Cost of managing asbestos in schools

The request was partially successful.

Dear Leeds City Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please provide me with the following information:
1. the amount of money spent on asbestos management in schools between 2006 and 2016 (to include the costs of surveys, staff training and work to enclose asbestos within schools)
2. the amount of money spent 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 and the Education Funding Authority for the management and removal of asbestos from schools between 2006 and 2016
5. the amount of funding approved by the Department of Education and the Education Funding Authority 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

DPFOI, Leeds City Council

Dear Lucie Stephens,

Freedom of information request Ref 19516 : Asbestos in schools

Thank you for your request for the above information which we received 5, September 2017. We will respond to your request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

We have passed your request onto Nicola Palmer, Information Access Manager, Childrens & Families, [email address] who will arrange a response within the appropriate statutory time limit.

Please remember to quote reference number FOI 19516 in any future communications.

Yours sincerely

Mr Adam O’Connell
Information Governance Assistant
Information Management & Governance
Digital and Information Service
Leeds City Council

0113 37 84251
www.leeds.gov.uk

IMG.AC.FOI, Leeds City Council

Dear Lucie Stephens

 

Freedom of Information Request (Ref: 19516)

 

I refer to the above and your request dated 5, September 2017. I have
contacted the relevant services and now provide a response to the
following request regarding Asbestos in schools.

 

1.The amount of money spent on asbestos management in schools between 2006
and 2016 (to include the costs of surveys, staff training and work to
enclose asbestos within schools) 2. the amount of money spent 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 and the
Education Funding Authority for the management and removal of asbestos
from schools between 2006 and 2016 5. the amount of funding approved by
the Department of Education and the Education Funding Authority 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

 

 

Leeds City Council do not hold this information in a centralised format.
To provide this information would, therefore, require us to manually
analyse each school’s individual records. If  considered under the FOI
Act, your request would take over 18 hours work and it is considered that
Reg 12(4)(b) should apply and that, as such, this request should be
excepted from release under Reg 12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information
Regulations (manifestly unreasonable).

 

In considering any exception under the Regulations, the public interest
test must, of course, be applied. Furthermore, under Reg 12(2), the
Council must provide a presumption in favour of disclosure. In considering
this, however, whilst I can appreciate that there may be a public interest
in asbestos management in Leeds schools, I am of the view that the
overwhelming public interest lies in officers of the authority being able
to undertake their core functions without disruption.

 

I trust that this response is satisfactory. If however you are
dissatisfied with this response you have a right to appeal to an
independent officer within Childrens & Families. They will re-examine your
request and assess whether we have adhered to the requirements of the act.
Should you wish to follow this course of action please address your
concerns in writing to Moin Patel, Childrens & Families, Information
Management and Governance, PO Box 837, Leeds, LS1 9PZ or by emailing
[1][email address].

 

You also have a right under Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act
to ask the Information Commissioner to decide whether we have met with our
obligations under the act.  The Commissioner has however made it clear
that he expects all applicants to exhaust internal appeals procedures
prior to making such an application. Should you wish to contact the
Commissioner’s office then you can write to the following address:

 

            Office of the Information Commissioner,

            Wycliffe House,

            Water Lane,

            Wilmslow,

            Cheshire,

            SK9 5AF.

 

You may also contact the Commissioner via his website at [2]www.ico.gov.uk

 

I trust that this is self-explanatory.  If you have any queries please
contact me on 0113 3784251, or by return email.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sam Slatcher

Information Access Officer

Information Management & Governance

Digital & Information Service

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 37 84251

 

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References

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Dear IMG.AC.FOI,

Thanks for your response. I can understand that without centralised records there will be a time constraint in answering questions 1 and 2. I don't believe this to be the case for questions ,3,4,5,6. Please review these questions again (pasted below for your reference and respond as soon as possible.

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

Yours sincerely,

Lucie Stephens

IMG.AC.FOI, Leeds City Council

Dear Lucie Stephens

 

Freedom of Information Request (Ref: 19516) Appeal

 

I refer to the above and your request for an internal appeal dated 29
September, please accept my apologies for not getting back to you sooner.

 

I am sorry you were not satisfied with our previous response to questions
3 – 6 of your request. I have investigated your query and now provide the
following in relation to your request for the Council to re-consider our
decision to withhold information under Reg 12(4)(b) of the Environmental
Information Regulations (manifestly unreasonable) for questions 3 – 6 of
your request.

 

Your original request was for:

‘1.The amount of money spent on asbestos management in schools between
2006 and 2016 (to include the costs of surveys, staff training and work to
enclose asbestos within schools)

 2. the amount of money spent 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 and the Education
Funding Authority for the management and removal of asbestos from schools
between 2006 and 2016

 5. the amount of funding approved by the Department of Education and the
Education Funding Authority 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.’

 

The councils use of this exception to withhold the request in its entirety
was based on the consideration of the ‘appropriate limit’ of 18 hours for
dealing with requests set out in section 12(1) of the Freedom of
Information Act. This limit is set by fees regulations at £450 (equally 18
hours) for public authorities such as ours and is calculated using a rate
of £25 per hour which is also prescribed under the same regulations. The
decision to apply Reg 12(4)(b) was not taken lightly and consultation was
had with senior managers in the relevant departments in the Council in
order to establish if your request could be answered within the
appropriate time limit. The exception was applied due to the requested
information not being held in a centralised format, which would mean its
retrieval would require a manual analysis of each schools individual
records.

 

I agree Reg 12(4)(b) should not have been engaged for question 1, and
question 3 – 6  and therefore in this respect I consider your appeal to be
upheld. As such please find below a revised response to the questions of
your original request below:  

 

1.The amount of money spent on asbestos management in schools between 2006
and 2016 (to include the costs of surveys, staff training and work to
enclose asbestos within schools)

The amount spent in the above period centrally £2,759,000. Please note
these costs do not include training or annual asbestos management surveys
carried out as we do not centrally hold expenditure by schools and
academies. 

 

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

To provide this cost, a manual search of all records would need to be
conducted to separate the overall cost provided in answer to question 1
into encapsulation and removal elements. It is considered therefore that
Reg 12 (4)(b) is engaged in relation to this question. Please also note
Leeds City Council do not centrally hold expenditure by schools and
academies.

 

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

Leeds City Council have not spent any monies on fines for breaches in the
safe management of asbestos in schools between 2006 and 2016

 

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

Leeds City Council do not seek specific funding from the Department of
Education and the Education Funding Agency for the management and removal
of asbestos in schools.

 

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

Leeds City Council does not receive specific funding or seek approval from
the Department of Education for the management and removal of asbestos in
schools.

 

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

The projected potential budget for the above period is estimated at
£1,500,000

 

I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to my attention and I
hope this confirms our position on this matter.

 

Kind regards,

 

Moin Patel

Information, Knowledge & Procedures Lead

Digital Information Service

 

 

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