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Council assets

Gareth Davies made this Freedom of Information request to Westminster City 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.

We're waiting for Gareth Davies to read a recent response and update the status.

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

Westminster City Council

Information request
Our reference: 7880833

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Sir/Madam,
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 31 July
2018.
 
Request summary
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-------------
 
We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
and we aim to send a response by 29 August 2018.
 
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 and
to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.
 
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).
 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Westminster City Council
Tel: 0207 641 3921
Email: [Westminster City Council request email]
Web: [1]www.westminster.gov.uk
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.westminster.gov.uk

Westminster City Council

Information request
Our reference: 7880833

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for contacting Westminster City Council's Information Management
Team. 

Your query will be allocated for response, and someone will contact you
within 5 working days to confirm the details of your request and whether
it is subject to a fee. 

Please see the Westminster City Council website for further information on
Data Protection policies
- [1]http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/c...

Kindest regards, 
 
Information Management Team
Westminster City Council
5 Strand
London
WC2N 5HR
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/c...

Westminster City Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 7880833

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 31 July 2018.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.

If you are dissatisfied with your response please send your Internal
Review request to the email address below

[1][Westminster City Council request email]

 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Westminster City Council
Growth Planning & Housing

Web: [2]www.westminster.gov.uk
 
NOTE: Please do not reply to this email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Westminster City Council request email]
2. file:///tmp/www.westminster.gov.uk

Dear Westminster City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Westminster City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council assets'.

Firstly, in regard to Section 12, you have used this exemption but not said how many hours you do estimate it would take to comply with my request. As such I have very little to base my response on. This does not give the impression that due care and attention has been applied when coming to this decision.

Secondly, you have provided no guidance on how the request might be refined to fall below the time limit. Again this leaves me with the impression that the council has not given due consideration before applying this exemption. The onus is on the public body to provide suggestions as to how the scope of the request might be narrowed to at least some information to be provided.

In regard to Note 1, I am told "there is no central record of council land or assets sold and no system capable of extracting it". Firstly, I find it impossible to believe that a local authority of Westminster's size and resources does not keep these records. I have submitted this FOI to 353 local authorities in England and, so far, dozens have been able to provide this information. Furthermore, you state "the number of assets sold would be small", yet claim it would exceed the cost limits to find the information I am requesting. Cornwall Council provided me with in-depth information on disposals and acquisitions relating to more than 400 assets.

In regard to Note 2, whether or not the "data base" you cite holds the acquisition date or details of who the asset was purchased from, again I find it impossible to believe that Westminster Council doesn't hold this information in some form. And again I note that despite referencing several parts of my request you cannot provide, you haven't provided the others that you presumably can. While the council "is not generally a seller of assets", it may generally be an acquiring of assets, and I want to be able to see the released information to determine what it's record in that regard is.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Davies

Westminster City Council

2 Attachments

Information request
Our reference: 7880833

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Resent with attachment. Apologies. 
Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 31 July 2018.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.

If you are dissatisfied with your response please send your Internal
Review request to the email address below

[1][Westminster City Council request email]

 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Westminster City Council
Growth Planning & Housing

Web: [2]www.westminster.gov.uk
 
NOTE: Please do not reply to this email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Westminster City Council request email]
2. file:///tmp/www.westminster.gov.uk

Dear Westminster City Council,

Could you confirm you have received a request for an internal review of my FOI request?

I sent this request through but had not received an acknowledgement. I subsequently received further correspondence from the council which led me to suspect my internal review request had not been received.

It was as follows:

I am writing to request an internal review of Westminster City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council assets'.

Firstly, in regard to Section 12, you have used this exemption but not said how many hours you do estimate it would take to comply with my request. As such I have very little to base my response on. This does not give the impression that due care and attention has been applied when coming to this decision.

Secondly, you have provided no guidance on how the request might be refined to fall below the time limit. Again this leaves me with the impression that the council has not given due consideration before applying this exemption. The onus is on the public body to provide suggestions as to how the scope of the request might be narrowed to at least some information to be provided.

In regard to Note 1, I am told "there is no central record of council land or assets sold and no system capable of extracting it". Firstly, I find it impossible to believe that a local authority of Westminster's size and resources does not keep these records. I have submitted this FOI to 353 local authorities in England and, so far, dozens have been able to provide this information. Furthermore, you state "the number of assets sold would be small", yet claim it would exceed the cost limits to find the information I am requesting. Cornwall Council provided me with in-depth information on disposals and acquisitions relating to more than 400 assets.

In regard to Note 2, whether or not the "data base" you cite holds the acquisition date or details of who the asset was purchased from, again I find it impossible to believe that Westminster Council doesn't hold this information in some form. And again I note that despite referencing several parts of my request you cannot provide, you haven't provided the others that you presumably can. While the council "is not generally a seller of assets", it may generally be an acquiring of assets, and I want to be able to see the released information to determine what it's record in that regard is.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Davies

Dear Westminster City Council,

I am now contacting you for the second time to ask whether you could you confirm you have received a request for an internal review of my FOI request?

I sent this request through but had not received an acknowledgement. I subsequently received further correspondence from the council which led me to suspect my internal review request had not been received.

My internal review request read as follows:

I am writing to request an internal review of Westminster City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council assets'.

Firstly, in regard to Section 12, you have used this exemption but not said how many hours you do estimate it would take to comply with my request. As such I have very little to base my response on. This does not give the impression that due care and attention has been applied when coming to this decision.

Secondly, you have provided no guidance on how the request might be refined to fall below the time limit. Again this leaves me with the impression that the council has not given due consideration before applying this exemption. The onus is on the public body to provide suggestions as to how the scope of the request might be narrowed to at least some information to be provided.

In regard to Note 1, I am told "there is no central record of council land or assets sold and no system capable of extracting it". Firstly, I find it impossible to believe that a local authority of Westminster's size and resources does not keep these records. I have submitted this FOI to 353 local authorities in England and, so far, dozens have been able to provide this information. Furthermore, you state "the number of assets sold would be small", yet claim it would exceed the cost limits to find the information I am requesting. Cornwall Council provided me with in-depth information on disposals and acquisitions relating to more than 400 assets.

In regard to Note 2, whether or not the "data base" you cite holds the acquisition date or details of who the asset was purchased from, again I find it impossible to believe that Westminster Council doesn't hold this information in some form. And again I note that despite referencing several parts of my request you cannot provide, you haven't provided the others that you presumably can. While the council "is not generally a seller of assets", it may generally be an acquiring of assets, and I want to be able to see the released information to determine what it's record in that regard is.

----

If I do not hear back from the council by 5pm on October 10, I will forward my complaint to the ICO.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Davies

Dear Westminster City Council,

I am now contacting you for a third time to ask whether you could you confirm you have received a request for an internal review of my FOI request?

I sent this request through but had not received an acknowledgement. I subsequently received further correspondence from the council which led me to suspect my internal review request had not been received.

----

My internal review request read as follows:

I am writing to request an internal review of Westminster City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council assets'.

Firstly, in regard to Section 12, you have used this exemption but not said how many hours you do estimate it would take to comply with my request. As such I have very little to base my response on. This does not give the impression that due care and attention has been applied when coming to this decision.

Secondly, you have provided no guidance on how the request might be refined to fall below the time limit. Again this leaves me with the impression that the council has not given due consideration before applying this exemption. The onus is on the public body to provide suggestions as to how the scope of the request might be narrowed to at least some information to be provided.

In regard to Note 1, I am told "there is no central record of council land or assets sold and no system capable of extracting it". Firstly, I find it impossible to believe that a local authority of Westminster's size and resources does not keep these records. I have submitted this FOI to 353 local authorities in England and, so far, dozens have been able to provide this information. Furthermore, you state "the number of assets sold would be small", yet claim it would exceed the cost limits to find the information I am requesting. Cornwall Council provided me with in-depth information on disposals and acquisitions relating to more than 400 assets.

In regard to Note 2, whether or not the "data base" you cite holds the acquisition date or details of who the asset was purchased from, again I find it impossible to believe that Westminster Council doesn't hold this information in some form. And again I note that despite referencing several parts of my request you cannot provide, you haven't provided the others that you presumably can. While the council "is not generally a seller of assets", it may generally be an acquiring of assets, and I want to be able to see the released information to determine what it's record in that regard is.

----

If I do not hear back from the council by 5pm on January 8, I will forward my complaint to the ICO.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Davies

Westminster City Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 7880833

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Gareth,
 
Thank you for your request for an Internal Review, which is attached.
 
Please accept the council's apologies for the delay in responding, and for
any inconvenience this may have caused.
Yours faithfully
 
Information Management Team
Westminster City Council
Information Services
Tel: 0207 641 3921
Email: [email address]
Web: [1]www.westminster.gov.uk
 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.westminster.gov.uk

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Gareth Davies please sign in and let everyone know.