Council assets

Gareth Davies made this Freedom of Information request to Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council as part of a batch sent to 353 authorities

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.

To the information officer,

I am emailing to request the following information from the council under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

Note: This request does not relate to social housing stock

1) A list of building, land and heritage assets disposed of (i.e. the council no longer owned the asset) by the council between 2014/2015 and the date on which you received this request, including:

- Name of the asset
- What type of asset is it - building, land or heritage?
- Address (if applicable)
- Postcode (if applicable)
- UPRN (if possible)
- The date it was disposed of
- The type of disposal (for example sale, community asset transfer, etc)
- The valuation of the asset at the point it was classified as an asset held for sale (both lower amount and fair value less, if possible)
- How much it was sold for? (if applicable)
- Who it was sold to?
- How it was disposed of (open market, auction, etc)

2) A list of building, land and heritage assets acquired by the council between 2014/2015 and the date on which you received this request, including:

- Name of the asset
- What type of asset is it - building, land or heritage?
- Address
- Postcode
- UPRN (if possible)
- The date it was acquired
- Who was it acquired from?
- How much did it cost?
- Is it now classed as an investment property?

3) How many land, building and heritage assets did the council have as of
a) the beginning of 2014/15
b) the date on which you received this request

I would like to receive this information electronically a spreadsheet, with the points above as the column headers.

If the decision is made to withhold some of this information using exemptions in the Act, please inform me of that fact and cite the exemptions used.

Please note the questions:
Who it was sold to?
Who was it acquired from?

In response to test FOIs some local authorities declined to release this information relating to these questions, arguing it was exempt under Section 40 - Personal information.

The definition of personal data referred to in the FOIA is that used by the Data Protection Act. This states that, for data to constitute personal data, “it must relate to a living individual, and that individual must be identifiable”. As a result, unless the response relates to a person (or a sole trader) it cannot be exempt under Section 40.

If you need clarification please contact me at this email address. Under your section 16 duty to provide advice and assistance I would expect you to contact me if you find this request unmanageable in any way before the 20th working day.

I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Thank you for your time,

Gareth

H and F In Touch, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

Our reference: 1299375
 
 
Dear Mr. Davies 
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 31 July
2018.  Your request has been summarised as follows:
 
1) A list of building, land and heritage assets disposed of (i.e. the
council no longer owned the asset) by the council between 2014/2015 and
the date on which you received this request, including:

- Name of the asset
- What type of asset is it - building, land or heritage?
- Address (if applicable)
- Postcode (if applicable)
- UPRN (if possible)
- The date it was disposed of
- The type of disposal (for example sale, community asset transfer, etc)
- The valuation of the asset at the point it was classified as an asset
held for sale (both lower amount and fair value less, if possible)
- How much it was sold for? (if applicable)
- Who it was sold to?
- How it was disposed of (open market, auction, etc)

2) A list of building, land and heritage assets acquired by the council
between 2014/2015 and the date on which you received this request,
including:

- Name of the asset
- What type of asset is it - building, land or heritage?
- Address
- Postcode
- UPRN (if possible)
- The date it was acquired
- Who was it acquired from?
- How much did it cost?
- Is it now classed as an investment property?

3) How many land, building and heritage assets did the council have as of
a) the beginning of 2014/15
b) the date on which you received this request

I would like to receive this information electronically a spreadsheet,
with the points above as the column headers.

If the decision is made to withhold some of this information using
exemptions in the Act, please inform me of that fact and cite the
exemptions used.

Please note the questions:
Who it was sold to?
Who was it acquired from?
 
We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
and we aim to send a response by 29 August 2018 - this is 20 working days
from the date of receipt.
 
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 may restrict the release of some or
all of the information you have requested. We will carry out an assessment
and if any exemptions apply to some or all of the information then we
might not provide that information to you. We will inform you if this is
the case and advise you of your rights to request an internal review.
 
We will also advise you if we cannot provide you with the information
requested for any other reason together with the reason(s) why and details
of how you may appeal (if appropriate).
 
 
If you are registered for self-service via the Council My Account portal,
you can track the progress of your request online:  [1]Track case progress
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
h&f InTouch team
 
_____________________________________________________________________________

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References

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Dear FOI team,

I have not yet received a response to my FOI request, entitled Council Assets, dated 31 July 2018.
By law the council should have responded promptly and by 30 August 2018.
Could you provide an update as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Gareth Davies

Dear Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council foi team,

I have not yet received a response to my FOI request, entitled Council Assets, dated 31 July 2018.

By law the council should have responded promptly and by 30 August 2018, 18 days ago. A previous reminder has also gone unanswered.

Could you provide an update by the end of today (September 17) or I will have no choice but to file a complaint with the ICO.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Davies

Andrea Comer, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

2 Attachments

Our reference:  1299375
 
Dear Mr. Davies
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 31 July 2018.
 
I am sorry for the delay in responding and apologise for any inconvenience
caused.  Please now find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Andrea Comer
Senior Investigations & Information Officer
 
Please do not edit the subject when responding to this email. Our case
management system (iCasework) will not deliver your email to the intended
recipient if the subject is amended in any way.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Do it online at www.lbhf.gov.uk

Help us keep your council tax bill down and protect spending on vital
public services - use our website to find information, view your account,
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Dear Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council assets'.

I have a number of serious concerns with the response to my FOI.

1) It was significantly overdue and no explanation was given as to why.

2) The council states:

"The Council has provided the information it has according to its records, excepting
information we consider to be exempt from disclosure"

However, the council's response only cites one exemption (Section 43 ) but the dataset provided to me includes numerous responses, under the 'Sold to' section, of 'see land registry'. This is not a legitimate response unless the council cites the Section 21 exemption, which it has not.

3) The response of 'see land registry' is clearly not acceptable. The council has provided me with literally no identifying information relating to the assets in the spreadsheet. How on earth would I be to find the missing information using the Land Registry?

4) The council appears to have used the Section 43 exemption to withhold the following information (I saw appears because, despite the requirements of the FOIA, the council has not specified exactly what pieces of information it is applying this exemption to, so I am left to guess)

Question 1:
- Name of asset
- Type of asset
- Address of asset
- Post code

Question 2:
- Name of asset
- Type of asset
- Address of asset
- Post code
- Acquisition type (investment/non-investment)

The council claims providing me with this information would “would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person”. The council adds: "To disclose the information you have requested, would prejudice the commercial interests
of the parties concerned in relation to future negotiations. The information as to specific
properties concerned is commercially sensitive to the parties involved and to disclose the
specifics of the sales into the public domain could impact negatively on both the Council
and the buyers’ future competitiveness and negotiating abilities because the information
could be used by others to benchmark against, to the disadvantage of both future buyers
and the Council. "

This, with respect, is nonsense. The information I have requested relates to completed transactions, in some cases transactions completed three or four years ago. There is nothing commercially sensitive about this information, for any party involve. Furthermore, the information about individual assets is, as the council's own response acknowledges, available on the Land Registry. Is it the council's position that the Land Registry is publishing commercially sensitive information? Clearly it can't be, because that would be ridiculous. The Land Registry publishes these details because they are a matter of public record.

The above argument shows that the council has no grounds to withhold said information. But even if it did, the public interest in disclosing far outweighs that of withholding. Local authority finances have never been under more pressure and, as a result, it has never been more important that the public are given the fullest opportunity to scrutinise how they spend public money and manage public assets. This has only become more apparent since the introduction in 2016 of flexible capital receipts, which has allowed councils to use money raised from selling land and buildings to fund revenue costs.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Davies

Sherine Malko, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

Information request
Our reference: 1299375
 
 
 
Dear Mr. Davies
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Thank you for your request for an internal review received by the H&F on
18 October 2018. This case has been assigned to the Information Management
Team to take forward.

The Information Management Team are the central team within H&F that
processes Freedom of Information internal reviews on behalf of the
council.  

 We are sorry that you are dissatisfied with H&F’s processing of your
request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The Information Commissioner’s Office allows a time-limit of 20-40 working
days to investigate and provide a full response.  We plan to complete this
task within 20 working days and therefore calculate that a full response
will be provided to you by Thursday 15 November 2018.

If we need to extend the deadline to the full 40 working days, we will
contact you to inform you of this extension.

Yours sincerely

Sherine Malko
Senior information management officer

 

Please do not edit the subject when responding to this email. Our case
management system (iCasework) will not deliver your email to the intended
recipient if the subject is amended in any way.

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________

Do it online at www.lbhf.gov.uk

Help us keep your council tax bill down and protect spending on vital
public services - use our website to find information, view your account,
make payments, apply for services and report problems.

New - create an account - Want to manage your council tax, benefits claim
or parking permits online? Create an account now at
www.lbhf.gov.uk/myaccount

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Sherine Malko, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Information request: Internal review
Our reference: 1299375
 
 
 
Dear Mr. Davies
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Please find attached an update in relation to your recent internal review
request.
 
Yours sincerely

 
Sherine Malko
 
Sherine Malko
Senior information management officer
 
Please do not edit the subject when responding to this email. Our case
management system (iCasework) will not deliver your email to the intended
recipient if the subject is amended in any way.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Do it online at www.lbhf.gov.uk

Help us keep your council tax bill down and protect spending on vital
public services - use our website to find information, view your account,
make payments, apply for services and report problems.

New - create an account - Want to manage your council tax, benefits claim
or parking permits online? Create an account now at
www.lbhf.gov.uk/myaccount

show quoted sections

Sherine Malko, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 1299375
 
 
 
Dear Mr. Davies
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Please find attached an update to this internal review request.
 
Yours sincerely
 

Sherine Malko
Sherine Malko
Senior information management officer
 
Please do not edit the subject when responding to this email. Our case
management system (iCasework) will not deliver your email to the intended
recipient if the subject is amended in any way.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Do it online at www.lbhf.gov.uk

Help us keep your council tax bill down and protect spending on vital
public services - use our website to find information, view your account,
make payments, apply for services and report problems.

New - create an account - Want to manage your council tax, benefits claim
or parking permits online? Create an account now at
www.lbhf.gov.uk/myaccount

show quoted sections

Information Management: H&F, Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council

7 Attachments

Dear Mr Davies

 

Please find attached our response to your internal review request.

 

I apologise for the delay in sending this to you as we’ve are currently
unable to use our case management system.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Sherine Malko

 

 

Sherine Malko

Senior information management officer

Hammersmith &Fulham Council

[1]https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/

 

 

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