Common Good Fund Accounts

Ally Tibbitt made this Freedom of Information request to Aberdeen City Council as part of a batch sent to 32 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

Please treat this email as a Freedom of Information request.

It is now ten years since accounting guidance setting out how councils should account for Common Good assets was published.

https://www.cipfa.org/policy-and-guidanc...

In this context, I would be grateful if you could supply the following information from the council:

1. Common Good accounts for the council from 2007/08, 2012/13, and 2017/18. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf format files.

2. The online location of all Common Good accounts for the council from 07/08 - 17/18.

3. An itemised breakdown of all debits from the Common Good account for the last three financial years, showing the recipient, and summary purpose of each debit. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf format files.

4. An itemised list of any Common Good assets that have been sold or otherwise removed from the accounts in the last three financial years. This should show the revenue raised by the sale. In the case of assets that were otherwise removed from the Common Good fund, please provide a short summary explanation of why they were removed. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf format files.

5. An itemised list of any Common Good assets that have been added to the register in the last three financial years. This should include the value of the asset and a description or location of the asset, and the date it was added. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf format files.

6. An itemised list of any Common Good assets that are currently leased to other organisations, including other council departments or public sector bodies. This list should include summary details of the start and end date of the lease, the lease holder, and the annual revenue that is raised from the lease. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf format files.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours faithfully,

Ally Tibbitt

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Tibbitt,

 

Information enquiry reference FOI-19-0336.

 

Thank you for your recent request for information, which we received on 04
March 2019.

 

The scheduled date for our response to your request for information is on
or before 01 April 2019.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in the
meantime.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[1]ACC_Crest_for Salomeh Kheyri Rad | Access to Information Officer
mac email
Aberdeen City Council | Access to Information Team |
Customer Feedback |Customer

Marischal College | Business Hub 17 | 3^rd Floor | Broad
Street | Aberdeen | AB10 1AQ

 

Dial: 01224 522166

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk | Twitter: @AberdeenCC |
Facebook.com/AberdeenCC

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

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2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Tibbitt,

 

Thank you for your request for information, made under Section 1(1) of the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA), and received on 4 March
2019.

 

We would like to ask you to clarify your request so that we can identify
and locate the information which you have requested. Under Section 1(3) of
the FOISA, we do not have to supply you with the requested information
until you have provided us with more detail in this respect.

 

3. An itemised breakdown of all debits from the Common Good account for
the last three financial years, showing the recipient, and summary purpose
of each debit. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or
another machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf
format files.

We would be extremely grateful if you could confirm whether you would like
to receive a summary of the expenditure with a description of what the
expenditure was for, for each line?

 

It is very likely that the specific information you are looking for in
relation to Question 3 above (relating to a list of all debit transactions
for the last three years) will be refused on grounds of cost due to the
way that the information is recorded.  There are 2,064 transactions and an
officer would have to add in the summary information and remove any
information relating to individuals.  This has been calculated to take an
average of 3 minutes per transaction, costing £1,548, exceeding the £600
cost limit under FOISA.

 

Clarifying these points will help us to be sure we are providing, where
possible, the information you are interested in.  Please note we will keep
your request on file for 20 working days whilst we await your
clarification.  It can often be helpful to discuss your request with a
member of our team who may be able to help you frame your request or
explain more about how ACC holds its information; if this is something you
feel may be helpful please do call us, and we will be happy to assist you.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Anna Buchan

Access to Information Officer

     
[1]ACC_Crest_for mac Anna Buchan | Access to Information Officer
email
Aberdeen City Council | Access to Information Team |
Customer Feedback |Customer

Marischal College | 3^rd Floor | Broad Street |
Aberdeen | AB10 1AQ

 

Dial: 01224 522166

www.aberdeencity.gov.uk | Twitter: @AberdeenCC |
Facebook.com/AberdeenCC

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

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Thanks for getting in back to me, I'm happy to clarify.

There are possibly two ways to limit the amount of officer time required to stay under the cost threshold.

Either, simply export three years of debits with the payee information already held, with no further summary information provided. This should not require significant manual work.

Or, provide one years worth of debits, with additional summary info on purpose of spend.

I'd be happy with either of these options at this stage.

Hope this helps.

Yours sincerely,

Ally Tibbitt

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Tibbitt,

 

Information enquiry reference FOI-19-0336.

 

Many thanks for your recent clarification of your information request,
which we received on 14 March 2019. 

 

The scheduled date for our response to your request for information is on
or before 11 April 2019.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in the
meantime.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[1]ACC_Crest_for Salomeh Kheyri Rad | Access to Information Officer
mac email
Aberdeen City Council | Access to Information Team |
Customer Feedback |Customer

Marischal College | Business Hub 17 | 3^rd Floor | Broad
Street | Aberdeen | AB10 1AQ

 

Dial: 01224 522166

[2]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk | Twitter: @AberdeenCC |
Facebook.com/AberdeenCC

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
2. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

7 Attachments

Dear Mr Tibbitt,

 

Thank you for your clarified information request of 14 March 2019 and
please accept our apologies for delay in getting back to you.  Aberdeen
City Council (ACC) has completed the necessary search for the information
requested. Our response is now detailed below.

 

It is now ten years since accounting guidance setting out how councils
should account for Common Good assets was published.
[1]https://www.cipfa.org/policy-and-guidanc...
In this context, I would be grateful if you could supply the following
information from the council:

 

We would like to take this opportunity to advise that information on the
Common Good Fund in Aberdeen including its administration can be found in
the following committee paper:

[2]https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/d...

 

1. Common Good accounts for the council from 2007/08, 2012/13, and
2017/18. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another
machine readable, open format.  It should not be supplied in pdf format
files.

Please refer to the attached spreadsheets FOI-19-0336 – Q1 – 2007-08,
FOI-19-0336 – Q1 – 2012-13 and FOI-19-0336 – Q1 – 2017-18.

 

2. The online location of all Common Good accounts for the council from
07/08 - 17/18.

The common good accounts form part of the Aberdeen City Accounts which can
be accessed from the following link:
[3]https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services...

 

3. An itemised breakdown of all debits from the Common Good account for
the last three financial years, showing the recipient, and summary purpose
of each debit. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or
another machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf
format files. Thanks for getting in back to me, I'm happy to clarify. 
Clarification: There are possibly two ways to limit the amount of officer
time required to stay under the cost threshold. Either, simply export
three years of debits with the payee information already held, with no
further summary information provided. This should not require significant
manual work. Or, provide one years worth of debits, with additional
summary info on purpose of spend.

Please refer to the attached spreadsheet FOI-19-0336 – Q3 – 2017-18
Transactions which gives the 2017-18 transactions with information on the
purpose.  Where no supplier is given, these amounts have been reimbursed
to another Aberdeen City Council Service who has incurred the costs.

 

Please note that an officer’s name has been removed from the Description
column in the spreadsheet.  ACC is unable to provide you with information
on an officer’s name as it is exempt from disclosure.  In order to comply
with its obligations under the terms of Section 16 of the FOISA, ACC
hereby gives notice that we are refusing this part of your request under
the terms of Section 38(1)(b) in conjunction with Section 38(2A)(a) –
Personal Information - of the FOISA.

 

In making this decision ACC considered the following points:

 

ACC is of the opinion that Section 38(1)(b) applies to the information
specified above as the information in question is personal information
relating to a living individual, of which the applicant is not the data
subject.

 

ACC is of the opinion that Section 38(2A)(a) applies, as we consider that
disclosure of this information would be a breach of the ‘lawfulness,
fairness and transparency’ principle.  The individual, who is below Chief
Officer level, has not consented to the disclosure of their information,
and ACC does not consider that they would expect ACC to release this
information about them into the public domain under the FOISA.

 

4. An itemised list of any Common Good assets that have been sold or
otherwise removed from the accounts in the last three financial years.
This should show the revenue raised by the sale. In the case of assets
that were otherwise removed from the Common Good fund, please provide a
short summary explanation of why they were removed.  This should be
supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another machine readable, open
format. It should not be supplied in pdf format files.

Please refer to the attached spreadsheet FOI-19-0336 – Q4 - Sales.

 

5. An itemised list of any Common Good assets that have been added to the
register in the last three financial years. This should include the value
of the asset and a description or location of the asset, and the date it
was added. This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another
machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf format
files.

There are no additions therefore this information is not held.

 

ACC is unable to provide you with information on an itemised list of
Common Good assets as it is not held by ACC.  In order to comply with its
obligations under the terms of Section 17 of the FOISA, ACC hereby gives
notice that this information is not held by it. 

 

6. An itemised list of any Common Good assets that are currently leased to
other organisations, including other council departments or public sector
bodies. This list should include summary details of the start and end date
of the lease, the lease holder, and the annual revenue that is raised from
the lease.  This should be supplied in Microsoft excel format, or another
machine readable, open format. It should not be supplied in pdf format
files.

 

ACC is unable to provide you with some information on an itemised list of
any Common Good assets as it is exempt from disclosure. In order to comply
with its obligations under the terms of Section 16 of the FOISA, ACC
hereby gives notice that we are refusing your request under the terms of
Section 33(1)(b) – Commercial Interests - of the FOISA.

 

In making this decision ACC considered the following points:

 

Do commercial interests exist in relation to the information?

The commercial interests of those parties leasing Common Good property
assets and the City Council, as Landlord of the properties, will be
damaged by release of this information, as it would be a breach of
confidentiality between the parties.  The nature of the commercial
interests are the business affairs of the tenants  (i.e. how much they are
willing to pay to lease properties and the commercial property lease
agreement they entered into with the City Council). Common Good hold these
properties to generate revenue income and we therefore have a commercial
interest in this information.

 

Please describe how disclosure of the requested information would cause
the level of harm required for this exemption?

Any party with whom we negotiate a property lease is entitled to expect
that the essential details of that lease remain confidential between
Common Good and them.  It is in Common Good’s interest to maximise the
revenue income that these properties generate. Putting this information in
the public domain gives every current and potential tenant of Common Good
properties an easy guide on what to offer to settle rent reviews, or what
to offer in rent when one of the properties falls vacant. This will have a
detrimental effect on Common Good’s ability to maximise revenue income
generation.

 

What are the public interest arguments?

ACC recognises that there is a public interest in the use of the Common
Good Fund and to this end has provided the attached information and
published information within committee papers (including
[4]https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/d...).

 

However, ACC recognises that there is a greater public interest in the
Common Good maximising the revenue income that is generated by leasing
those property assets. The published accounts already indicate the
aggregate annual revenue income generated by these properties. Providing a
deeper level of information, so that every individual lease and the rent
payable is identified, is not in the public interest to disclose, as it
detrimentally affects the Common Good’s ability to generate revenue income
at present and into the future.

 

On this basis, it is determined that the public interest lies with not
disclosing this information at this time under the terms of Section
33(1)(b) – Commercial Interests - of the FOISA.

 

INFORMATION ABOUT THE HANDLING OF YOUR REQUEST

 

ACC handled your request for information in accordance with the provisions
of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please refer to the
attached PDF for more information about your rights under FOISA.

 

We hope this helps with your request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Anna Buchan

Access to Information Officer

     
[5]ACC_Crest_for mac Anna Buchan | Access to Information Officer
email
Aberdeen City Council | Access to Information Team |
Customer Feedback |Customer

Marischal College | 3^rd Floor | Broad Street |
Aberdeen | AB10 1AQ

 

Dial: 01224 522166

[6]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk | Twitter: @AberdeenCC |
Facebook.com/AberdeenCC

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.cipfa.org/policy-and-guidanc...
2. https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/d...
3. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services...
4. https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/d...
6. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/