Cost calculation of a Local Authority Property Search

Christian Lister made this Freedom of Information request to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

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 partially successful.

Christian Lister

Dear Knowsley Borough Council,

A request for information under the FOIA.

(1) A copy of the full calculations and methodology for producing –

One residential Local Authority Property Search in the 2009 financial year

(2) A copy of the full calculations and methodology for producing –

One residential Local Authority Property Search in the 2010 financial year

Kind regards,

Christian Lister

Freedom of Information DCR, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Turner

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request which has been
allocated reference number F10/04/005. It is being forwarded to the
relevant Directorate and you will receive a response within the statutory
deadline of 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Mrs P Jackson

Risk & Resilience Officer

T: 0151 443 3044

E: [1][Knowsley Borough Council request email]

-----Original
Message

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Christian Lister

Dear Freedom of Information DCR,

May I have an update, which is a little overdue, please?

allocated reference number F10/04/005

Yours sincerely,

Christian Lister

Christian Lister

Dear Freedom of Information DCR,

May I have an update, which is long overdue, please?

allocated reference number F10/04/005

Yours sincerely,

Christian Lister

Freedom of Information DCR, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

5 Attachments

Dear Mr Lister

"Thank you for your email and I apologise for not replying sooner.

In essence you are asking for the Council's methodology for changing for
information which is contained in the forms LLC1 and CON29R for the
financial years 09/10 and 10/11.

Charges for the financial year 09/10

Charges for the financial year 09/10 were set in accordance with the
Council's charging policy drawn up under the Local Authorities
(England)(Charges for Property Searches) Regulations 2008 (Charging
Regulations). The Council also had regard to the costing and charging
guidance issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The price payable for a full search (ie LLC1 and CON29R combined) was
£123. Individually the cost for the LLC1 was £20 and CON29R £103.
Applicants were able to select questions from the CON29R and pay for only
those responses selected subject to the payment of an application
processing fee of £7.70 to which was added the cost of each individual
question requested. As you are aware the Charging Regulations only
permitted the Council to set a charging policy which was on the basis of
`cost recovery only'. The rates set out in the charging policy were
calculated following an assessment of the overall costs of providing the
service (including staff time and application processing). The cost was
then divided by the expected number of applications for the financial
years, fixed at 500 (being an average of the previous two financial years)
to arrive at a CON29R cost of £103.

I am pleased to note that the High Court in the recently decided Onesearch
Direct Holdings Ltd (t-a Onesearch Direct) v City of York Council [2010]
EWHC 590 (Admin) (19 March 2010) confirmed the `charging policy' of York
City Council as being valid. It should however be noted that Knowsley
Council went further than York in `unbundling' its charges in respect of
responses to the questions set out in the CON29R form to the benefit of
the all its service users.

Charges for the financial year 10/11

You will recall that you, along with all other users of the Council's
property search information service, were sent a letter dated 1 April 2010
from Elaine Veacock, Practice Manager, setting out the scope of the new
service and the fact that it replaced the old land charges search
service. The letter is attached for your information. The reason for
this change was so as provide a service which was in keeping with guidance
issued by the ICO and various decisions of the Information Tribunal.

In effect the Council now treats all requests for information contained in
the forms LLC1 and CON29R as requests for environmental information under
the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Under those regulations
the Council now provides 'free' inspection to its property records at its
Huyton offices. The Council also offers a 'standard' and 'premium'
service should a person request an electronic version of the property
record without having to visit the Council's offices. In accordance with
Regulation 8(3) the Council is entitled to charge a reasonable charge for
the supply of information in this format. Bearing in mind the resources
needed to both support the service and maintain the IT system on which the
records are held the Council considers that the published charges are
reasonable.

There has been a significant drop in the overall price for essentially the
supply of similar information (albeit on the basis of a different charging
mechanism) between the two financial years. This, however, is a
reflection of the success which the Council has had in reducing the costs
of providing property information as a result of its significant and
continuing investment in a computer system which provides a `one stop'
approach to the supply of property information. This is clearly of
benefit to service users and the market in general in keeping costs down
in relation to property sales.

I trust this helps.

Kind regards

Len Mitchell

Corporate Information Officer.

T: 0151 443 3836

E: [Knowsley Borough Council request email]

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Christian Lister

Dear Len,

Thank you for your response, however you have not answered my request. I requested -

(1) A copy of the full calculations and methodology for producing –

One residential Local Authority Property Search in the 2009 financial year

(2) A copy of the full calculations and methodology for producing –

One residential Local Authority Property Search in the 2010 financial year.

Kind regards,

Christian Lister

Yours sincerely,

Christian Lister