Cost of fees at public inquiries

Stephen Holloway made this Freedom of Information request to Lambeth Borough Council

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Waiting for an internal review by Lambeth Borough Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Lambeth Borough Council,

Please can you let me know the name of all consultants (including their fees) engaged by the Council on the Island Site appeal - site opposite 10 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall?

Can you also please explain the procurement process and advise whether it was subject to competitive tender?

What was the total cost of the appeal to the local authority?

Who within the authority authorised the expenditure, and did this follow the Council's proper procurement procedures?

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Holloway

FoI, Lambeth Borough Council

FOI Acknowledgement

 

Thank you for your FOI Request reference 165773.

 

Please quote this reference in any further correspondence pertaining to
this request.  The Council anticipates responding within the statutory
period of 20 working days following the date of receipt; in this case the
due date is 09/11/12.

 

Please note that our preferred email address to receive Freedom of
Information requests is [1][Lambeth Borough Council request email]

 

Thank you for your interest in Lambeth Council.

 

 

 

FOI Team

Governance & Democracy

[2][email address]

Phone -  0207 926 7717

Address - Room 205, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW

 

 

"This email (and/or attachment) may contain information that is legally
privileged.  If you have received this in error please notify the sender
immediately"

 

LAMBETH– the co-operative council

 

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Ewing,Paul, Lambeth Borough Council

Dear Stephen Holloway,

 

This is a response to your FoI request related to the cost of fees at
public inquiries, specifically those related to the appeal of the Vauxhall
Island site application (our reference 10/02060/FUL, Inspectorate
reference APP/N5660/A/11/2157961). You asked:

 

 1. Please can you let me know the name of all consultants (including
their fees) engaged by the Council on the Island Site appeal – site
opposite 10 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall?

 

 2. Can you also please explain the procurement process and advise whether
it was subject to competitive tender?

 

 3. What was the total cost of the appeal to the local authority?

 

 4. Who within the authority authorised the expenditure, and did this
follow the Council's proper procurement procedures?

 

For clarity I have summarized the information related to the consultants
into a table:

 

Procurement
Consultant Name Company Purpose method Authorisation Cost
Project Transport Alison Young
Mr Neil Wisher Centre consultant 3 quotes (a) (d) £22,000.00
6 Pump Legal Best Alison Young
Mr William Upton Court Counsel interest (b) (d) £30,500.00
Mr Nicholas 6 Pump Legal Best Alison Young
Ostrowski Court Counsel interest (b) (d) £540.00
6 Pump Legal Best Alison Young
Mr John Dowlman Court Counsel interest (b) (d) £540.00

 

 

(a) The procurement of Project Centre as Transport Consult was carried out
using the Council’s ‘3 quotes’ approach, which requires production of a
simple specification and then obtaining 3 written quotes from 3 different
suppliers. The supplier to deliver the service is then selected based upon
either lowest price offered or a combination of price and quality
elements.

 

(b) The procurement of legal services are classified under part b of the
Public Contracts Regulations 2006. The selection of William Upton as
Counsel was made as demonstratably in Council’s best interest in line with
our procurement guidelines for legal services.

 

(c) Sir Terry Farrell gave evidence to the Inquiry in relation to the
commissioning of his architectural practice to provide architectural and
design advice and guidance in Vauxhall. There was therefore no separate
procurement or cost in relation to this consultant.

 

(d) All payments in relation to this Inquiry were authorised by Alison
Young, Divisional Director of Planning, Regeneration and the Environment
in line with the Council’s proper procurement procedures.

 

To consider overall cost to the Council we would need to consider other
costs in addition to the above consultants. The only other external cost
in this instance was in relation to the venue where the Inquiry was held,
YMCA Stockwell at a cost of £12,475.20. This venue was selected from a
Council list of venues that have suitable facilities for appeals that
includes Stockwell YMCA, Oval Cricket Ground, and Lambeth Town Hall. The
selection is made based upon a combination of availability during the
required period, suitability of room size, proximity to the venue and
cost.

 

The total cost of the appeal to Lambeth Council can therefore be described
as the sum of the above mentioned costs; £66,055.20.

 

Should you have a complaint about the way your request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act has been dealt with, please contact
the Corporate Complaints Unit, Lambeth Town Hall, SW2 1RW or e-mail
[1][email address]

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you may
contact the Information Commissioner, who can be reached at:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Tel: 01625 545 700

Fax: 01625 545 510

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act can be found on the
Information Commissioner's website [2]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

Regards,

 

Paul Ewing
Divisional Support Manager
Planning, Regeneration and Enterprise
Housing, Regeneration and Environment Department
London Borough of Lambeth
phone: 020 7926 2585
mobile: 07946 230852
email: [3][email address].uk 
website: [4]www.lambeth.gov.uk

1st Floor, Phoenix House

10 Wandsworth Road

London SW8 2LL

Lambeth – the cooperative council

 

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Dear Mr Ewing,

Thank you for your reply, which is far from clear.

Who were the other 2 consultancies who quoted for the transport element of this appeal, and what was their respective fee quotation? Where was the contract for this element of the work advertised?

In terms of the legal services of W Upton, please advise of other quotations received and from which chambers? In which way was the appointment of W Upton 'demonstrably in Council’s best interest'? Please clarify the reference to 'interest'?

Can you please specify the extra fees paid to Sir Terry Farrell for making a comprehensive submission to, and giving evidence at, the public inquiry? In answer to another FOI question, you specify that the fees paid to Sir Terry Farrell as part of the work on the Vauxhall SPD - so how much of that fee was in respect of work undertaken on behalf of the Council at the public inquiry? Why did the Council not obtain 3 quotes for the work undertaken by Sir Terry Farrell in line with proper procurement procedures?

What was the cost of officer time in the preparation of evidence and giving evidence at the inquiry. Please specify the name of the officers who worked on the case and the approximate number of hours dedicated to this inquiry.

Whose decision was it to withdraw the application (which was recommended for approval). Why, and upon whose authority, was the decision made to withdraw the report only 3 days before the Planning Committee?

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Holloway

FoI, Lambeth Borough Council

FOI Acknowledgement

 

Thank you for your FOI Request reference 165773 (2) .

 

Please quote this reference in any further correspondence pertaining to
this request.  The Council anticipates responding within the statutory
period of 20 working days following the date of receipt; in this case the
due date is 11/12/12.

 

Please note that our preferred email address to receive Freedom of
Information requests is [1][Lambeth Borough Council request email]

 

Thank you for your interest in Lambeth Council.

 

 

 

FOI Team

Governance & Democracy

[2][email address]

Phone -  0207 926 7717

Address - Room 205, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW

 

 

"This email (and/or attachment) may contain information that is legally
privileged.  If you have received this in error please notify the sender
immediately"

 

LAMBETH– the co-operative

 

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Dear FoI,

Thank you for taking 7 days to acknowledge my letter/request.

I look forward to your response within 13 days.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Holloway

Ewing,Paul, Lambeth Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Holloway,

 

I am writing in response to your request for further information received
on 13 November 2012, following on from your original request concerning
the cost of fees at public inquiries, dated 12 October 2012 and our
response dated 8 November 2012.

 

You asked a number of additional questions which are repeated below with
our responses.

 

1. Your question: Who were the other 2 consultancies who quoted for the
transport element of this appeal, and what was their respective fee
quotation? Where was the contract for this element of the work advertised?

 

Our response: The other consultants that quoted were Mott MacDonald, Steer
Davis Gleave, and Transport Planning Practice.

 

We will not disclose the quotes of these consultants as we believe to do
so would compromise their commercial interests. This information is
therefore exempt under S43 (Commercial Interests) of the Freedom of
Information Act and Regulation 12(5)(e) (Confidentiality of Commercial
Information) of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). Please
see the separate attached document for further information in relation to
these exemptions.

 

The contract was not advertised and instead a specification was sent to 9
consultants who were chosen because they undertake this type of work. This
was not advertised because the value of the work was originally envisaged
to be under £25,000 which means that under the council’s procurement
regulations there is no obligation to advertise as long as a minimum of 3
quotes are obtained.

 

2. Your question: In terms of the legal services of W Upton, please advise
of other quotations received and from which chambers? In which way was the
appointment of W Upton 'demonstrably in Council’s best interest'? Please
clarify the reference to 'interest'?

 

Our response: The Council did not obtain three quotes for the procurement
of legal services on this appeal.  Officers exercised their professional
discretion in selecting a suitably qualified and experienced barrister and
decided that, in their opinion, W Upton would present the evidence and
explain the relevant issues at the inquiry fairly, professionally and
competently.  The Council’s ‘interests’ lay in presenting matters to the
inquiry in a fair, professional and competent manner in support of the
Council’s case.

    

3. Your question: Can you please specify the extra fees paid to Sir Terry
Farrell for making a comprehensive submission to, and giving evidence at,
the public inquiry? In answer to another FOI question, you specify that
the fees paid to Sir Terry Farrell as part of the work on the Vauxhall SPD
- so how much of that fee was in respect of work undertaken on behalf of
the Council at the public inquiry? Why did the Council not obtain 3 quotes
for the work undertaken by Sir Terry Farrell in line with proper
procurement procedures?

 

Our response: The council negotiated a single fee with Farrells to cover
the costs of development of the SPD and the planning inquiry, which has
already been provided to you. The two costs were not separately specified
and so an individual cost for the inquiry cannot be provided.

 

For the Farrells contract, in line with council procurement procedures, an
emergency waiver was sought on the basis that, whilst it would be possible
to instruct Farrell’s via Lambert Smith Hampton (our retained property
advisors), the scale of work in relation to design was considerably in
excess of that related to delivery advice and it was felt that there would
be considerable benefit in instructing Farrell’s directly, resulting in
savings in costs. The complexity of issues and need to be expedient,
suggested a direct appointment to Farrells as the most practical solution.
As well as being internationally recognised as experts with urban planning
Farrells have accrued great knowledge of the Vauxhall area, having worked
on numerous local projects:

 

·         The original design framework that formed the basis of the
Mayors Opportunity Area Planning Framework

·         The MI6 headquarters

·         Masterplanning for Ballymore Ltd development of Embassy Gardens

·         Initial masterplanning of Vauxhall Heart

 

 

4. Your question: What was the cost of officer time in the preparation of
evidence and giving evidence at the inquiry. Please specify the name of
the officers who worked on the case and the approximate number of hours
dedicated to this inquiry.

 

Our response: The amount of time involved is not recorded by officers and
work in relation to appeals is considered to be part of normal business
activity. Therefore, the Council does not hold this information and is
unable to provide a figure in relation to this time or the associated
cost.

 

There is one exception to this which is the officer time from the
Council’s Legal Services team which amounted to 157.3 hours and a charge
of £12,470.

 

The names of Council Officers who were involved in the preparation of
evidence and giving evidence at the inquiry (with their current job
titles): Alison Young (Divisional Director Planning, Regeneration and
Enterprise), Richard Saunders (Development Management Team Leader), Iwan
Richards (Principal Planning Officer), Adam Platts (Project Manager),
Robert Heslop (Transport Planning Manager), Will Howe (Senior Transport
Planner), Emily Kingston (Transport Planner), Christine Stephenson
(Planning Lawyer).

 

5. Your question: Whose decision was it to withdraw the application (which
was recommended for approval). Why, and upon whose authority, was the
decision made to withdraw the report only 3 days before the Planning
Committee?

 

Our response: The application was withdrawn by Les Brown. This was as a
result of discussions with the Leader of the Council, the Chair of the
Planning Committee, the Head of Planning (Les Brown) and the Executive
Director of Housing Regeneration and Environment (Sue Foster). The reasons
for the withdrawal are directly related to the matters on which we
defended the subsequent appeal and these are articulated in the appeal
documents and summarised in the Secretary of States Decision Letter
(attached).

 

Should you have a complaint about the way your request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act has been dealt with, please contact
the Corporate Complaints Unit, Lambeth Town Hall, SW2 1RW or e-mail
[email address]

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you may
contact the Information Commissioner, who can be reached at:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Tel: 01625 545 700

Fax: 01625 545 510

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act can be found on the
Information Commissioner's website www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

Thank you for your interest in Lambeth Council

 

Regards,

 

 

Paul Ewing
Divisional Support Manager
Planning, Regeneration and Enterprise
Housing, Regeneration and Environment Department
London Borough of Lambeth
phone: 020 7926 2585
mobile: 07946 230852
email: [1][email address].uk 
website: [2]www.lambeth.gov.uk

1st Floor, Phoenix House

10 Wandsworth Road

London SW8 2LL

Lambeth – the cooperative council

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Lambeth Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Lambeth Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Cost of fees at public inquiries'.

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

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Holloway

FoI, Lambeth Borough Council

Dear Stephen Holloway,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

In order to carry out an internal review are you able to confirm the
nature of your dissatisfaction?

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Best wishes,

 

 

FOI Team

Governance & Democracy

 

Phone -  0207 926 7717

Email -  [1][email address]

Address - Room 205, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW

 

Email - All correspondence relating to requests to -       
[2][email address]

 

"This email (and/or attachment) may contain information that is legally
privileged.  If you have received this in error please notify the sender
immediately"

 

 

LAMBETH – the co-operative council

 

 

show quoted sections

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