Cost of Publishing Statutory Notices

Martin Warne made this Freedom of Information request to Newham 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 successful.

Dear London Borough of Newham,

Could you please provide the following information, which I am requesting under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

1. For each of the past 3 financial years, how much has the authority spent on publishing statutory notices in local newspapers and other publications (including online news and information sites)?

2. A breakdown of this spending by publication type - e.g. how much on local newspapers, how much on websites etc. For print media, please differentiate between 3rd party publications and council-owned publications.

3. A list of the newspaper titles, websites etc in which the authority's statutory public notices have been published over this period.

4. Again for each of the past 3 years, how many responses has the authority received from members of the public, businesses or local representative organisations (including but not limited to trades unions, community groups, charities) directly related to those statutory notices?

Thank you for your kind attention.

Yours faithfully,

Martin Warne

Martin Warne left an annotation ()

I have blogged about this FoI request: http://www.forestgate.net/a-backdoor-sub...

Newham Borough Council

REQUESTER REFERENCE: C6873
ENQUIRY REFERENCE: E13845
Please quote your references when contacting the Council.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Thank you for your request for information received on 23/11/2012. We are dealing with your request and plan to respond before 21/12/2012.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact the Information Governance Team on 020 8430 3737 or email us at: [Newham Borough Council request email]

Yours Faithfully

Information Governance Team
Newham Council

Newham Council Publication Scheme is on: www.newham.gov.uk

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Mr. O'Brien left an annotation ()

It will be interesting to see what the answer is to question 4.

It is possible that this statutory advertising is a waste of money, as you posit in your blog post, however perhaps not in the way you imagine. In Newham, the waste comes rather from the fact that, by all accounts, the Council does not want to receive responses to these notices and so does not necessarily follow its statutory duties any further than merely placing the adverts. The duties to which the notices relate appear to be routinely ignored.

There is little point in knowing about something if any attempt to engage with it is going to be thwarted, that's for sure. That isn't Localism. So a one-click online response facility (as suggested in your blog post) may save money, but not giving anybody the opportunity to respond or make objections to anything in the first place would save even more, and in Newham the result would, if the below is anything to go by, be the same.

I can tell you that responses were certainly received to these two notices in the Newham Recorder regarding this year's public audit inspection period (which had to be re-run because proper notice was not given the first time, so that incompetence wasted a bit more money):

http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co...

http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co...

The result?

No inspection at all was permitted by any member of the public of the accounts to be audited nor the books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to them (as mandated by Section 15(1) of the Audit Commission Act 1998).

Not a lawful position, seemingly, but one which continues to be maintained by Newham Council in conjunction with powerful contractors such as Mouchel and Conway. So you could say the adverts were a waste of money since there is no point advertising something you do not in fact intend to permit.

This advert (announcing the making of Olympic traffic orders) also attracted response in the form of at least one formal objection:

http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co...

The result?

When concerted attempts by LBN to simply ignore the issue did not work, the statement of reasons required by the regulations was finally given, two weeks after the latest date for doing so and, conveniently enough for the Council, far too late for a High Court challenge to be made.

It remains doubtful, therefore, whether vehicle removals for contraventions of those particular orders were lawful.

Placing the advert could be seen as a waste of money because the purpose of the advert is to allow such challenges to be made so that such questions can be properly settled.

It will be fascinating to learn how many other responses have been received to statutory notices in Newham. It would be even more illuminating to compare those numbers across all UK local authorities.

Newham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Warne,

 

Thank you for your email received on 23rd November. We attach our response
under the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact a
member of our team on (020) 3373 7912 or email us at
[1][Newham Borough Council request email].

 

Alternatively, if you believe we have not dealt with your request
satisfactorily you may initially complain to us and then to the
Information Commissioner's Office. The Information Commissioner would
expect you to have given the Council the opportunity to deal with your
appeal prior to you contacting them. Please see guidance on the Freedom of
Information Appeals page:
[2]http://www.newham.gov.uk/YourCouncil/Fre...

 

As with other local authorities, the number of enquiries has increased
each year since the introduction of the Freedom of Information
legislation.  Therefore, to enable us to deal with your enquiry more
efficiently, we have introduced an online form.  We would ask that you
submit all future requests via our online form:

[3]https://forms.newham.gov.uk/AF3/an/defau...

 

In addition, you may find it useful to access the following link, where
you can view our Publication Scheme, a list of previous requests and
responses and/or use our E-Form should you wish to make further requests:

[4]http://www.newham.gov.uk/YourCouncil/Fre...

 

Yours faithfully,

Information Governance

London Borough of Newham

Newham Dockside, 1000 Dockside Road,  London E16 2QU

Tel: 020 3373 4634

Fax: 020 8430 1504

 

 

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Mr. O'Brien left an annotation ()

"The Council does not record whether enquiries or responses are received as a result of published S10 Statutory Notices."

Q.E.D. methinks!