Cost of managing asbestos in schools

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Department for Education should normally have responded promptly and by (details)

Dear Department for Education,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please provide me with the following information:
1. the amount of money spent by the department on asbestos management in schools between 2006 and 2016
2. the amount of money spent by the department on asbestos removal from schools between 2006 and 2016
3. the amount of money spent on fines for breaches in the safe management of asbestos in schools between 2006 and 2016
4. funding sought from the Department of Education for the management and removal of asbestos from schools between 2006 and 2016
5. the amount of funding approved by the Department of Education for the management and removal of asbestos from schools between 2006 and 2016
6. the projected budget for future management of asbestos in schools between 2017 and 2027

I understand that under the Act I am entitled to a response within 20 working days of your receipt of this request. Some parts of the request may be easier to answer than others. Should this be the case, I request that you release information as soon as possible.

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive
fees.

I would prefer to receive the information electronically.

If you require any clarification, please contact me in accordance with your duty under Section 16 to provide advice and assistance if you find any aspect of this FOI request problematic.

Please acknowledge receipt of this request by email. I look forward to receiving the information in the near future.

Yours faithfully,

Lucie Stephens

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. We can confirm that
we have received the Freedom of Information request you submitted.

We will respond to you within 20 working days.

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Ms Stephens

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2017-0044130.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Ms Stephens,

   

Thank you for your request for information, dated 5 September 2017. I have
dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the
Act”).

You asked:

“Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please provide me with the
following information:

1. the amount of money spent by the department on asbestos management in
schools between 2006 and 2016

2. the amount of money spent by the department on asbestos removal from
schools between 2006 and 2016

3. the amount of money spent on fines for breaches in the safe management
of asbestos in schools between 2006 and 2016

4. funding sought from the Department of Education for the management and
removal of asbestos from schools between 2006 and 2016

5. the amount of funding approved by the Department of Education for the
management and removal of asbestos from schools between 2006 and 2016

6. the projected budget for future management of asbestos in schools
between 2017 and 2027

 

I understand that under the Act I am entitled to a response within 20
working days of your receipt of this request. Some parts of the request
may be easier to answer than others. Should this be the case, I request
that you release information as soon as possible.

 

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify all
deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act. I will also
expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to
appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive
fees.

 

I would prefer to receive the information electronically.

 

If you require any clarification, please contact me in accordance with
your duty under Section 16 to provide advice and assistance if you find
any aspect of this FOI request problematic.”

 I have set out your questions below, with a response beneath each.

1.     The amount of money spent by the Department for Education on
asbestos management in schools between 2006 and 2016; and

2.     The amount of money spent by the Department for Education on
asbestos removal from schools between 2006 and 2016.

 

The Department does not hold this information, as we do not have a
specific budget for this purpose.  Funding for asbestos removal works are
covered by different capital funding programmes, which may include
removing or encapsulating asbestos where appropriate. In many cases these
will be part of wider rebuilding, refurbishment or repairs, and therefore
is it is not possible to separate out specific costs for asbestos. A large
proportion of the Department’s funding for school buildings is through
annual allocations of capital funding for local authorities and
multi-academy trusts to spend as they see fit. In these cases decisions on
spend relating to asbestos will be based on prioritised locally assessed
need.

 

3.     The amount of money spent on fines for breaches in the safe
management of asbestos in schools between 2006 and 2016.

HSE publishes details of prosecutions on their website at:
[1]http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/prosecutio... advanced search can
be carried out on these databases for breaches of asbestos regulation in a
main work activity – namely Primary Education, General Secondary Education
and Technical and vocational Education.   Therefore,  Under section 21 of
the Act, the Department is not required to provide information in response
to a request if it is already reasonably accessible to you.

 

4. Funding sought from the Department of Education for the management and
removal of asbestos from schools between 2006 and 2016; and

5. The amount of funding approved by the Department of Education for the
management and removal of asbestos from schools between 2006 and 2016.

 

The Department is unable to provide this information, because we estimate
that the cost of determining whether it holds the information would exceed
the cost threshold applicable to central government. This is £600 and
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days in
determining whether the department holds the information. Under section 12
of the Act the Department is therefore not obliged to comply with your
request and will not be processing it further.

Bids that have come to us over this time period will in many cases be part
of wider bids for rebuilding, refurbishment or repairs, and therefore in
many cases is it is not possible to separate out specific costs for
asbestos.

 

We have considered how we could suggest ways of narrowing the scope of
your request but, due to the way the information is held in many areas as
of the Department as stated above, the cost threshold would almost
certainly still be applicable.

 

6. The projected budget for future management of asbestos in schools
between 2017 and 2027.

As the Department does not allocate a separate budget for management of
asbestos, we cannot provide a projected budget for future management of
asbestos in schools.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, which were not involved in the original
consideration of your request. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Elinor Harman

Web: [2]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [3]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [4]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/prosecutio...
2. https://www.education.gov.uk/
3. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
4. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Ms Stephens,

 

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 19
September. You requested from us any email correspondence between the
Department for Education and the Health and Safety Executive that are on
the subject of or contain the word 'asbestos', 'ACMs' , or 'AIBs' between
the dates 1 January 2000 and December 31 2016. You also requested an
itemised list of any such correspondence containing any of the words or
phrases within the dates specified in (1).

 

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

The Department does hold some of the information you have requested.
However, we estimate that the cost of complying with your request would
exceed the cost threshold applicable to central Government.  This is £600
and represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days
locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

 

We note that you asked in relation to 1) that if this date range will
exceed our time limitations then could we provide the data for 1st January
2016 and December 31 2016 and then provide additional data for previous
years until it meets your time limits.

 

However, it is not clear which previous years in the 16-year period that
you have identified would be a priority for you, and the Department would
be forced to make assumptions. As you may know, under the provisions of
the Act, the costs of responding to similar requests made by the same
person within 60 consecutive working days can be aggregated within the
£600 cost threshold. You will see that, if the department chose the wrong
years but worked up to that cost threshold to search for information, this
could limit your access to information for the next 60 working days.
Accordingly, it is Departmental policy to explain this to requesters and
enable them to make a new request which clearly identifies the information
that is most important to them. Under the Act the Department is not
obliged to search up to the limit as requested by you.

 

Accordingly, if you were to make a new request for a narrower category of
information or limit the scope of your request, the Department may be able
to comply with your request within the cost limit, although I cannot
guarantee that this will be the case. 

 

Some possible ways of narrowing your request would be limiting the
information requested to a recent year only. In addition, if there is a
particular asbestos-related topic that you are interested in – for example
correspondence relating to our guidance for schools, or our survey for
schools - then we may be able to more quickly select information that
would be helpful to you. Alternatively, if you would prefer to meet a
member of our policy team to discuss any issues in person, please let me
know.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

 If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, which were not involved in the original
consideration of your request. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 Elinor Harman

 

 

Web: [1]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [2]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [3]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.education.gov.uk/
2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Dear ACCOUNT, Unmonitored,

Thank you for your recent email seeking clarification. To confirm I still wish to receive the following information

Any email correspondence between the Department for Education and the Health and Safety Executive that are on the subject of or contain the word 'asbestos', 'ACMs' , or 'AIBs'. Please also provide an itemised list of any such correspondence containing any of the words or phrases specified.

I am interested in information from between the dates 1 January 2000 and December 31 2016. If you are unable to provide me with the information for the full timescale please provide the information in the following order of priority;

1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016
1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015
1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014
1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013
1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012
1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011
1 January 2010 to 31 December 2010
1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009
1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008
1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007
1 January 2006 to 31 December 2006
1 January 2005 to 31 December 2005
1 January 2004 to 31 December 2004
1 January 2003 to 31 December 2003
1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002
1 January 2001 to 31 December 2001
1 January 2000 to 31 December 2000

I look forward to receiving this information soon.

Yours sincerely,

Lucie Stephens

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. We can confirm that
we have received the Freedom of Information request you submitted.

We will respond to you within 20 working days.

 

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