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Council assets

Gareth Davies made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridgeshire County 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 recent responses 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

FOI, Cambridgeshire County Council

Dear Mr Davies

Re: Freedom of Information Request ref 894323

Thank you for your email. Your request will be dealt with in line with the Freedom of Information Act and its regulations. In accordance with the Act, the Council aims to respond to all requests within 20 working days, in this instance by 29 August.

If we require further information, clarification or a fee in order to fulfil your request we will contact you again. Please quote the reference number above in all future correspondence concerning this request.

Yours sincerely,
Information and Records
Cambridgeshire County Council

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FOI, Cambridgeshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gareth Davies

 

Re: Freedom of Information Request ref: 894323

 

I write with reference to your e-mail of31/07/2018 regarding property
assets bought and sold.

 

We have considered your request under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act. Please find our response attached.

 

I hope this information is helpful but if you are unhappy with the service
you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint
or request a review, you should write to Information Management, at either
[1][Cambridgeshire County Council request email] or by post at Box No. OCT1224, Shire Hall,
Cambridge CB3 0AP within 40 days of the date of this e-mail.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF, or via their website: [2]https://ico.org.uk/.

 

Generally, the ICO will not undertake a review or make a decision on a
request until the internal review process has been completed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jessie Holder – Information Management Analyst

Business Intelligence Team – Information and Records

Tel. 01223 699137, Email: [3][Cambridgeshire County Council request email]

Box No. OCT1224, Cambridgeshire County Council, Shire Hall, Cambridge, CB3
0AP

 

The information in this email is confidential and may be legally
privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. If you receive this
email by mistake please notify the sender and delete it immediately.
Opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily
represent the opinion of Cambridgeshire County Council. All sent and
received email from Cambridgeshire County Council is automatically scanned
for the presence of computer viruses and security issues. Any personal
data will be processed in line with the Data Protection legislation,
further details at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/privacy Visit
[4]www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Cambridgeshire County Council request email]
2. https://ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[Cambridgeshire County Council request email]
4. http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/

Dear Cambridgeshire County Council,

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

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

Specifically I do not agree with the decision to reject my FOI on the basis of cost.

The local authority is obliged to publish a list of the land and building assets it holds as part of the Local Government Transparency Code. While this information does not include details of asset sales and acquisitions, it could be used to significantly cut down on the amount of time needed to respond to my questions.

More importantly, 100 assets is not actually as much information as is being implied. I have sent the same FOI request to 353 local authorities in England. Dozens of similarly sized and resourced local authorities have been able to provide what I have asked for without the use of this exemption. For example, Manchester disposed of more than 500 assets and was able to respond. Staffordshire and Knowsley both had close to 100 disposed of assets and again, they were able to supply the required data.

Thirdly, my understanding is that in using this exemption the onus is on the public body to suggest ways in which the FOI could be amended to better meet the cost limits. No such suggestions were included. This leads me to believe that this exemption has been applied without due consideration.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Davies

FOI, Cambridgeshire County Council

Dear Mr Davies

Re: Freedom of Information Request ref 894323 - Internal Review

Thank you for your email requesting an internal review into your request. The Council aims to complete this within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely,

Information and Records
Cambridgeshire County Council

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Dear FOI team,

I am emailing regarding Freedom of Information Request ref 894323.

On September 3 you said an internal review would be undertaken and completed within 20 working days.

This time limit has been exceeded.

Could you advise me, as a matter of urgency, when I will receive a response to the internal review?

Yours sincerely,

Gareth Davies

Dear FOI team,

I have now been waiting well in excess of 20 working days for the internal review relating to my FOI to be completed.

Please advise me, as a matter of urgency, when I will receive the results of this review.

Yours sincerely,

Gareth Davies

FOI, Cambridgeshire County Council

2 Attachments

Dear Gareth

 

Our Communications Team has made us aware that you have highlighted that a
response was not sent in regard to your Internal Review.

 

We can only apologise for the lack of a reply to the Internal Review.
Yours was not the only request we received regarding property assets at
this time and incorrectly it was believed that it had been responded to.
This was a genuine error and we apologise for the significant delay this
has caused in you receiving a response.

 

The original request was refused under Section 12(1) under which a public
authority is not obliged “to comply with a request for information if the
authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would
exceed the appropriate limit”.  For local authorities this limit is £450,
or 18 hours at £25 per hour.

 

The request was refused on this basis as it was asking for specific
details about every sale or purchase since 2014/15 and all of this
information is not recorded within our relevant databases. The only way it
could be acquired for the purposes of answering your request would be for
members of staff to consult the individual property files and to collate
the details for every individual case. It is this manual work that would
result in the request exceeding the 18 hour limit. This has been
reconsidered as part of the Internal Review and confirmed that this is the
case.

 

In respect of our obligation to provide ‘advice and assistance’, we accept
this could have been considered more fully in the initial response.
However, in doing so here, our ability to provide advice and assistance in
this case is limited as this will largely be determined from your own
perspective as to what data was most important to you, rather than
something we could suggest. For example, there were three different
elements to the original request:

 

1) Details of all CCC asset disposals completed since FY 14/15.

2) Details of all CCC asset acquisitions completed since FY 14/15.

3) A list of all assets owned in FY 14/15 and also at the date of the
request.

 

Quite how the request could be refined would depend on whether you wanted
to focus on one section (e.g. only asset disposals), wanted to look at all
sections but to reduce the number of years covered, wanted to look at all
sections but limited to the information that we can provide without manual
searches etc.

 

We can provide some information at this point that may be useful in any
case. We have attached data disclosed in response to a similar request
that provides some of the required details relating to assets disposed of.
Additionally the Assets held data from 2014 is attached and we will be
publishing an update early in the new financial year for the 2019
position.

 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF, or via their website: [1]https://ico.org.uk/.

 

Generally, the ICO will not undertake a review or make a decision on a
request until the internal review process has been completed.

 

 

Yours sincerely

Corporate Information and Records

Cambridgeshire County Council

 

The information in this email is confidential and may be legally
privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. If you receive this
email by mistake please notify the sender and delete it immediately.
Opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily
represent the opinion of Cambridgeshire County Council. All sent and
received email from Cambridgeshire County Council is automatically scanned
for the presence of computer viruses and security issues. Any personal
data will be processed in line with the Data Protection legislation,
further details at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/privacy Visit
[2]www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/
2. http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/

Dear FOI team,

Thanks for getting back to me.

Would it be possible to send the .csv file as an excel file instead?

Yours sincerely,

Gareth Davies

FOI, Cambridgeshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Gareth

Please find an Excel spreadsheet version attached.

Regards
Corporate Information and Records
Cambridgeshire County Council

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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.