
5. In addition "A surveyor from the Council inspected each of the 79 properties that were jointly
inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd."

To be honest you could not make it more complicated if your aim was to hide relevant information.

I must point out that you suggested the "79" jobs are the most relevant but you now say " I can confirm that the jobs inspected by Audit were not the same as any of the 79 that were inspected by Housing"

We have (at least) 5 different inspections;
"Housing"
"The Council and Mears"
"Mears"
"A surveyor"
"Internal Audit"

I would suggest you indicate the number of jobs "inspected" by each of the above five inspectors and how many of these jobs were inspected by 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 or a combination of each.

We can then, hopefully, identify the job sheets that are most relevant

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

Thank you for your email.

A number of inspections were carried out by the Council's Internal Audit team. As the inspections highlighted an issue, the Council's Housing department then carried out inspections together with Mears Ltd. These were 79 in total and the inspections consisted of a Council surveyor and Mears Ltd. The jobs inspected by Audit were not the same ones that were inspected by the Council's Housing department and Mears.

I hope this clarifies any confusion. If it would assist, please feel free to contact me by telephone.

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow | Lawyer | Brighton & Hove City Council
Room G101, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ | DX59286 Hove 1
T 01273 291568 | [email address]

My usual working days are Tuesdays and Fridays

The Legal Services of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council,
Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council working in partnership

show quoted sections

Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,
39 ‘door to door’ inspections were undertaken by internal audit of which 8 had been post-inspected by Mears (all had passed) yet of these 8 the audit inspection failed 7 for “significant overcharge”.

It is these 39 jobs particularly the 7 that failed the internal audit after being passed by Mears that I would like detailed information.

I must also emphasise that your most recent response does not clarify the points made below on 23 March particularly the overlap between the 5 different inspections although it would appear there may now only be four as you now state that the council surveyor did not carry out independent inspections as he worked with Mears.

"In January you stated that " A surveyor from the Council inspected each of the 79 properties that were jointly inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd."
Are you now stating that the jobs inspected by Audit were not the same as any of the 79?

I also need to clarify;
1. 46 completed repairs were inspected (limited to the period April 2014 – August 2015)
2. Of 468 post inspections carried out by Mears of work undertaken by the subcontractor only 30 failed
3. 39 ‘door to door’ inspections were undertaken by internal audit of which 8 had been post-inspected by Mears (all had passed) yet of these 8 the audit inspection failed 7 for “significant overcharge”.
4. You stated in January that " It is anticipated that the 79 jobs that were jointly inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd would be of the most relevance to your request."
5. In addition "A surveyor from the Council inspected each of the 79 properties that were jointly
inspected by the Council and Mears Ltd."

To be honest you could not make it more complicated if your aim was to hide relevant information.

I must point out that you suggested the "79" jobs are the most relevant but you now say " I can confirm that the jobs inspected by Audit were not the same as any of the 79 that were inspected by Housing"

We have (at least) 5 different inspections;
"Housing"
"The Council and Mears"
"Mears"
"A surveyor"
"Internal Audit"

I would suggest you indicate the number of jobs "inspected" by each of the above five inspectors and how many of these jobs were inspected by 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 or a combination of each."

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Thank you for your email.

I am not in the office until 6 April 2018. I shall see your email upon my
return. 

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow

 

Notice to recipient:
The information contained in this electronic mail message is intended only
for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed
and may contain information which is privileged and confidential, the
disclosure of which is prohibited by law.
If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please note
that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this
communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
communication in error please notify the sender immediately.
Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation.

You can visit our website at [1]http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk

Please consider the environment, only print out this email if absolutely
necessary.

Please Note:  Both incoming and outgoing Emails may be monitored and/or
recorded in line with current legislation

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Dear Mr Parry,

Apologies for the delay in responding. I shall try and clarify the matters where there appears to be confusion. Please see below:

1. I am not clear what is meant by "you now state that the council surveyor did not carry out independent inspections as he worked with Mears". There were 79 jobs that were jointly inspected by Mears and a Council surveyor. The Council’s surveyor carried out his/her inspection alongside Mears.

2. As mentioned, the Council's Audit team first conducted investigations. As these investigations highlighted an issue, the Council's Housing department then carried out inspections together with Mears Ltd. The joint investigations were 79 in total. As you had requested that "information from Audit and the Housing Team would need to be from the same job", I emailed to confirm that the jobs inspected by Audit and those inspected by Housing were not the same.

3. For the avoidance of doubt, there were two separate phases of inspections: a) by the Council's Audit team and b) joint inspections by the Council's Housing department and Mears Ltd.

I understand that the information you wish to see is the information relating to the inspections undertaken by Audit (46 inspections). Please note that the Council does not hold the post-inspection notes undertaken by Mears. I would be grateful if you could confirm that you wish to see the information relating to Audit’s inspections.

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow

Lawyer | Brighton & Hove City Council
Room G101, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ | DX59286 Hove 1
T 01273 291568 | [email address]

My usual working days are Tuesdays and Fridays

The Legal Services of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council,
Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council working in partnership

show quoted sections

Dear Sarita Arthur-Crow,

Thank you for your email.

I confirm the need for information on the 46 completed repairs inspected by Internal Audit with particular emphasis on the 39 ‘door to door’ inspections of which 8 had been post-inspected & passed by Mears and 7 of which the audit inspection failed for “significant overcharge”.

Yours truly,

Steve Parry

Sarita Arthur-Crow, Brighton and Hove City Council

Thank you for your email.

I am not in the office until 17 April 2018. I shall see your email upon my
return. 

Many thanks,

Sarita Arthur-Crow

 

Notice to recipient:
The information contained in this electronic mail message is intended only
for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed
and may contain information which is privileged and confidential, the
disclosure of which is prohibited by law.
If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please note
that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this
communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
communication in error please notify the sender immediately.
Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation.

You can visit our website at [1]http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk

Please consider the environment, only print out this email if absolutely
necessary.

Please Note:  Both incoming and outgoing Emails may be monitored and/or
recorded in line with current legislation

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/

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