Dear Lewisham Borough Council,

Under the FOI Act, I would like some information about complaints made by social housing tenants regarding their accommodation. I have detailed the documents I would like below:

A) I would like to know whether the council keeps a database of complaints made by social housing tenants, regarding the safety, quality or state of their housing. This includes requests for repairs.

B) If such a database exists, I would like to see it. I understand that certain redactions may be made; I am only interested in seeing the various complaints received by the council and how they were (or were not) resolved.

C) If such a database exists but is too large for redactions to be made within the budget of an FOI request, I would like to see entries for only the year beginning August 1st 2016 and ending August 1st 2017

D) If such a database does not exist, I would like to know how records are kept of tenants' complaints and requests. I would like a copy of all complaints collected between August 1st 2016 and August 1st 2017, in whatever format they are held. Again, I understand that redactions may be made.

Yours faithfully,

Emma Yeomans

Foi, Customer, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Ms Yeomans,

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Environmental Information Regulations 2004
Reference No: 418224

We sincerely apologise for the delay in acknowledging your request. We have recently undergone a restructure and as a result, are experiencing some delays with regard to our information requests.

Thank you for your recent request. Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, subject to the application of any
exemptions/exceptions. Where consideration is being given to exemptions/exceptions, the 20 working day timescale may be extended to a period considered reasonable depending on the nature and circumstances of your request. In such cases you will be notified and, where possible, a revised time-scale will be indicated. In all cases we shall attempt to deal with your request at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information requested where the request exceeds the statutory limit or where disbursements exceed £10. In such cases you will be informed in writing and your request will be suspended until we receive payment from you or your request is modified and/or reduced.

Your request may require either full or partial transfer to another public authority. You will be informed if your request is transferred. If we are unable to provide you with the information requested we will notify you of this together with the reason(s) why and details of how you may appeal (if appropriate). Please note that the directorate team may contact you for further information where we believe that the request is not significantly clear for us to respond fully.

Kind Regards,

Corporate Complaints and Casework Team

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Fowler, Joel, Lewisham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Yeoman,

 

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding.

 

Freedom of Information request: 418224.

 

Thank you for your request for information held by London Borough of
Lewisham, copied below for ease-

 

I would like some information about complaints made by social housing
tenants regarding their accommodation. I have detailed the documents I
would like below:

 

A) I would like to know whether the council keeps a database of complaints
made by social housing tenants, regarding the safety, quality or state of
their housing. This includes requests for repairs.

 

B) If such a database exists, I would like to see it. I understand that
certain redactions may be made; I am only interested in seeing the various
complaints received by the council and how they were (or were not)
resolved.

 

C) If such a database exists but is too large for redactions to be made
within the budget of an FOI request, I would like to see entries for only
the year beginning August 1st 2016 and ending August 1st 2017

 

D) If such a database does not exist, I would like to know how records are
kept of tenants' complaints and requests. I would like a copy of all
complaints collected between August 1st 2016 and August 1st 2017, in
whatever format they are held. Again, I understand that redactions may be
made.

 

We can respond to your request for information as follows.

 

a)    Yes. Lewisham Homes uses a database called icasework to record
complaints. Requests for routine repairs are logged on a separate database
and not classed as complaints unless the tenant raises them as such.

b)    We apply Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000,
‘Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit’, to your
request.

 

Section 12 states:

(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

(2) Subsection (1) does not exempt the public authority from its
obligation to comply with paragraph (a) of section 1(1) unless the
estimated cost of complying with that paragraph alone would exceed the
appropriate limit.

(3) In subsections (1) and (2) “the appropriate limit” means such amount
as may be prescribed, and different amounts may be prescribed in relation
to different cases.

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that, in such
circumstances as may be prescribed, where two or more requests for
information are made to a public authority—

(a) by one person, or

(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,

the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.

(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for the
purposes of this section as to the costs to be estimated and as to the
manner in which they are to be estimated.

 

This acts as a refusal notice. This information is not held in a readily
accessible format. It is estimated that the cost of locating, retrieving
and collating the information would cost in excess of £450 (the set limit)
and therefore exceeds the 'appropriate level' as stated in the Freedom of
Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004
([1]http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/uksi_20...).

 

Costs for staff time i.e. staff retrieving and collating information are
set at £25 per hour and this task would require us to spend more than 18
hours of staff time on preparing the relevant information. You are able to
make a payment so that this task could be undertaken. You may also modify
your request to reduce the cost of this task. Please contact us if you
wish to proceed with one of these options.

 

c)    In the year beginning 1^st August 2016 to 31^st August 2017, there
were 1462 iCasework entries for Lewisham Homes in the complaints category.
We apply Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, ‘Exemption
where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit’, to your request.

 

Section 12 states:

(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

(2) Subsection (1) does not exempt the public authority from its
obligation to comply with paragraph (a) of section 1(1) unless the
estimated cost of complying with that paragraph alone would exceed the
appropriate limit.

(3) In subsections (1) and (2) “the appropriate limit” means such amount
as may be prescribed, and different amounts may be prescribed in relation
to different cases.

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that, in such
circumstances as may be prescribed, where two or more requests for
information are made to a public authority—

(a) by one person, or

(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,

the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.

(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for the
purposes of this section as to the costs to be estimated and as to the
manner in which they are to be estimated.

 

This acts as a refusal notice. This information is not held in a readily
accessible format. It is estimated that the cost of locating, retrieving
and collating the information would cost in excess of £450 (the set limit)
and therefore exceeds the 'appropriate level' as stated in the Freedom of
Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004
([2]http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/uksi_20...).

 

Costs for staff time i.e. staff retrieving and collating information are
set at £25 per hour and this task would require us to spend more than 18
hours of staff time on preparing the relevant information. You are able to
make a payment so that this task could be undertaken. You may also modify
your request to reduce the cost of this task. Please contact us if you
wish to proceed with one of these options.

 

To extract and review each entry would take approximately 1.5 minutes per
case, this would exceed the 18 hour limit.

 

Under Section 16 of the FOI Act, public authorities have a duty to provide
advice and assistance to individuals making requests for information under
the FOI Act. Although we cannot provide individual database records, we
are unable to provide some information relevant to your request. 

 

Lewisham Homes uses a reporting system to interrogate iCasework. This
allows us to extract limited information and does not include a narrative
explanation of resolutions.

 

Please find enclosed a spreadsheet showing Lewisham Homes complaints
entries logged on iCasework in the year beginning 1^st August 2016 and
ending August 31^st 2017.

 

d)    See above.

 

We hope you will find the above and the attached information helpful.

 

You are free to use the information provided for your own purposes,
including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes
of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication,
requires the permission of the copyright holder. You may apply for
permission to re-use this information by submitting a request to
[3][email address]

 

You have a right of appeal against this response which you can exercise by
writing to: Information Governance – 1st floor Town Hall Chambers,
Catford, London. SE6 4RU. Or at: [4][email address]

This must be requested within 40 working days of the date of this
response.

 

If you remain dissatisfied after receiving this decision, you then also
have a further right of appeal, which you can make in writing, stating
your reasons to the regulating body, the Information Commissioner's
Office.

 

Contact details: [5]http://www.ico.gov.uk/ or 0303 123 1113 or Wycliffe
House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

Joel

 

Joel Fowler

Senior Customer Resolutions Officer

Corporate Complaints, Casework & Information Governance Team.

 

London Borough of Lewisham

Address 5^th Floor Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU.

Phone 020 8314 6097

Email  [6][email address]

 

 

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